Before this match up Lasswade were third in the league having lost just two League games from 13, the last being a 38-12 beating on 5 October at Berwick.
For their part, Berwick had lost to Greenock in September and had drawn at Hillhead in October but had won all the others. They travelled to Lasswade as League leaders and ten points clear of the hosts albeit part of that courtesy of an extra game.
Both teams had a lot to play for.
Christmas breaks normally give time for wounds to heal but absences required the recall of Andy Hall and Sam Foster while the injured Jamie Graham’s place was ably filled by recent recruit Peter Eccles.
The bad weather took a day off leaving the lightest of breezes although, understandably, the pitch was a bit soft and greasy.
Berwick kicked off with the light breeze at their backs and it was soon confirmed that this was going to be a close encounter as both sides mounted attacks against a resolute defence.
With ten minutes gone Berwick were the first to break through when the ball was whipped wide from a ruck deep in the home 22 giving their winger Rosie the space to cross in the corner. The Berwick kicker was well wide and this was true of three further shots at goal later in the game.
Lasswade needed just eight minutes to open their own account when period of play near the Berwick line led to a penalty 10 metres out. A tap and go set up a maul on the line and Tiffney finished off the move. Smith opened his claim for player of the match with the conversion from wide out. In contrast to his counterpart, Smith went on to nail three more penalties though a fourth did bounce back off the uprights. It’s a few year since Lasswade had such a reliable goal-kicker.
Smith added three points early in the second quarter but this was countered a few minutes later to bring up 10-8 which became the half time score.
The evenly matched cut and thrust continued in the second period and fully aa quarter hour had passed before Berwick initiated a kick and chase from 20 meters out and Rosie won the race to touch down for a second time and take his side 10-13 ahead.
The lead lasted barely two minutes as Smith stepped up to slot a long range penalty and tie the score.
Lasswade had the edge for territory and possession by this time and when another opportunity arose Smith converted another penalty to take the lead back.
Berwick threw everything at the host in the remaining ten minutes but the Lasswade defence held solid to the end.
Despite the low score line there was plenty of exciting rugby and even more tension for the spectators as two good teams each tried to out-think and out-play the other.
This win and results elsewhere leaves Lasswade in third place and still seven points behind Berwick but the Hawthornden side are still well in the hunt for a promotion spot with fixtures against the three other main contenders still to play.
League rugby is displaced by the quarter finals of the National League Cup this Saturday when Lasswade are at home to Peebles. Kick-off is at 1.30pm (in case extra time needs to be played).