Berwick claim the bragging rights in cross-border derby
Berwick 15-6 Duns
This game will not go down in the history books as the most entertaining game ever.
However Berwick edged out their closest rivals to ensure that the bragging rights stayed in Berwick along with four league points.
There were more changes in personnel this week including a welcome return to the Berwick ranks of Max Learmonth who has playing his most recent rugby with Heriots.
The day was made for running rugby with the warm weather and the pitch was in great condition. The game started with both sides not taking any risks for fear of losing the first points.
Eventually Berwick’s attacking play drew first blood. A good scrum secured the possession needed and with some good handling across the backs a gap was created outside for Aidan Rosie.
The young blood still had plenty to do but with quick feet and some smart running he squeezed over in the stand side corner for the first try.
Jack Webster had a perfect kicking record again this week but unlike the last time out he missed every kick this week. The conversion was missed but Berwick had edged in front 5-0.
Duns have been plagued with injuries so far this season and their backline spent much of the first half familiarising themselves with each other. They had some good attacks through the forwards but the tight Berwick defence prevented any clear cut chances.
The first Duns chance came from a penalty but showing an attacking intent they went for the scrum only for Berwick to turn them over and kicking clear. Aidan Rosie continued to show the most in attack and a clever kick through nearly brought another score but the follow up was well covered by Duns as he was bundled into touch.
The resultant throw-in was overthrown and ended in the hands of Gareth Clark at the back of the line. After Clark had overcome his surprise he made the most of the gift by darting over the line unhindered to touch down. Webster again missed the conversion chance but Berwick were in front 10-0.
Both sides started to make mistakes and the busiest man on the pitch was referee David Douglas. There were too many handling errors for the crowd to get too excited and eventually the half time whistle brought some relief with Berwick leading 10-0.
The crowd hoped the second half would improve but Berwick’s luck changed. Number eight Tommy McColl was injured in the tackle and had to go off making him a doubt for the foreseeable future. Duns started to improve and their pressure brought a few penalty chances before one finally went over the posts through fly half Lewis Craic.
Gary Flint was then yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for a professional foul which looked more accidental than professional. Duns duly upped the pressure to take advantage but for all their efforts they could only claim another penalty to close the gap to 10-6. Berwick couldn’t get out of first gear and it took a huge slice of luck for them to get the next score.
Scott Owens continued his fantastic start to the season by charging down an attempted clearance kick. The luck came when the ball bounced as only rugby balls can by heading off at right angles not just once but twice to completely wrong foot the defence allowing Owens to pounce on the ball. Owens fully deserved the try for his work rate was immense all game long and a try was suitable reward for the effort put in.
The conversion was missed but Berwick had edged clear again at 15-6. Duns finished the game the “winner” on the second half but Berwick won out to claim the win.
This was a pretty error strewn affair from both sides and the lack of consistent starting line ups meant the error count was much higher than both coaches would want. It is early in the season still but with tougher games to come for both sides there will need to be improvement all round with a lot of work needed on the training pitch to get things right.
Berwick make the journey this week to namesakes North Berwick with a 3pm kick-off.