Berwick rugby on their way to Murrayfield for Shield final
Berwick RFC 30-10 Royal High
Berwick’s golden anniversary season celebrating 50 years is going to turn silver on April 27 after winning this National Shield semi-final game.
They are now on their way to Murrayfield and will play Greenock Wanderers in the final after they beat Strathmore 21-20 in the other semi.
Royal High have been the Blacks’ closest rivals for promotion all season and they pushed the Scremerston outfit all the way in this game too.
A light drizzle gave the players something extra to cope with but conditions were pretty much perfect for a good game of rugby, and that’s just what was served up to the large crowd.
Berwick were able to take early control of the game with a try within the first five minutes. It came from a good catch and drive from the lineout. The initial strike towards the line fell just short but number 8 Ali Grieve picked up quickly from the bottom of the ruck and pushed over around the fringe to score. Andrew Skeen returned to kicking form with a lovely conversion near the stand side touchline.
Royal High restarted and put together some good phases with strong running through their pack. Berwick’s defence had to be strong, which it was and then Berwick moved upfield.
Some quick phases drew the Royal High defence offside giving Skeen the opportunity for a penalty which he duly grasped to give Berwick the lead of 10-0 after as many minutes.
Royal High lack a proven goal kicker and this was to come back to haunt them throughout the game but it was most apparent in the missed penalty which quickly followed Berwick’s. Royal High continued to put pressure on Berwick’s defence and after several strong runs created a gap out wide, winger Jack Markham went over. With the kick being out wide it was no surprise that the conversion attempt went wide and not very handsome. Royal High were back in the game though at 10-5.
The visitors had their dander up and Berwick had Rory Hindhaugh at full back to thank for some last-ditch tackles to keep the score line as it was. Hindhaugh was in the thick of it with some strong attacking moves too but still the scoreboard stayed stationary.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The game was on a knife edge at half time with both sides playing some good rugby. Royal High had the edge in the scrum but lineouts were even and defences were excellent. Half time score 10-5.
Royal High started the second half the better with more energy than they had shown. The ball was moved more by the visitors but again Berwick’s defence held. Berwick then showed great composure to move upfield and when a penalty chance came Skeen slotted it to extend the lead to 13-5.
Berwick started to make the most of the increased space with some good rugby of their own and a couple of quick breaks nearly gave them more points.
However, the topsy turvy game took a swing towards the visitors with a lovely try from them via David Stewart. The conversion was missed but they were within three points at 13-10.
Berwick came straight back with some good runs and attacks of their own and after some sustained pressure Skeen was able to squeeze through the narrowest gap and under the posts to make it 20-10 after the conversion.
Play moved from one end to the other but Berwick added another penalty to give the Blacks some space at 23-10.
Royal High fought back again to put pressure on the Berwick line, but Berwick landed the killer blow on the counter attack with the pick of the scores on the day.
The Blacks showed real confidence as they launched an attack from their own 22 with great support play and continuity eventually giving Aidan Rosie the try with the stress relieving score. Hindhaugh added the conversion to make it 30-10.