Berwick suffer narrow defeat at Livingston
Livingston 21-19 Berwick RFC
Due to various commitments and injuries it was a changed line up that made the longest road trip Berwick face this season. However, the replacements all played their part and selection for next week’s BT Border Shield game against Hawick Linden will not be easy.
Berwick started playing into the winter sun and the game was pretty even. There was still no score after 15 minutes with no clear-cut chances for either side. Then winger Aidan Rosie created the chance with a superb arcing run which took him outside the defence. The supporting Gareth Hill was able to collect the ball and finish off to score. Jack Webster was able to convert the try and Berwick were 0-7 up.
The Livingston pack started to exert possession and the big second row took some stopping when he collected the ball out wide and despite the best efforts of the Berwick cover they couldn’t prevent him from falling over the line. They too managed to add the conversion and the game was all square at seven points each.
It didn’t stay level for long though and it was that man Rosie who got the score. Hill and Duncan Hardie made the initial breaks and then Rosie broke free up his wing and after dodging a couple of tackles he was able to touch down. The conversion was missed but Berwick had their noses in front at 7-12.
Again, though Berwick conceded a quick try and again it was thanks to Livi’s big men. The conversion kick was good and the home side were in front for the first time at 14-12, which was the score at half-time. .
At the start of the second halfAdam Hardie was able to wheel away from a scrum catching the home side napping. A swift break followed but after making the pass he was cynically taken out of the game by a late tackle. The move broke down and the severity of the incident was only deemed to be worth a penalty much to the annoyance of the Berwickers. Livingston were lucky to still have 15 men on the pitch after a very cynical piece of play.
After that various niggles started to creep into the game. Berwick then lost their way a bit and allowed Livingston to play the game at the pace and in the way the home side wanted.
The Livingston forwards became more dominant and eventually the forward pressure from Livingston gained them a try after several phases of forward play. The conversion kick was as good a kick as you will see all season being kicked from wide out to make it 21 -12 with the game slipping away.
A lifeline appeared after Hardie broke the suffocating defence and then with Hill adding continuity Jamie Pick was able to speed his way past the cover to score. Webster converted to close the gap to 21-19 with ten minutes to play.
Unfortunately, there was not to be any last-minute escapes for Berwick with no further scoring.
The game could have been won but two penalties were scorned from kickable positions with first Webster and then Pick both missing the target. The final whistle blew as Berwick tried to kick through for the winger to score but the ball simply wasn’t accurate enough and the defence breathed a sigh of relief as they kicked it clear.
This was another test for the Berwick side. The contest was very even and both sides deserve credit for putting on a close game.