Blacks lose after their poorest performance of the season
Berwick 17-20 Ross High
Conditions were perfect for rugby at Scremerston as Berwick faced bottom of the table Ross High. Unfortunately the Berwick display couldn’t match the sunny weather with a pretty poor display.
With Berwick hosting a Youth Conference in the morning more than 40 Ross High youth players stayed on to watch their First Team in action. Their raucous support gave the visitors a lift and they started the brighter of the two teams putting early pressure on Berwick.
A smart clearance kick from Jack Webster eased the pressure on the Blacks and following some further pressure Berwick were awarded a five metre scrum.
Berwick’s most potent weapon so far this season brought rewards as a good shove from the pack pushed Ross High back over their own line. Andrew Forrest did well to control the ball at the foot of the scrum and was rewarded with a touch down try. Jamie Pick sent the conversion wide of the posts from a difficult angle but Berwick had the lead at 5-0.
Berwick continued to have the lion’s share of the ball but couldn’t provide the finish that the possession warranted.
Eventually though the chance came and Aidan Rosie provided a clinical finish after the ball was worked well into the wide area to give him the chance to show off his speed. The try was a good one but the conversion attempt was just inside the side-line meaning that Pick was off target with the conversion.
Berwick deserved the lead at this point but had still not gotten out of first gear with some players just going through the motions. Ross High in contrast started to throw the ball around and had some fun with clever offloads and good support play.
The hard work paid dividends as some good handling created the space for an attack down the wing which produced a line out. A good throw allowed prop Watters to cross the whitewash for the visitors first score to make it 10-5.
The score gave Ross High some confidence and they continued to make all the running and with Berwick misfiring the visitors levelled the game.
The try had an element of good fortune as the try scorer Shields seemed to gather the ball from a clearly offside position but with play continuing Berwick’s defence could have still stopped the score, but they didn’t and the match was all level at 10 all at the end of the first half.
Berwick have tended this season to produce their best rugby in the second half but not this time. Berwick still had plenty of ball with the scrum being solid but the insipid play meant that no points followed.
Ross High weathered the pressure and with some good counterattacking rugby they were able to move up field to get an easy penalty chance which was duly slotted over. Berwick still couldn’t rouse themselves with only Adam Hardie, Andrew Forrest and Aidan Rosie displaying the necessary urgency to keep Berwick in the game.
As Forrest charged down an attempted clearance from Ross High the ball rebounded into the scoring area where Jack Webster pounced on the ball to get a score to make it 15-13. Jamie Pick was able to add the extra two points from the conversion to make it 17-13 to Berwick.
However, Ross High’s counter attacking game won them the game as an aimless kick from Berwick was gathered by their winger deep inside his own twenty-two. There seemed to be no danger as he set off but his pace and good running angles combined with some missed tackles brought him rapidly up field. Gareth Hill made a desperate tackle near the try line only for the winger to reach out and score. With the conversion added Ross High were 17-20 in front.
The drama wasn’t over as Berwick roused themselves to move up the field and with only seconds left they earned a penalty chance. However the kick was beyond the normal range of Pick and the chance was missed. With the whistle blowing straight after the final score was 17-20 to Ross High.
Berwick have won games this season when they have played below par. This game was one too far and Ross High deserved the win as they were the more attacking side showing some excellent passing and offloading skills to keep the pressure on Berwick all the way through.
If Pick’s penalty chance had gone over to snatch the draw it would have been an unjust and unfair reflection on the game. Berwick’s coaching staff were understandably frustrated by the misfiring display and need the players to come together to play with more passion and commitment if they are to mount a promotion challenge this season.
This weekend the Blacks are away to Forrester.