Grieve grabs the winning try for Berwick

Ross High 20-26 Berwick RFC

Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 9:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 9:07 am
Morpeth 55 Consett 7

At the start of the season in the reverse fixture Berwick won comfortably 64-17 at Scremerston. However, the result of this game was in the balance until the final whistle with Berwick keeping calm to end with the bonus point win.

It was a much stronger Ross High team this Saturday compared to earlier in the season and after Berwick’s strong start to the game it was the home side who claimed the first try. It came after several phases of strong running from the pack and centres drew in the Berwick defence allowing them to create just enough space for the score out wide. The conversion was missed but the home side were in front 5-0.

Ross High’s game plan was to keep the game tight with their wingers seeing little of the ball – it was a sound, safe and sensible game plan in the early stages of the game. This meant there were few clear-cut chances but Berwick were on the ascendency after falling behind. Due to the good defence from Ross High it took a couple of master locksmiths to unpick their defence and the master burglars were Andrew Skeen and Gareth Hill. With Ross High up quick in defence Skeen poked a deft grubber kick through for the onrushing winger Hill to gather and touch down in the blink of an eye and with limited space to draw Berwick level. Skeen added the out wide conversion to give the Blacks the lead at 5-7.

Within a few minutes Berwick extended their lead and this time it was the apprentice Duncan Hardie who showed the way to unpick the defence with a great break created by an elusive running line. With the defences breached his offload to Scott Owens allowed the second row to gallop across the line with hair flowing in the wind like the thoroughbred he is. Skeen added the conversion to make it 5-14.

Berwick’s forwards continued to put pressure on the home side and they all got a proper workout with a series of scrums which saw Berwick spend ten minutes scrumming on the Ross High five metre line. All of the effort came to nought though with no score from the time spent entrenched near the try line.

Instead it was the backs who showed the forwards how to get over the score line and it came through outside centre Jack Dalrymple who finished off a powerful run in the 33rd minute to make it 5-19. The scoring wasn’t finished as Ross High kicked a decent penalty to finish the half off at 8-19.

The break didn’t do Berwick any favours as Ross High hit a purple spell of play from the restart. Playing a slightly more expansive game they scored a couple of quick fire tries with some missed tackles from Berwick helping their cause.

The brace of tries, and one conversion, saw Ross High take the lead 20-19 within ten minutes of the restart. Calm heads were needed but both sides upped the pace of the game.

As time crept on it was obvious that the next score would be crucial and thankfully it was Berwick who got it. Number 8 Ali Grieve was the man to score and it was fully deserved after a series of big runs throughout the game eventually got the reward of a try. With Skeen adding the conversion it allowed Berwick to retake the lead at 20-26.

The home side tried to force their way back in the final 15 minutes, but Berwick held strong.

This Saturday Berwick are home to Livingston, 2pm KO.