Reds Rack Up Second Successive Bonus Point Win
Dunbar 25 – 34 Linlithgow
Saturday 17 February 2018
Dunbar were sitting second bottom of the league before this game, adrift of the main pack, so on paper Linlithgow expected to do well, however the Reds still have a long injury list and this fixture has been tricky over the last few years. In addition, Dunbar had shown a recent improvement in form with a win over second placed North Berwick and a narrow defeat to third placed Livingston.
The weather was great for rugby, despite a strong breeze. The home side were first to settle and they scored a penalty early on when Ross Martin was adjudged to have tackled too high. Linlithgow were struggling to clear their lines, and a couple of misjudged clearances put them under pressure. They made one foray into the Dunbar 22 and when in a good scoring position were penalised and the chance was gone.
Dunbar then worked the ball up the park, scoring a try in the corner, followed by an excellent conversion. Things were not helped when the game had to go to uncontested scrums as the Dunbar hooker was injured. At 10-0 down things were looking grim for the Reds but they rallied and, following a couple of penalties, scored a try in the corner through Cammy Murrie who spotted a gap. The conversion was good from John Strachan. The visitors were having a good spell and following good work from Rab Cairns, the ball went to Mark Caddle who scored in the corner, again converted by John Strachan. As the half drew to a close, Dunbar scored a penalty to make the score at half time 13-14 in favour of the Reds.
Linlithgow started the second half brightly, missing an early chance to score in front of the posts when they gave up a penalty. Shortly after John Strachan increased the lead with a penalty. The visitors were on top now and in their eagerness to score they took another tap when it would have been easier to go for the 3 points, and the attack petered out. John Strachan scored another penalty as Dunbar started to lose their discipline. The best moment of the game came midway through the half when John Chapman spotted a gap and ran under the posts from 30 yards out, converted by John Strachan.
Nothing was going right for the home side and there were more problems for them as they tried a “clever” drop-out from their 22, only to knock on. A couple of plays later Linlithgow sealed the win and the bonus point with a penalty try. Cammy Murrie had the beating of the last defender and chipped the ball past him, only to be cynically dumped into touch well after the ball was away. This gave the Reds a 34-13 lead with only a few minutes to go.
Linlithgow allowed Dunbar to take some of the shine off the win by giving up 2 tries in the last 2 minutes.
This was a great performance by all members of the team, but special mention to Neil Lockhart who had probably his best game in a Reds jersey and, of course, John Chapman for the champagne moment of the match.
Rab Cairns; Lewis Herdman, John Chapman, Mark Caddle, Cammy Murrie; John Strachan, Jamie March (captain); Chris Archer, Euan Mochrie, Ally McLean; Neil Lockhart, Kieran Cochrane; Andrew Archer, Cal Thomson and Ross Martin.
Subs – Drew Sommerville, Steven Grant, Andrew Whitelaw and Murray Smith.