Dalkeith v Lismore
Dalkeith welcomed near neighbours Lismore RFC to Kings Park on league business, with the home side keen to eradicate last week’s poor performance, that had seen them drop off top spot in the table.
Dalkeith began brightly and after an early foray into the Lismore half, were presented with an early kickable penalty chance, but Clugston pushed it wide. Davidson fielded the 22-restart and Clugston then turned the defence with a lovely touch finder to 10m from the Lismore line, but the visitors win the line-out and clear the immediate danger.
Duke takes clean line out ball and after the forwards drive into the visitors defence, Clugston takes the ball on at pace, before releasing Montgomery who crashes over for the opening try, 7-0 with Clugston’s conversion.
Despite missing both first choice props, the Dalkeith scrum is dominating the early exchanges and Lismore are struggling to get out of their 22 as the home forwards dominate. An attempted Lismore charge out of their 22 is then halted and Hay rips ball from the opposition, only to be yellow carded for an apparent act of foul play with a stray elbow, which looked entirely innocuous.
The extra man does not seem to produce an immediate change in Lismore fortunes as Dalkeith continue to dominate possession, with Ross making good ground out wide before chipping ahead towards the Lismore line. The defender goes down on the ball, but makes a hash of gathering and only halts a try scoring opportunity by knocking the ball dead with his hand, which gives Dalkeith the penalty, but really should have brought a yellow card.
Dalkeith take the line, but then manage to drop several clear scoring passes in the next few minutes as they pressure the Lismore line. More clean possession is then butchered through several wrong options, when clear heads and building phases looked sure to suck in the home defence. However, Reid as ever proves to be the catalyst for the break though with a strong run, dummy and great offload to Montgomery, delivering try number two for the home side. Clugston misses the conversion, but Dalkeith now have a deserving 12-0 lead.
Lismore are still trying to play their way out of trouble, but a struggling to enter the Dalkeith half of the field with good home defence stifling possession and pressuring the ball carrier to good effect. Dalkeith steal possession and again make inroads into the Lismore 22, only for more dropped passes to halt their progress. The pressure finally tells though, quick line-out ball is spun wide through the backs with good timing then releasing Ross for the sprint into the corner and try number three, 17-0.
Dalkeith field the restart and after a couple of phases from the forwards, Clugston kicks ahead, but the Lismore defence look to have plenty time to deal with things, but the full back knocks-on, gifting Dalkeith a 5m scrum. After driving the visitors scrum back, Montgomery picks up at No8 and releases an unmarked Ramsay, for the fourth try, 24-0 with Clugston’s conversion. HT
Lismore are struggling to control possession with their scrum and line out being continually contested by Dalkeith and when the back row lose control of their next scrum ball, Allan picks up the loose ball and bursts over from 10m out, 31-0 with the conversion.
Lismore continue to come back at Dalkeith though and after the home team are penalised, the visitors drive at the home line and win a 5m scrum. More pick and drive work then keeps the home defence on the back foot and Lismore drive over for the score, 31-7.
Dalkeith seem irked by this and hotly contest the resart, before securing possession and charging into the Lismore 22. A chip from Clugston is just missed by Montgomery as the ball bounces the wrong way and Lismore clear to their 22. Montgomery then makes good yards from the next line out, before Clugston rounds the defence and releases Ross at pace for his second try, 38-7.
Lismore, secure some possession and are still trying to play good rugby as they come at Dalkeith, with the home defence less than disciplined, allowing the visitors to make good yards into the Dalkeith 22. Several phases of forward drives have Lismore again pressuring the Dalkeith line, but the home side manage to turn over possession and again Clugston clears the lines.
Dalkeith then steal Lismore line out ball and burst out of their half at pace, with Clugston Reid and Cassidy outpacing the defence, before the ball back inside to Reid sees him burst over for the try. The referee is some 20m back and decides that he was unsighted and instead awards a Dalkeith 5m scrum. From good scrum ball, Reid is not to be denied and the centre bursts over for a try and a 43-7 home lead.
Lismore are clearly tiring from what has been a big defensive effort and Dalkeith are now running everything in open play in attempt to create holes in the tiring defence. Clugston creates lots of space for the outside backs as he takes the ball at pace and again it is Reid who is the beneficiary as he takes the pop pass and outstrips the defence for try number eight, 50-7, with the conversion.
Dalkeith then blot their copy book, with the home defence asleep at the restart and Lismore happily take possession and drive menacingly towards the home line, before quickly securing their second try. 50-12.
Full credit to the visitors, they have attempted to play rugby throughout the match, but Dalkeith have just had too many weapons in their arsenal on the day. As if to illustrate this, another attack from the Lismore backs is halted by Dalkeith, before Allan rips the ball and the home backs then make good ground. At the next ruck, Allan goes blind and releases Simpson on the wing for Dalkeith’s final score, bringing things to 57-12 with Clugston’s conversion.
Considering how many players were injured or unavailable this week, it was an impressive performance from the home side, with other results meaning that they are back at the top of the league, still with a game in hand. Next week it’s another home fixture against Earlston, 3.00pm KO.