Dalkeith v Edinburgh Uni Blues
Dalkeith welcomed Edinburgh University to Kings Park, for the second fixture in this year’s SRU Shield competition.
The home side make a great start, with the much bigger Dalkeith forwards dominating proceedings and Uni struggling to win meaningful possession. The referee then catches Uni for failing to roll away at the tackle and DRFC get an early 3 point chance, which Clugston converts, 3-0.
Uni finally get some possession and when Dalkeith are caught offside, the visitors pressure the home line through a penalty line out, but a knock-on in the midst of their attack allows Hamilton to recover and clear the Dalkeith lines. The home forwards then go on the offensive and after some good phased drives, involving Bensley and Foster, the Uni are caught out in not retreating fast enough in the face of the home attack and Clugston takes the penalty to make it 6-0.
Although being somewhat starved of quality possession, Uni are keen to get their pacy backs involved whenever possible and a first burst gets the visitors behind the Dalkeith defence and then their centre and full back have a too easy run through some woeful Dalkeith tackling and from an inoccuous position, the full back is soon bursting to the line and over for a try, 6-5.
The Dalkeith forwards accept the kick-off and several more great phases of picking and driving, with Davidson and Halliday to the fore, take Dalkeith into EU half and after another drive by Halliday and Allan, Davidson takes the pop pass and bursts through Uni line from 20m out and sprints over for the score. Clugston converts for a 13-5 lead.
The Uni team is fit an determined and with more regular possession could clearly give Dalkeith lots of problems in the backs. As if to demonstrate this potential, the Uni back division again shakes off some poor tackling from Dalkeith and spin the ball wide for a well taken try in the corner, converted to take things to 13-12.
From looking good for their lead, Dalkeith suddenly find themselves defending a one point advantage, but again it’s the home forwards who stamp some real authority on proceedings, with another dominating scrum and EU are caught offside on the back foot again. Clugston goes for the posts and makes it 16-12. Dalkeith continue to keep things tight and their 10-man approach has Uni desperately defending their line but the visitors defence holds and that brings up half time.
With their forward domination, Dalkeith will have been looking forward to attacking down the hill in the second half, but a penalty from the restart gifts a kickable attempt to the Uni, but the stand off is wide with his attempt.
Dalkeith are still completely dominating possession through their forwards, but the Uni defence is proving stingy in midfield and the defence is holding despite the home side camped in the Uni 22. A 5m scrum drive from Dalkeith is then well disrupted, including Dowling losing his shorts and just as Dalkeith looked sure to score Uni clear again. The home forwards drive the subsequent line out possession and again are unlucky not to get over the line. The pressure has to tell though and another 5m scrum has the pack giving a more disciplined driving display and Montgomery touches down for a 21-12 advantage.
Uni are reeling at this point and to rub salt into the wound, a great chip from Ramsay unlocks the Uni midfield defence and when the defender trips in the chase to the ball, Ramsay has the touch down and the home lead is extended to 26-12.
Dalkeith are camped in Uni 22 in the final quarter and the visitors defence does well not to capitulate under the constant forward pressure. However, Uni are penalised twice more in the last 10 mins on the 5m line and Dalkeith choose to scrum both and two further push over tries are recorded, giving the home side a comfortable victory at 38-12.
A good win for Dalkeith, against a fit and enthusiastic Edinburgh Uni side, which could just not match the home pack’s physicality. Next week it’s the final SRU Shield game of the pool stages with a an away fixture against Ross High, 2.00pm KO.