Lismore v Dalkeith
DALKEITH HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
Back to league action after the 6-Nations break, Dalkeith still sit second in the league and coach Jim Slight was keen that the side kept up the momentum as the season draws to it’s conclusion. Lismore RFC had switched the game over the road to Double Hedges due to the continuing work at their own ground.
Dalkeith began brightly with clear intent to attack at pace and using their offloading game where possible. Dalkeith win a scrum on their 10m line after a Lismore knock on and the ball is fed through backs out to Simpson who has a great run up the wing before feeding Smith in support who then pops the ball to Reid for the try, Clugston converts for a 0-7 lead.
Lismore try to put some phases together but Dalkeith are pressuring well and the home side resort to kicking for position, Smith takes the ball back at them and Lismore are penalised in midfield for hands in the ruck. Ramsay takes the tap and goes at the defence and from a subsequent ruck wide on right, the ball is passed along the line for Cassidy to score in left corner, conversion missed, 0-12.
Lismore are struggling to get their hands on the ball at this point, with Dalkeith pressuring the contact area and Lismore lacking supporting players when they do make the break. A Dalkeith scrum on half way again has quick ball shipped to the backs and after the inside backs commit the defence, Simpson is released on a great run from 20m out and he scores the visitors third try, Clugston converts for 0-19.
The home side are looking shell shocked at this point and Dalkeith are varying their attacks well to keep the defence guessing, which is creating gaps in the defensive line to be exploited. More good phased play from the visitors is then spoiled by some white line fever and a knock on allows Lismore to clear.
From half way, Clugston then threads a lovely kick behind the home defence, forcing a defensive line-out 10m from the Lismore line. Dalkeith steal the line-out and drive to the line, before the ball is shipped to Reid on the burst who fools the defence with the immediate pop back to Hamilton inside and he is over for the fourth try, converted by Clugston for a 0-26 advantage.
Dalkeith are playing some great stuff at this point and Lismore are struggling to get into the game in the face of the Dalkeith onslaught. Another stolen line out is again driven by the Dalkeith forwards before an attacking scrum is awarded. Lismore are then penalised and Ramsay goes with the quick tap from 10m out and darts past the defence for the fifth try, converted by Clugston, 0-33.
Lismore then have their first concerted foray into the Dalkeith half and manage to secure some decent ball and string some phases together, but the Dalkeith defence holds firm and the visitors clear their lines as half time approaches.
Lismore will have been hoping for a bit more possession and pressure in the second half, but unfortunately for them it begins in the same vein, as Dalkeith maintain their high tempo game and the Lismore defence is required to work hard to hold back the onslaught. A promising move out wide looks like another sure try for Simpson, but Walker’s final pass is so high it would have troubled Tim Visser never mind 5’5” Simpson on the wing!
However, Dalkeith then steal the resultant line out and great drives from the front row union of Frogely and Halliday make good ground before Frogley drives again and he is over for the score. Clugston converts for 0-40.
Lismore restart the game, only for Duke to take the kick-off on the burst and avoid the rush defence before making 30m upfield, then releasing Reid for the run in under the posts and suddenly Dalkeith have added 14 points to the scoreboard in barely 2 minutes, 0-47!
Lismore are beginning to look shell shocked in the face of the relentless Dalkeith attack and again the varying of play and good driving by the forwards is creating lots of space for the visitors pacey backs to do damage. The ever dangerous Reid goes for the space in midfield and after brushing off a couple of Lismore defenders, he is through and under the posts for a 0-54 advantage with Clugston’s conversion.
As the game progresses and the result now not in doubt, Dalkeith’s structured play becomes a little loose and some further white line fever has the visitors butchering a couple of chances instead of releasing the obvious passes, but Lismore now seem resigned to defending their line and are offering little in attack, not helped by injuries along the way.
A knock-on by Simpson looks to have stalled another Dalkeith attack, but the visitors steal the scrum ball and Duke picks up and powers over for try number nine, 0-59. Lismore challenge the kick off and secure possession, but can’t hold onto the ball and Dalkeith recover before the forwards drive them onto half way, great hands from Walker finds Simpson, but the Lismore covering defence does a great job and Simpson is forced into touch.
A further scrum steal from Dalkeith in the home 22 give Clugston quick ball and after his outside backs are blocked off, he goes it alone and dances through the defence for try number ten, converting it himself for a 0-66 advantage.
With 10 mins to go it’s now all about Lismore keeping the score down and Dalkeith maintaining their discipline in an attempt to add to their score. A Dalkeith line on the 10m line is spun wide, but Lismore disrupt well and the ball is spilled, Graham is on hand to tidy things up and he sets up the ruck to allow a further phased attack. The ball is shipped wide to Swanston who fends off two defenders and then bursts through the line to go in for the try in the corner. Clugston rubs salt in by goaling from wide out and the advantage is now 0-73.
Lismore kick out of defence, which simply gifts more ball in open space to Dalkeith and Brady takes the ball into the defensive line before releasing Swanston, who sucks in two defenders allowing Walker to dash for the try line, with the final pass releasing Paton for a further score, 0-80 with Clugston’s conversion.
Simpson rounds of the afternoon’s scoring after Dalkeith have stolen another scrum in the home 22, bringing the score to 0-85.
A great performance from Dalkeith that keeps them winning and pressing at the top of the table. There are a couple of tricky away fixtures still to negotiate and they will probably still need favours from other fixtures to push for the league title, but performances like this can only help build confidence. Lismore battled hard but their side ran out of steam, especially with injuries and they struggled to contain Dalkeith’s intensity and attacking style. There is another six nations break now, so the next league match is away at Earlston on Saturday 2nd March, 3.00pm KO.