Duns cruise into Border Shield final with 10 tries

Duns entertained Hawick Linden under the Castle Park floodlights last Friday evening and posted a resounding win by 62 unanswered points in their Border Shield semi-final.

Duns entertained Hawick Linden under the Castle Park floodlights last Friday evening and posted a resounding win by 62 unanswered points in their Border Shield semi-final.

The sides had already met once this season, at Volunteer Park in an East 1 fixture, reported Derek Simpson.

While the result of that match may have looked comfortable, there were periods when Linden dominated, so a tough task was anticipated.

However, after Duns took the lead in the first minute, they never looked back and, by the end, had routed their visitors, scoring 10 tries without reply.

Duns took to the field with possibly the biggest pack to have represented the club in any game.

Seven of the forwards stood more than six feet tall, the exception being skipper Cammy Hill at hooker, and they gave the visiting Linden scrum a torrid time throughout the game.

Linden were frequently penalised at scrum time and Duns often shoved their opponents off their own put-in.

Linden kicked off and Duns scored almost immediately.

The ball was caught cleanly and two quick passes saw Michael Thomson take possession just inside his own half.

He broke two tackles, made 30 metres at the gallop, then chipped over the full back and won the race to touch down for a simply brilliant solo try. Dale Robertson converted.

Linden were immediately put under more pressure, and when Duns were awarded a penalty they opted to kick for the corner.

Clean ball from Angus Tullie at the lineout was shipped quickly along the back line, where Dale Robertson seemed to have been given the freedom of Castle Park and he strolled over for number two.

Only 12 minutes had gone when Duns scored again.

Great support play by the backs kept the ball alive and the final pass was popped to Chip Brailsford, who had timed his run perfectly and he took the ball at pace to crash over in the corner.

Duns seemed to sense Linden were there for the taking and were perhaps guilty of butchering a few chances when there was a safer option available.

Nevertheless, they scored try number four when Linden were shoved off their own ball eight metres out and Michael Thomson picked up to crash over between the sticks. Dale Robertson converted and the home side were 24-0 up.

At this stage, David Hutchison injured his ankle and had to leave the field. His replacement on the left wing was Euan Rhind.

With the referee indicating the last play of the first half, Duns put through a grubber kick into the Linden 22.

A clear shirt tug by a defender gave Duns a penalty which was kicked to touch and, from another secure lineout, the home side mauled their way to the line.

At the last second, Ollie Smith peeled off and only had to fall over the line for probably the simplest try he will ever score.

Dale Robertson converted and the home side lead by 31-0 at the break.

The second half was almost literally a mirror image of the first, with the huge Duns pack in control and the backs keen to run whenever possible.

A further five tries and three conversions doubled the Duns tally and the final score of 62-0 was their highest ever against Hawick Linden.

First to score was scrum half Danny Lamb, with one of his trademark sniping runs round the side of a ruck from close range.

Full back Ryan Burns then got in on the act and finished a flowing backs move with a try in the corner, after stepping off his right foot and crossing the line wide out.

Neither try was converted but Dale Robertson made amends when he scored the next try, which he converted himself, for a 48-0 lead.

The game now well and truly won, Duns introduced replacement forwards Archie Bogle, Elliott Paxton and Scott Turnbull to proceedings but the one-way nature of the game did not change.

Ollie Smith went over from close range for his second score of the evening, converted by Dale Robertson, to take the score over 50.

The final try came from Dale Robertson, his third of the match, when he did very well to take a difficult pass in the gathering gloom before crossing close to the posts.

His conversion gave him a personal haul of 27 points for the night, as he closes inexorably on the 2000 points landmark for Duns.

With only a few minutes left, Dale Robertson was forced off with an arm injury and we were treated to the sight of the Duns outside centre wearing the number one on his back, as James Murphy (a back many years, and a few stones, ago) switched from loose head prop to the midfield.

There was no further scoring and the referee brought proceedings to a close a few minutes early.

Duns now progress to the Border Shield final, where they will play Hawick Harlequins on January 25.

Next up for Duns is a league fixture at home to Haddington.

The match takes place tonight (Thursday), owing to the Jim Clark Rally taking place over the weekend.

Duns: Ryan Burns; Jack Clayworth, Mark Alexander, Dale Robertson, David Hutchison; Chip Brailsford and Danny Lamb; James Murphy, Cammy Hill (c), Ollie Smith, Donald Seed, Josh Herbert, Angus Tullie, Richard Burns, Michael Thomson. Replacements: Archie Bogle, Elliott Paxton, Scott Turnbull, Euan Rhind.