League game @ Dalziel Park, 2/3/13 - Match photos - Match Video
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Dalziel gain vital win in relegation fight
Despite having only three league games remaining, Dalziel were playing Whitecraigs for the first time this season after an earlier postponement of the fixture. Knowing that nothing less than a win would suffice in their bid to beat the drop, the Dalziel players were not intending leaving anything on the field.
The signs were ominous when Whitecraigs ran in an early try in the lefthand corner to lead 5-0 after 7 minutes. Thankfully, any signs of Whitecraigs continuing the scoring were halted with large periods of fragmented play from both sides. Both teams were setting up good attacking phases, but control of the ball in the final pass was lacking.
Dalziel were forced into an early change after captain Graham Calder was lost through injury, John Harris reverting to his more familiar fly-half role.
Dalziel began to push for their first try of the afternoon and strong running from Craig Simmonds and Grant Clark set Dalziel up with a scrum on the Whitecraigs 22 metre line. From the base of the scrum, Ross Donnachie passed out to Harris who spotted a gap and handed off Nicky Blamyre before sprinting to the line to score under the posts. He drop-kicked his own conversion to give Dalziel the lead at 7-5.
The lead was short lived, however, as Dalziel were pinged for an infringement at a ruck, giving Whitecraigs an easy penalty to retake the lead 8-7 at half time.
Dalziel started the second half the stronger side, and looked likely to score early on, after Donnachie had kicked them deep into Whitecraigs’ territory. Dalziel won the lineout and the forwards started a set of 6 phases, inching ever closer to the try line. On the 7th phase, Donnachie passed the ball out to Kris Watters, but Watters was unable to gather the ball under pressure from the visiting defence. This allowed Whitecraigs to clear the ball up the pitch to relieve some pressure.
However, the relief was temporary as, from the resulting lineout, Dalziel moved forward and Donnachie put another kick in behind the Whitecraigs defence. Lee McWhinnie put pressure on the covering fullback who spilled the ball as he attempted to gather. McWhinnie gleefully scooped the ball up for an easy score in the corner. Harris was unable to convert, but Dalziel were in the lead 12-8.
Whitecraigs were beginning to feel the pressure and were struggling to string multiple phases together, only gaining ground through Dalziel mistakes. Eventually Dalziel made one mistake too many and Whitecraigs were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. The kick was successful and Whitecraigs were back within 1 point of their hosts.
As it turned out, that was as close as Whitecraigs were going to get. From a scrum, Whitecraigs strayed offside, offering Harris a simple shot at goal. Harris duly converted and restored Dalziel’s 4 point advantage.
With 15 minutes to go, Whitecraigs stripped Dalziel of the ball, and their left winger broke up field, only to be stopped by a crunching cover tackle from John Harris inches from the tryline.
Moving the ball back up the pitch, Dalziel disrupted a Whitecraigs’ scrum, and turned the ball over. Donnachie put another kick into the opposition 22 which bounced out of play just before the try line, giving Dalziel excellent field position.
Whitecraigs knocked on at the lineout, gifting the ball to Dalziel on the 5 metre line. This was a position Dalziel didn’t want to relinquish without scoring a third try. Watters and David Irvine were both held up over the line before Whitecraigs had a player yellow carded for a high tackle.
Eddy Ferguson was the next to held up over the line and at the fourth scrum Dalziel looked to have lost the chance as the ball was turned over. However, the clearance kick had no power in it and only made it as far as McWhinnie on the 22 metre line. McWhinnie set off for the try line, dancing round 3 despairing tackles to score his second of the afternoon and Dalziel’s third. Harris converted to take the score to 22-11.
For the final 3 minutes Whitecraigs pushed for the try that would gain them a losing bonus point, but after a knock-on, the referee blew for full time. Dalziel had won 22-11 and gained a valuable 4 league points in their bid to avoid relegation.
Match Sponsored by:
Ball Sponsored by:
David Irvine, Stephen Baird, George Sloan, Eddy Ferguson, Grant Clark, Kris Watters, Crawford Reid, Craig Simmonds, Ross Donnachie, Graham Calder, Steven Rowe, John Harris, Ross Westwood, Antony Mitchell, Lee McWhinnie
Subs: Morgan Martin, Darren Hay, Gavin Armstrong
Tries: John Harris, Lee McWhinnie (2)
Conversions: John Harris (2)
Penalties: John Harris
Man of the Match: Eddy Ferguson
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