Dalziel Rugby Club
DALZIEL got back to winning ways on Saturday with a bonus point victory at home to struggling Musselburgh.
Having suffered their first league defeat in more than a year against Whitecraigs last week it was important the Motherwell lads found the winning touch again with the Lanarkshire derby against Hamilton looming.
However, despite scoring 39 points they allowed the east coast outfit and, in particular, their prolific goal-kicker Brian Walls too many point-scoring opportunities and they racked up 29 points at the close.
After Musselburgh repelled an early Dalziel attack the home side conceded the first of many needless penalties that allowed Musselburgh scrum-half Walls to knock over a penalty goal.
For the next ten minutes the Motherwell men were dominant but the visitors played the territory game well thanks to some impressive field kicking.
On 25 minutes they were again awarded a penalty and Walls made it 6-0.
But Dalziel responded superbly and some neat play down the blindside by Barry Turnbull, Ross Donachie and Kris Watters allowed the supporting Fraser Stango to go over for the first try of the day.
Robert Simpson knocked over the conversion to give Dalziel a one point advantage.
It was not long before Stango scored a second after some good play by Simpson and Lee McWhinnie, the former adding the extras.
But despite having discussed in the build-up to the game the need to avoid giving away careless penalties, within two minutes the home side had again conceded another penalty which Musselburgh converted.
From the restart the home side infringed once more and Musselburgh from the resulting line-out drove over the line for a converted try allowing them to claim a 16-14 interval lead.
After a half-time dressing down from coach David Wilson, the second half started with Dalziel on the attack and they came close to scoring from a driving maul.
Having maintained their field position and after a series of forward drives the ball was shipped to Anton Mitchell who went over for the score that gave Dalziel a narrow three-point lead.
Simpson scored two more penalty goals with the visitors replying with one of their own.
But the crucial try came after the hour mark with Simpson himself going over following useful work by Crawford Reid and Ross McAulay.
Simpson added the extras to push the score to 32-19 in Dalziel’s favour.
But Dalziel continued to give away penalties allowing Musselburgh to score from a driving maul although James Baxendale went over for the home side soon after to restore their cushion.
In the closing minutes another Dalziel infringement allowed the visitors to claim a late consolation and a bonus point.
“It was important to get things back on track,” coach Wilson said after the game.
“For the first 25 minutes we seemed shell-shocked from the previous week’s defeat at Whitecraigs but, fortunately, we got our act together and started to play a bit of rugby.”
He added: “Having scored 39 points and having not played particularly well at least shows that if we do get it right we can actually do some damage in this division.”