Dalziel Rugby Club
DALZIEL Rugby Club let slip an early 12-point advantage against Haddington at Dalziel Park on Saturday and suffered their third defeat of the season.
The disappointing reverse means they have lost ground on the top two sides in Premier Division Three, with second-placed Hamilton now seven points clear of third-placed Dalziel and table topping Whitecraigs nine points ahead.
Straight from kick-off on Saturday, Dalziel found themselves camped on the visitors’ line and after just three minutes Fraser Stango barged over the line for the opening try.
Robert Simpson converted to give the home side a perfect start.
Simpson narrowly missed a penalty goal five minutes later but it was not long before the Premier Three newcomers had stretched their lead.
From a line-out, the Motherwell lads secured the ball and set up a driving maul, with Euan Stewart was forced over the line to give them a 12-point lead.
Haddington quickly got their act together but strong Dalziel defence meant the East Lothian side were forced into a drop-kick, which fell short.
However, the visitors did get on the scoresheet in the 25th minute.
Not for the first time, Dalziel gave away possession cheaply and from a line-out near the home side’s line Haddington scored after a series of driving mauls.
The conversion narrowed the lead to 12-7 and when Dalziel’s Steven Findlay was sin-binned and David Aitken retired through injury, the home side were glad to hear the half-time whistle.
The hosts had to make a number of positional changes in the back division at half-time.
Haddington reduced the arrears to just two points after kicking a penalty early in the second half.
A midfield battle ensued, with neither side giving away much ground, although Eddie Ferguson did go over for Dalziel only for the referee to disallow the try.
In the 62nd minute, Dalziel were eventually awarded a penalty which Simpson converted to stretch the lead to 15-10.
From here, Dalziel should have killed the game off but they suffered another injury blow when the influential Craig Simmonds had to leave the field.
Haddington then scored a decisive try soon afterwards, capitalising on some dithering in the home defence to take the lead for the first time.
Having kicked speculatively into the Dalziel 22, the home side allowed the ball to bounce, enabling the onrushing Haddington captain to get a foot to the ball and hack it towards the goal line.
The east coast side seized their chance, securing the ball and driving over for the line for their second try of the afternoon. The conversion gave them a narrow 17-15 advantage.
With only minutes remaining. Dalziel tried to salvage a game which they had allowed to get away from them.
But they were up against stubborn opponents who held out to claim an impressive victory. although Dalziel did spurn a kickable penalty chance as they looked to score a late try.
This Saturday Dalziel are away to sixth-placed Cartha Queens Park (3pm kick-off).