May 4 2011 By Andrew Weston
Dalziel Rugby Club
Morgan Academy 30 Dalziel Rugby Club 19
"It was the biggest game in the area!" That's what the Norwegian Branch of the Stenhousemuir Supporters Club told Dalziel supporters when they arrived at Forfar Road Playing Fields in Dundee on Sunday.
Certainly, it was a big game for Morgan as they required two more points to maintain their Premiership status for another season.
Dalziel, however, had been safe for a few weeks and were looking to build some momentum going into next season.
Dalziel kicked off into the wind and were put under tremendous pressure by Morgan.
The wind was not allowing for any distance gains from the boot which was hampering Dalziel's attack options and any penalties within Robert Simpson's normal kicking range were having to be turned down.
Morgan, however, were able to use the wind to their advantage and put pressure on the Dalziel back line at every opportunity.
In quick succession they barged through the soft Dalziel tackling to score two tries.
Despite the wind being behind him, the Morgan kicker could convert neither.
As in previous weeks, this got Dalziel going and almost immediately, turnover ball was fed to John Harris who jinked his way through the Morgan midfield to score under the posts. Simpson converted.
The sustained pressure was short lived and Morgan rallied to score a further two tries to gain a bonus point before half time.
The Morgan kicker convert one of these tries to give his side a 22-7 lead.
This looked to have been the final scoring of the half, but there was just enough time for scrum-half Ross Donnachie to chip the ball over the Morgan team, gather, dummy the full-back and score to take the score to 22-12 at half time.
With the wind behind them, Dalziel were looking to make the advantage count, but Simpson struggled with the gusts and missed two crucial penalty kicks.
At the other end of the pitch, the Morgan kicker had seemed to have found his range and managed to stroke over a penalty of his own to increase his side's lead.
Dalziel then had their best spell of rugby in the match, forcing Morgan back, deep into their half.
From second phase ball, Graham Calder passed to James Baxendale who drew the winger enough to give Lee McWhinnie enough room to score in the corner. Simpson slotted the difficult conversion.
Harris had to be removed due to concussion, and was replaced by 18 year old Scott Johnstone who was making his First XV debut.
He rose to the occasion and did not look out of depth in Premier Three but unfortunately his debut was not going to be a winning one, as Morgan went up the pitch and scored their fifth try, denying Dalziel another losing bonus point and putting the game out of reach.
It was clear that Morgan were the hungrier team on the day, but with another youth player making his first team debut, Dalziel can be happy with the progress made over the past few weeks.
Dalziel team: Steven Findlay, Stephen Baird, Les Barclay, Craig Lewis, Kris Watters, Euan Stewart, Gavin Armstrong, Craig Simmonds, Ross Donnachie, Graham Calder, Lee McWhinnie, James Baxendale, John Harris, David Aitken, Robert Simpson.
Substitutes: George Sloan, Eddy Ferguson, Fraser McKenzie, Scott Johnstone.