Dalziel Rugby Club
DALZIEL enjoyed a return to winning ways on Saturday with a narrow victory over second-bottom Haddington at Neilson Park.
The visitors turned around at the break 17-5 up but they had to survive a second-half Haddington fightback to claim their first win in five games.
On an extremely blustery day in East Lothian, both teams realised they would need to keep their error count low or suffer the consequences of being put back into their own 22 by a kick from hand.
Conditions were otherwise reasonable for the match and Dalziel, who had the wind at their backs in the first half, were quick to get into their stride.
An early penalty conceded by the home side gave the Motherwell team a lineout in their 22.
Scrum-half Andy McLaren spotted a huge gap at the first ruck to snipe through under the posts unchallenged for the first try of the day.
From the restart, Dalziel strung a few phases together in midfield before stand-off Harris put in a delicate chip over the top for winger Lewis Matheson to sprint on to and dot the ball down.
Robert Simpson converted both tries to give the Motherwell side a 14-point lead within 10 minutes.
Playing into the wind, Haddington bounced back quickly and, following a number of phases, they eventually spun the ball wide to score a try in the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Kyle Matheson was caught just short of the line as the visitors looked for a third try before the break.
But despite some pressure in the closing minutes they had to settle for another three points from the boot of Simpson.
Dalziel knew they were going to have to work hard to get out of their own half in the second half, with the strong wind against them.
Some sterling defensive work kept Haddington at bay for a while but a try was almost inevitable.
It finally arrived when a home player scooted in under the posts for a score which was also converted.
Dalziel replied with another Simpson penalty in front of the posts taking the score to 20-12 and they were confident enough to begin throwing the ball wide despite the wind.
But it was Haddington who scored next when their winger broke down the flank and chipped ahead for a replacement wing forward to touch the ball down under the posts.
That took the score to 20-19 and Dalziel found themselves well and truly against the wall at this point.
However, they worked extremely hard for each other, keeping the ball for long periods of time and making big tackles when they had to defend
A last-gasp tackle near the Dalziel line in the final seconds forced the ball out of play, securing them a hard-fought win.
All other senior games were postponed at the weekend due to the weather. The Second XV were warming up at Biggar when their game was cancelled.
Next week, Dalziel’s 1sts, 2nds, 4ths and under-18s host Cartha Queen’s Park, Hamilton, Dumfries 2nds and West of Scotland, respectively, while the 3rds make the short journey to play Cumbernauld 2nds.