Making their first visit to Riverside Park for a few years, Dundee kicked off on a sunny afternoon, with little breeze, ideal for fast open rugby, which is how the game developed, after an early exchange of kicks. With neither side gaining control in the opening 10 minutes, the first scoring opportunity fell to Dundee with a penalty chance, but the kick passed the outside of the right-hand post.
Dundee continued to press and a scoring opportunity down the right wing foundered with a penalty to Jed on their 5-metre line. It was then Jed’s turn to attack own the right wing, again being thwarted 5 metres from the Dundee line.
The game continued in nip and tuck vein until mid-way through the half, when Jed edged ahead, thanks to a try by prop Ryan Gibson, following a line-out drive. Stand-off Guido Danil converted to put the home side 7-0 ahead after 22 minutes.
Dundee were on the attack after the re-start, moving the ball well after Jed were penalised, and Will Brown crossed the try line: a forward pass, however, ruled out the score. Handling errors were preventing either side gaining dominance, but, after a Dundee lick to touch went out on the full, Jed moved the ball well from the line-out and down the left wing, centre Ross Combe touched down to extend the home lead. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and, with 35 minutes gone, Jed were ahead 12-0.
Towards the end of a first half significantly extended by added time, Dundee’s cause was aided by two yellow card suspension against Jed players. With the second penalty being close to the Jed line and Dundee with two players of an advantage, the call from the Dundee followers was to take a scrum, but the ball was kicked to touch, driven until a scrum was awarded anyway. The scrum wheeled, however, but the ball emerged in time, and Hamish Livingston darted over the line for a try converted by Harry Millar as the whistle went to end the half.
Half-time: Jed-Forest 12 Dundee HSFP 7
An even, open half with neither side taking control and in which the influence of Fraser Harkness in the Jed back-line was making itself felt. For Dundee, the performance was adjudged to have been flat and the half-time exhortation was to up the intensity.
In the event, Dundee were quickly on the offensive after the re-start, although handling errors, and penalty offences were contributing to a absence of threat on the home line. When Jed were penalised, however, Dundee kicked to the corner and drove the ball over the Jed line after the line-out, for Matt Harland to claim the touch-down. The unsuccessful conversion attempt meant the scores were tied at 12-12 after 9 minutes fore the half.
Dundee were gradually gaining territorial advantage, but penalty awards and handling errors were preventing any sustained pressure on the Jed line. Almost mid-way through the half, however, a Dundee kick through forced Jed to clear to touch and Dundee attacked from the line-out, with several phases of possession play before Tim McKavanagh burst through a couple of tackles for a try converted by Harry Millar. Dundee ahead for the first time, 12-19 after 57 minutes.
With the Dundee scrum dominant in the set piece, play was mainly confined to the Jed half although try-line threats were at a premium. During a rare excursion into the Dundee half, however, Jed took advantage of a Dundee infringement to have an attempt at a penalty goal. The kick was unsuccessful, but Jed retained the initiative and, after a Dundee knock-on and another penalised infringement, Jed took a quick tap and moved the ball right, where centre Robert Hogg broke through attempted tackles to score. Scrum-half Daniel Ritchie added the extras and again the score was level at 19-all, with 9 regulation minutes remaining.
With tension mounting, the score signalled a Jed-Forest offensive, but an interception by Nick Alston relieved the pressure, taking play back to the Jed half. With 40 minutes having passed and a draw looking the likely outcome, Jed were penalised in the centre of the park, some 38 metres out, giving Dundee the chance to win the match. Harry Millar duly obliged, to the delight of the visitors, as the final whistle followed his successful goal kick.
Full-time: Jed-Forest 19 Dundee HSFP 22
A Dundee performance which was adjudged to have been too flat and lacking in energy, but which still contained positives from some rehearsed phase play out into practice. A welcome win for the relieved visitors and a cruel end for Jed to accept, but, for the neutral, an exciting game of open, adventurous, thrust and counter-thrust rugby.
Tries: Livingston, Harland, McKavanagh
Conversions: Millar (2)