It seems the Dundee match reporter at the previous Fullerton league fixture this season may have touched a local nerve or two, so, to set the record straight, it should be observed that, for this BT Cup tie, the weather was perfect, with little cloud and little wind, the bus journey was smooth and uneventful, with an earlier than scheduled arrival, the hospitality was warm and immediate and any references to Dundee by the excellent and entertaining lunch-time speakers, Glenn and Tony, were generally circumspect and inoffensively amusing!
Post-match hospitality was also excellent, and a credit to Marr, so it was just a pity that the bit in the middle didn’t satisfy to the same extent.
Certainly, Dundee played with some determination, even with a number of players well away from their normal positions, but handling errors and the lack of a cutting thrust brought second place in a somewhat turgid game.
Dundee kicked off and were soon on the attack, but a promising, planned backs’ move ended with a knock-on, a feature which was to afflict the Dundee performance throughout the afternoon. When Dundee were penalised after 5 minutes, Marr centre Colin Sturgeon slotted the kick from 15 metres in from touch and Marr were ahead, 3-0.
Dundee were on the attack from the re-start, gaining the home 22. A Marr knock-on gave Dundee a scrum and, with the Marr pack retreating, Andy Dymock picked the ball and broke down the right, with Gavin Hughan on his inside to take the scoring pass. Duncan Leese’s conversion gave Dundee the lead: 3-7 after 8 minutes.
Dundee were on the attack again after the re-start but a penalty to Marr robbed Dundee of any momentum. A good Marr break took play to the Dundee 22 where the visitors were penalised and temporarily reduced to 14 men with the production of a yellow card. The offence gave Colin Sturgeon another goal opportunity, which he took, the reduce the deficit: 6-7 with 14 minutes played.
A good break by Ronan Joy, supported by Cammy McCrimmon returned the action to the Marr 22 and further drives took play to the Marr 5m line, only for the ball to be lost. With play returned to the Dundee half after a Dundee penalty goal miss, a great break from a Marr scrum saw the ball pass through 4 pairs of hands before being touched down by speedy wing Stuart Howie. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but Marr were back in the lead after 22 minutes, 11-7.
Marr were slowly gaining the upper hand, but penalty offences by both sides and further indifferent handling by Dundee were preventing any flowing consistency for the next ten minutes. Then Marr gained possession and moved the ball right for wing Scott Bickerstaff to burst through at pace and score near the posts. The straightforward conversion by Colin Sturgeon extended Marr’s lead to 11 points: 18-7 after 32 minutes.
Dundee started well again from the re-start, but again the threat foundered on a knock-on in the Marr 22. With half-time imminent, a Dundee error led to a Marr scrum in their own half. The ball was fed to Scott Bickerstaff who again broke clear at pace before passing to fellow winger Stuart Howie who touched down. With Colin Sturgeon again converting, Marr were in the driving seat at 25-7 as half-time was called.
Half-time: Marr 25 Dundee 7
Marr had gradually exerted more pressure as the half had progressed, although there was little pace to their play, other than that shown by the two wingers. For Dundee’s part, too many errors were not helping the cause.
Dundee tried hard to get back into the game after the resumption. A fine break by Pete Redmayne looked promising and after he had kicked ahead, Marr were penalised for holding on. Dundee kicked to touch, Marr were penalised again, Dundee kicked to touch again, and the planned line-out move saw Alan Brown barge over for a try which Duncan Leese converted. 45 minutes played and the score was 25 -14.
More errors affected the flow during the next ten minutes until Colin Sturgeon made a great break following a Marr scrum and made it all the way to the line for a try which he converted, extending Marr’s lead to a comfortable 18 points: 32 -14 with 58 minutes gone.
Dundee were showing some ability to move the ball at pace, but all too often, indifferent passing, knock-ons and turn-overs were denying them the chance to exert serious pressure in the Marr red zone.
As the game entered its final stages, Dundee found touch directly, from just outside their 22, and Marr pressed from the resultant line-out until No8 Ben Johnston burst over. The try was converted by Colin Sturgeon with four minutes of normal time remaining. 37-14.
Dundee’s final efforts were formed round line-out drives, but, perhaps in keeping with other parts of the performance, the game ended with a Dundee throw-in being adjudged not straight.
Full-time: Marr 37 Dundee 14
Dundee had most of the territory and possession in the second half and, with so many players playing out of position, could be commended for their determination. A cutting edge will be required, however, to have a chance of turning possession into points, as will a drastic reduction in errors.
Tries: Gavin Hughan, Alan Brown
Conversions: Duncan Leese (2)
Dundee Player of the Match: Andy Dymock