1st XV vs Boroughmuir | Saturday 21 September | 3pm

15 – Callum Nicol
14 – Ruaridh Hood
13 – Kieran D’Aeth
12 – Andrew Hamilton
11 – Callum Hoffie
10 – Paul Kerr
9 – Danny McGinn

1 – James Shellard
2 – Andrew Elton
3 – Stuart Cameron
4 – Iain Daniel
5 – Angus Thomson
6 – Fraser Black
7 – Tim Brown
8 – Finlay Ormiston

Replacements

16 – Ceillem Stewart
17 – Graeme Craig
18 – tbc
19 – Finlay Jacobs
20 – Rory McGinn

Gordon Stewart

Gordon Buchanan Stewart, Born 1937, educated Dundee High School. After National Service in the Royal Scots Borderers 1956 – 58 played a few games for the Club before settling in Edinburgh with a career in Insurance and played for Musselburgh Rugby Club. He then joined Currie Rugby Club and was a staunch committee man and became their President.

Gordon passed away on 10th September 2019. Funeral service Wednesday 25th September at 11 a.m. at Mortonhall Crematorium Main Chapel.

Watsonians 39-16 Dundee High Rugby – Match Report

Our first away game today, against another Super 6 franchise, this time Watsonians, saw us rolling up to Myreside, Edinburgh. One of the biggest pitches in Scottish rugby, some renovations were underway at both ends of the ground – whether in readiness for Super 6, or a hangover from Edinburgh Warriors’ recent occupation, being unclear.

What was clear, however, was that it was yet again a makeshift Dundee team, patched together as injuries and unavailability once more took a heavy toll on a club which is looking threadbare in numbers up front, especially in the front row. Both starting props from last week’s starting XV were out injured, as was the hooker, meaning debuts for props Scott Teister and Stuart Cameron (the latter off the bench), and a return for veteran Davie Mason as replacement hooker. The backs had a more familiar look, with exciting prospect Callum Hoffie making his first start on the wing in place of Callum Nicol, and Hammy taking over at centre from Sean Gauld.

Team 15 – Kieran Scoular, 14 – Callum Hoffie, 13 – Duncan McIntyre, 12 – Andrew Hamilton, 11 – Ruaridh Hood 10 – Paul Kerr, 9 – Danny McGinn

1 – James Shellard, 2 – Andy Elton, 3 – Scott Teister, 4 – Cameron Fraser, 5 – Finlay Ormiston, 6 – Stuart Barlow (capt.), 7 – Fraser Black, 8 – Lewis McNamara

Replacements 16 – Davie Mason, 17 – Stuart Cameron, 18 – Angus Thomson, 19 – Rory McGinn, 20 – Finlay Jacobs

Dundee won the toss, and elected to play with the wind blowing strongly down Myreside. A long range penalty from stand off Paul Kerr, wind-assisted, after 4 minutes edged us in front, but not for long. Following the restart, our set scrum creaked under pressure, and the large specimen that is Watsonians 2nd row Kieran Watt broke through the Dundee midfield and looked set to score before being felled inches out by a strong covering tackle from Dundee’s No. 15, Kieran Scoular. Alas, this just delayed the inevitable, as after a couple of recycles, scrum half Willie Thomson popped over for an unconverted try to make it 5 – 3 to the home side.

Frustratingly, Dundee’s No. 4, Cameron Fraser, making his debut, had been injured in the lead up to the score and limped off to be replaced by Angus Thomson, a near ever present last season but making his first 1st XV appearance of this season.

It got worse. After 15 minutes, an accidental high tackle on hooker Andy Elton resulted in a twisted neck, and a few minutes later he had to leave the fray to be replaced by Davie Mason. In the interim, a second Kerr penalty had let Dundee get their noses in front once more, 6 – 5.

Dundee were now having their best spell of the game. A Kerr chip ahead, taken on at pace, engineered a half overlap out wide, but a knock on put an end to the move. A lineout steal moments later led to a Lewis Macnamara break, and a flip to Kerr, whose pass to supporting scrum half Danny McGinn was kicked through and flopped on over the line by the No. 9  for Dundee’s opening try. Kerr duly converted and it was 13 – 5 to Dundee after 25 minutes.

Unfortunately, moments later Dundee’s injury jinx hit yet again. After winger Ruaridh Hood had bravely snuffed out a wickedly bouncing Watsonians kick ahead deep in his own 22,  captain Stuart Barlow took a knock and had to leave the field, with replacement prop Stuart Cameron coming on to make his debut. As Dundee struggled to regroup and reorganise, Watsonians camped on their line, and Dundee’s valiant defence finally leaked an unconverted touch down, making it 10 – 13 after 33 minutes.

Watsonians were soon back on Dundee’s 22 metre line, but for once Dundee used the wind well as Kieran Scoular’s clearing kick took play from our 22 to theirs. A Dundee scrum penalty on the stroke of half time followed, after a good ruck clear out by No. 1 James Shellard, letting Dundee’s Man of the Match Kerr slot his 3rd penalty, to make it Watsonians 10, Dundee 16 at the break.

Half time reflections: Injury hit Dundee are down to the bare bones up front, and with the bigger Watsonians pack having the wind in their sails for the next 40 minutes, the feeling was Dundee would do well to hold out.

And so it proved. It  seemed Watsonians were over the try line right from the off, but somehow they were held up by some mongrel Dundee defence. The resulting scrum 5 metres out was the trigger for  a series of ‘penalty’ scrums for Watsonians there, as Dundee’s makeshift pack struggled to hold them, during which time referee McIntosh eventually yellow carded Dundee No.1 Shellard as Watsonians kept on trying, but failing, to secure the pushover (or penalty!) try. Finally, Dundee were somehow awarded a penalty of their own as yet another scrum wheeled, and gratefully cleared their lines. Frustratingly, a squint throw at the resulting lineout let Watsonians fire up their scrum once again, but this time they more sensibly moved the ball along the line and centre Ferguson broke through the short handed Dundee defence for an unconverted try. Dundee were still 1 point up at 16 – 15 ahead, but looking distinctly groggy, with half an hour still to go.

Watsonians duly scored once more against Dundee’s 14 men (I made it 13 minutes our prop was off for, one of the problems of not having neutral touch judges) and the conversion made it 22 – 16 in their favour. Next it was Fraser Black’s turn to limp off injured, with Hammy moving to the back row and Rory McGinn coming on in the centre.  And to complete the wholesale changes, replacement Angus Thomson also had to depart, forcing Stuart Barlow back on, with Danny McGinn also being replaced by Finlay Jacobs.

Barlow’s return did not last long. The attempt to free his foot from a clinging Watsonians’ arm being deemed overly violent by the referee, his ensuing yellow card meant he had another 10 minutes to spend on the sidelines.

The wheels were now coming off an inevitably disorganised Dundee side as the mounting injuries, combined with 2 yellow cards, and the difficult windy conditions, took their expected toll. Watsonians went over for 3 more tries in the last 10 minutes as the depleted Dundee team finally cracked. Fittingly, there was then only time for 1 last Dundee player, Ruaridh Hood, to leave the field injured, before the final whistle then blew. Final score Watsonians 39 Dundee 16.

Reflections So, by this correspondent’s count, 6 Dundee players left the pitch injured, plus there were 2 yellow cards. For a makeshift team low on confidence, it became too much for them to cope with in the last quarter. But, trying to look on the bright side, it’s worth noting that we were still within 6 points of Watsonians with only 10 minutes to go, despite all these problems. Nevertheless, some plain speaking at the end by the coaches needed saying, and let’s see how well the guys can respond and pick themselves up for a tough game next week against another Super 6 club side, Boroughmuir.

1st XV vs Watsonians | Saturday 14 September | 3pm

15 – Kieran Scoular
14 – Callum Hoffie
13 – Duncan McIntyre
12 – Andrew Hamilton
11 – Ruaridh Hood
10 – Paul Kerr
9 – Danny McGinn

1 – James Shellard
2 – Andy Elton
3 – Scott Teister
4 – Cameron Fraser
5 – Finlay Ormiston
6 – Stuart Barlow (capt.)
7 – Fraser Black
8 – Lewis McNamara

Replacements

16 –
17 – Stuart Cameron
18 – Angus Thomson
19 – Rory McGinn
20 – Finlay Jacobs

Dundee High Rugby 24-47 Heriots Blues – Match Report

The narrow defeat against Ayr in the Cup the previous week gave Dundee confidence going into the first Tennent’s National One League match of the season against Heriots Blues.

Who?

Heriots Blues.

Who are Heriots Blues?

Surely you mean Heriots – who Dundee have played many times over the years. Play at Goldenacre in Edinburgh. Rugby club been around for years.

No, Heriots Blues ………

What are you on about?

OK, I will try to explain…………………

As stated in President Tosh’s programme notes, this season heralds the start of the semi-professional Super 6 competition. The new league structure sees Super 6 clubs (yes, only 6 of them playing each other……) with a Premiership below that and then National 1 the league in which Dundee play.

OK – who are the Super 6 clubs?

In alphabetical order – Ayr, Boroughmuir, Heriots, Melrose, Stirling and Watsonians.

That seems strange – there are 3 teams from Edinburgh, none from Glasgow and the furthest North is Stirling – surely that can’t be right?

Well it is.

So if Heriots are in the Super 6 and Dundee are in National 1, why are we playing them?

We are not – we are playing Heriots Blues.

WTF?

It has been decreed from on high that the reserve/amateur clubs of the Super 6 clubs will play in National One. Heriots Blues are the amateur/reserve side of Heriots Super 6 team who are called Heriots Rugby.

Get it?

Well, nae really but I will keep trying.

I know what you are thinking – surely this is unfair as Heriots could fill the Heriots Blues team with Heriots Rugby players – and that would mean that the amateur Dundee team were playing against professional players and that would hardly be equitable.

Perish the thought – Heriots Rugby and Heriots Blues are 2 separate entities and never the twain shall meet .

Anyway, we will see when we look at the Heriots team.

I have looked at the programme and the Heriots team is not listed …………………….

Ah – this was due to an administrative oversight – the Heriots team was received after the deadline for printing the Dundee programme.

Your reporter then looked on the Heriots Rugby Club website – which appears to cater for both Heriots Rugby and Heriots Blues – only to find out that the Heriots Blues team was actually called Heriots Blues Mens team…………….

At this point it was becoming too confusing for your reporter who had already been to the Lunch Club and I decided just to concentrate on the match.

As the teams came out in glorious Autumn sunshine it was noted that there were in fact 2 teams, one SRU referee (Craig Clark, well known referee at Mayfield and a good guy) and no SRU assistant referees.

What’s going on?

A quick reference back to President Tosh’s notes in the programme provided the answer- under the new structure , SRU assistant referees would only be provided for Super 6 , Premiership and the Womens Premiership.

This means that no assistant referees in National 1, so each club provides touch judges.

Not assistant referees – touch judges only.

This meant that the Mayfield faithful had to endure the sight of Ken Andrew’s legs as the venerable Ken was the Dundee touch judge.

The match kicked off and Heriots – (no, Heriots Blues………………….) – OK let’s call them the Blues – were on the attack from the start as they attacked the Dalgleish Road end.

Dundee seemed to have survived the initial onslaught when they were awarded a penalty.

However, they failed to find touch and the Blues ran the ball back with no 14 going in under the post. Graham Wilson a wellknown Heriots player for many years added the conversion

7-0 Blues.

Dundee were penalised for being offside from the kickoff and the Blues took advantage by going up the pitch and camping themselves in the Dundee 22. With phase after phase, they attacked the Dundee defence and the pressure was rewarded when their No 3 (a massive bloke) battered his way across. The conversion was added

14-0 Blues.

When the Blues added a further score – not sure who it was as in an admission of shoddy journalism, I glanced across at the Titans match, to make the score 19-0 (conversion missed) , the concern could be seen on the faces of the Dundee support.

Not only were the Blues a big side (both props in particular were huge) , but they had 95% possession and were relentlessly threatening the Dundee defence.

Even when Dundee got possession and centre Paul Kerr was nearly through for a score, a knock on gave possession back to the Blues who scored another converted try.

The score after 22 minutes was 26-0 to the Blues and the Dundee support were not enjoying their day in the sun, although the Titans were doing their best to improve the mood around Mayfield by running in the tries against Lasswade.

At this stage, the young Dundee team were struggling to cope with the Blues but the effort and defence could not be faulted. One tackle in particular by winger Calum Nicol (the latest member of the Nicol dynasty to grace the Mayfield pitch – son of ex captain Ally, grandson of legend Dave and nephew of media darling Andy) stopped a certain try.

However the relentless pressure continued and the Blues scored again before half time- again converted by Wilson .

Half Time – Dundee 0 Blues 33

Coach Sangster rang the changes at half time bringing on 5 players and making a couple of positional changes, including putting Paul Kerr at 10, with replacement Duncan McIntyre on as centre outside him.

Unfortunately, this did not have an immediate benefit as the Blues scored the first try of the second half when their Number 13 accelerated around Kieran 30 metres out and make the line. The score was converted to make the score 40-0.

The Blues scored another try soon after with their 15 going over -again converted – so it was 47-0 and Dundee staring down the barrel of 50+.

At this stage, the reshuffled Dundee team began to gel , with good breaks by Lewis and Paul and for the first time in the match began to retain possession.

The Blues however still had the upper hand in the set piece and following another scrum, Taylor was forced off injured. This led to uncontested scrums.

With the match already won, the Blues took the opportunity to ring the changes and give each player on their bench a run out.

Dundee were now enjoying much more possession and for the first time in the match exerting pressure on the Blues and this was rewarded, when following a Kerr break, Duncan McIntyre scored to get Dundee on the scoresheet. Paul converted.

47-7 Blues.

Dundee then scored a second try when after a break by Lewis, space was created for winger Ruaridh Hood again converted by Paul to make the score 47-14.

The Blues had taken their foot off the gas at this stage and Dundee further capitalised through another score by Duncan McIntyre, again converted by Paul Kerr to take the score to 47-19.

The Blues then brought some of their big guns back on to regain control, but Dundee had the last score when Ruaridh Hood collected a good kick by Kieran to score an unconverted try with the last play.

Final Score – Dundee 24 Heriots Blues 47

Reflections

Great credit to the young Dundee team for fighting back from a hopeless position at half time to not only win the second half , but also gain some pride , as well as showing the Mayfield crowd what they are capable of.

Obviously , the uncontested scrums in the second half favoured Dundee whose pack was getting a mauling from the Blues 8 , but the 4 tries allowed Dundee to get a bonus point.

In the first half in particular , the Blues were a class act and this may give an indication of the quality of opposition Dundee may face in the National 1 league this year due to the inclusion of the reserve/amateur sides of the Super 6 teams.

It should be noted that the Titans gave a great performance to beat Lasswade 95-0.

1st XV vs Heriot’s | Saturday 7 September | 3pm

15 – Kieran Scoular
14 – Ruaridh Hood
13 – Sean Gauld
12 – Paul Kerr
11 – Callum Nicol
10 – Rory McGinn
9 – Danny McGinn

1 – Jack Newth
2 – Ceillem Stewart
3 – Taylor Smith
4 – Iain Lockhart
5 – Finlay Ormiston
6 – Stuart Barlow
7 – Gav Hughan
8 – Lewis Macnamara

Replacements

16 – Connor Crawford
17 – James Shellard
18 – Tim Brown
19 – Duncan McIntyre
20 – Kieran D’Aeth

Dundee High Rugby 17-18 Ayr – Match Report

A new season, and new Cup competition with a preliminary round, a new Ayr team, being the “Club” XV of a Super 6 club and a new-look Dundee side, all added to a degree of uncertainty in advance of this Mayfield encounter, which began with a strong, rain-bearing wind blowing down the pitch from the pavilion end.

Led by Vice-captain Stuart Barlow, due to the absence of injured Captain Fraser McKay, Dundee kicked off against the elements, were soon penalised and, when Ayr kicked to the corner and began an assault in the home 22, there were fears among the home support. Three penalty offences by Ayr, however, allowed Dundee to clear to the Ayr half and, when a kick by Ayr from their 10 metre line was taken by the wind over the Dundee dead ball line, Dundee were offered further respite.

Although there were early indications that the home scrum was under pressure, they were holding their own in open play and a good break by Lewis McNamara enabled Dundee to retain the initiative until Ayr were penalised about 30 metres out and debutante Paul Kerr slotted the goal to give Dundee the lead: 3-0 after 15 minutes.

Ayr broke through from the re-start, reaching 10 metres from the Dundee line and, when Dundee were penalised, Ayr opted for the scrum and a potential push-over try. Dundee were penalised again and a second scrum selected by Ayr. This time, however, the ball was moved out, but the attack foundered, Dundee stole the ball and cleared. From the resulting line-out, Ayr moved the ball at pace and stand-off Pinkerton darted over for an unconverted try. 20 minutes played and 3-5.

Dundee mounted a series of attacks after the kick-off, but lacked a vital cutting edge against a strong Ayr defence. When Ayr were penalised on their 22, however, Paul Kerr was able to kick a second goal to return the lead to the home side: 6-5 with 30 minutes on the clock.

Ayr were immediately on the attack after the re-start and full-back McCorkindale broke through an attempted tackle to score out wide on the left. The conversion attempt was again unsuccessful, but Ayr were back in front after 32 minutes, 6-10.

When Ayr were penalised after the kick-off, Dundee were presented with another penalty goal opportunity, but 40 metres into the strong wind looked like a tough challenge for Paul Kerr. To the delight of the home support, however, the kick sailed between the uprights and Dundee remained in touch, 9-10 after 35 minutes.

Ayr were again on the attack, but knocked-on in the Dundee 22. Under pressure in the scrum, Dundee were penalised and again Ayr elected for a scrum, but lost possession and Dundee fly-hacked the ball to safety into the Ayr half. Play flowed back and forth with no further scoring opportunities until the whistle blew for half-time.

Half-time: Dundee 9 Ayr 10

In spite of having to play against the strong wind, Dundee were holding their own and the evidence thus far indicated that fears about Super 6 club sides proving dominant may be unfounded. The rain had ceased, the sun had appeared and there was hope that, with the wind at their backs, Dundee could well get the better of the second half. Apart from the scrum area, there appeared little between the sides.

Dundee began on the offensive and a penalty offence by Ayr allowed Dundee to kick to the Ayr 22, but a knock-on by Dundee enabled Ayr to clear. A good break by another Dundee debutante, Finlay Ormiston, ended with lost possession, but Ayr were penalised at the scrum and Paul Kerr was able to land his fourth penalty goal and restore Dundee’s lead, at 12-10 after 6 minutes of the half.

Further Dundee attacks followed, to be ended by a penalty offence. An up and under clearance from Dundee’s defence was missed by Ayr and the ball bounced into the hands of Callum Nicol, also making his first appearance for the Club and he raced 50 metres before being caught just short of the Ayr line.

Ayr survived and were able to return to the attack, where they exploited some leaks in the home defence to mount an offensive which ended with another unconverted try. Now it was Ayr ahead again, 15 -12 after 55 minutes.

Ayr were penalised after the re-start and Paul Kerr lined up a shot at goal out wide on the right and some 8 metres inside the Ayr half. Given his results into the wind, there was hope that the distance would not prove too great with wind assistance, but the kick fell just short.

For the next 10 minutes or so, play flowed to and fro until a great handling move by Dundee, with the ball moving in and out, ended with a fine try by Connor Lane, yet another player wearing a Dundee shirt for the first time. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but the lead was again Dundee’s: 17-15 with 64 minutes played.

There was hope now in home hearts, although in spite of wind-assisted clearances by Dundee, Ayr were mounting attacks, eventually reaching 10 metres from the Dundee line. Although the ball was lost, Dundee were penalised, leaving Pinkerton the simple task of goaling the penalty and the lead was back in Ayr’s favour, 17-18, with 5 minutes of regulation time remaining.

Ayr broke through after the resumption and Dundee were under a lot of pressure, eventually relieved by an Ayr knock-on and then a penalty offence, which allowed Dundee to find touch for a last-chance line out opportunity on the Dundee 10 metre line. A sustained effort by Dundee gave hope, only to end with a forward pass which brought the whistle for no-side.

Full-time: Dundee HSFP 17 Ayr 18

From a Dundee perspective, there were many positives from a squad continuing seven debutantes. Although some scrum improvement will be sought, a cohesive team effort and the narrowest of losses against a Super 6 club side gives grounds for optimism that, with more experience of playing together, a strengthening of the scrum and a tightening of defence, Dundee need have little to fear once the league programme begins next week.

Dundee scorers:
Try: Connor Lane
Penalties: (4) Paul Kerr

Dundee Player of the Match:
Gavin Hughan