With the storms that continue to batter Britain having taken their toll on Cartha’s playing fields, this match was switched to a nearby 3G pitch at Lochinch, for our third game in a row on an artificial surface. And casting a shadow over the whole game, for the 3rd match in a row, we suffered a serious injury, with the unfortunate Ruairidh Hood sustaining a bad leg break just on the stroke of half time. In addition, there were 2 more injuries yesterday where the players felt their studs had caught on the 3G surface. Are some of these artificial surfaces on which rugby is being played liable to cause more injuries than on grass…?
Cartha kicked off with the wind behind them and pushed hard for the opening score. Dundee kept their composure however, and played intelligent rugby, taking the ball back to Cartha in hand well against the wind. Hamilton, McKay, Macnamara and McGinn all made good yards amid a lot of decent interlinking play that was nice to watch.
And just after 10 minutes, although slightly against the run of play, we opened the scoring with a fine handling try. Hammy made the initial break and found Danny McGinn. From there the ball went out to winger Ruairidh Hood, who in turn gave it to Sam Cardosi to cross for a quality score. Fraser couldn’t add the extra points, to leave it at 5 – 0 Dundee.
Our score was followed by some entertaining end to end play. Cartha’s big No. 4 looked dangerous, tapping and going from a quick penalty, only for Cartha to be penalised when he was hauled down. Dundee returned the quick penalty favour with interest, the alert Rory McGinn making 50 yards and with support from brother Danny and Ruairidh Hood once more, we earned a lineout close to Cartha’s line. Cartha never properly cleared their lines from there, and following an attacking Dundee kick, they suffered a Stuart Hogg/Jonny Sexton moment over their line, with Sam Cardosi pouncing on the bouncing loose ball for his 2nd try. 10 – 0 to Dundee with 20 minutes on the clock.
Dundee debutant Dillon Sedge was next to make his mark, the flanker gaining around 50 yards in a barging run that put us right back on the front foot again. Hammy followed up with another fine break, and we were once more camped on Cartha’s line. A penalty led to a series of pick and drives, ending with the alert Josh Mark scoring his first try for the club by touching down against the base of the post. The 2 extra points from Fraser put us 17 – 0 up after half an hour.
Cartha responded quickly, with a fine run from their winger Mitchell leading to a try in the corner. 17 – 5, with 5 minutes to go to half time. Dundee’s full back Ross did well defusing a couple of high bombs from Cartha in the swirling wind, with help from wingers Hood and Baird-Chalmers, and No 8 Macnamara tidied up well at the base of a couple of retreating scrums as half time approached. The untimely injury to winger Ruiaridh Hood led to the referee blowing for half time a couple of minutes early, and a lengthy half time ensued as the medics took good care of him.
Half time reflections It was hard to focus on the game, given the injury which ended the first half. Dundee had played well, and would have the wind behind them in the 2nd half.
When play eventually restarted, with Stuart Kirk on the wing in place of Hood, almost immediately a combination of the pitch and the prolonged break took their toll as the influential Macnamara pulled up with an injured hamstring, being replaced by Ceillem Stewart. Despite all that had happened, Dundee had got their focus back and started well, and Fraser Black added our fourth try after 46 minutes, converted by McKay, to make it 24 – 5 to us.
It was just as well we had got that score, as suddenly Cartha came right back into the game, their influential centre Wayne Burrows pulling the strings and often making huge inroads into the Dundee defence. First, winger Mitchell went over, then almost straight away Burrows scored one of his own, with a 50 metre run from half way. Both tries were converted, and with over 20 minutes still to go, Cartha were right back in it at 24 – 19 down, but with a big head of steam up against a Dundee team being sorely depleted by injuries. Fraser Black was next to depart injured, being replaced by Craig Shearer, and prop Addie Weir came on for James Shellard.
To their credit, Dundee managed to weather the Cartha storm, and got a crucial penalty with 15 minutes to go, Fraser’s kick putting us a vital 2 scores ahead at 27 – 19. Cartha regathered their kick off, however, and a quick converted try made it 27 – 26 Dundee, with 10 long minutes left. Shellard came back on for Sedge, who had given his all in his first game, and Ryan Doherty for injured skipper Fraser McKay. Somehow the much changed Dundee team showed great commitment and no little defensive skill, with second rows Ormiston and Thomson both having been particularly prominent in the defensive chores throughout, to hold Cartha out until the final whistle went, for our first away win of the season.
Final score Cartha 26 Dundee 27
Full time reflections: well done to all the guys for getting our first away win, in difficult circumstances. We played a lot of good rugby, did well to refocus after half time, and deserved to hold out at the end for a narrow win.
The Thorntons Dundee Man of the Match was Sam Cardosi.
Dundee team 15 Gav Ross 14 Cailean Baird-Chalmers 13 Rory McGinn 12 Andrew Hamilton 11 Ruairidh Hood 10 Fraser McKay 9 Danny McGinn 1 Josh Mark 2 Sam Cardosi 3 James Shellard 4 Angus Thomson 5 Finlay Ormiston 6 Dillon Sedge 7 Fraser Black 8 Lewis Macnamara
Replacements 16 Ceillem Stewart 17 Addie Weir 18 Craig Shearer 19 Stuart Kirk 20 Ryan Doherty