Dundee Titans (22) v Hawick 2nd XV (38), Mayfield, 2nd April 2016

The posts were down at Mayfield, so this re-scheduled  match was transferred to Riverside, where a calm, mild day and a flat, firm pitch made for ideal conditions, as the Titans entertained a Hawick side which could muster only 14 players.

Dundee kicked off and started brightly, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring, with a penalty by their stand-off after Dundee were adjudged offside during a Hawick drive near the Dundee line. 0-3 after 6 minutes.

A spell of Hawick pressure followed, but Dundee’s defence was solid and eventually a long clearance kick took play to the Hawick half. Dundee won possession and the ball was taken on by Joe Nakavulevu, who passed to Cammy McCrimmon, to score in the corner. His conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but Dundee were ahead 5-3 with 16 minutes played.

A spell of equal, mid-field play followed, with the only scoring chance being a long-range penalty attempt by Hawick which shaved the outside of the post. Then a turn-over on half-way led to a break by Cammy McCrimmon, with Christian Avis in support, running clear to touch down under the posts, leaving Cammy with a simple conversion attempt. 27 minutes gone and Dundee ahead 12-3.

Dundee were moving the ball well, but handling errors were preventing any sustained pressure on the visitors. From one such error, Hawick were able to clear to near the Dundee 22 and mount an attack, leading to a penalty offence by Dundee on the 22 in front of the posts. The Hawick No 10 slotted the kick and the lead was reduced: 12-6 after 37 minutes.

Hawick were back on the attack and the Dundee line was under threat, but a final pass went astray, bringing the half-time whistle.

Half-time: Dundee Titans 12 Hawick 2nd XV 6

Although it had been a fairly close half, there was considerable encouragement in the Dundee performance, with some structured play and a positive commitment in the break-down areas, which had not always been so evident in previous matches. But for some indifferent handling and kicking, the score might have been greater in Dundee’s favour. Nevertheless, with a developing on-shore breeze at their backs, there was some optimism that Dundee could build on their lead in the second half.

Indeed, Dundee started well, but a knock-on led to a Hawick break and a penalty against Dundee. The Hawick stand-of landed his third penalty goal and the visitors were just 3 points behind: 12-9 with 3 minutes of the half gone.

Hawick lost the ball from the re-start, however, and a fine break by James Mulligan, followed by a pass to Murray Devine led to a try. The conversion was unsuccessful,  but the lead was increased to 8 points: 45 minutes played and Dundee ahead 17-9.

That lead lasted only two minutes, however, because Hawick hit back immediately from the re-start, with their impressive Scotland U-20 No12 making the most of ineffective Dundee tackling to run from about half-way to score under the posts. The stand-off converted and the lead was reduced to just one point. 17-16 after 45 minutes.

Hawick took the initiative after the re-start and were soon pressing in the Dundee red zone. Penalty offences were not helping the Dundee effort and a yellow card award further damaged their cause. Hawick took a scrum option at a penalty on the home 5 metre line and pushed over for a converted try which put them into the lead for the first time, 17-23 after 55 minutes.

A buoyed Hawick were on the attack again and worked the ball well to the Dundee line for an unconverted try by their No 13. 17-28 with 58 minutes played.

Hope sprang for Dundee some two minutes later, after Hawick had kicked to touch from the kick-off. The ball was won by debutant Brenton Becker, who galloped some 40 metres to score. The conversion was missed and the score moved to 22-28 after 60 minutes.

It was Hawick’s turn for an attacking spell after the re-start and after a good break by their No5, Dundee were penalised in their 22 and the Hawick stand-off took the goal chance, moving the score to 31-22 with 66 minutes played, and meaning that Dundee would need two scores to regain the lead.

Dundee’s cause was aided by a Hawick knock-on at the re-start and Dundee attacked from the scrum. A kick through was too long, however, but Hawick’s drop-out went straight into touch. A Dundee knock-on, however, saw the chance lost and slack Dundee defending led to Hawick kicking through. When Dundee were penalised on their 5 metre line, Hawick took advantage of their now dominant set scrum to choose the scrummage option. Four times Dundee were penalised under scrummage pressure and each time Hawick elected to re-scrum, leading to observers on both sides wondering why a penalty try had not been awarded.. On the final occasion, a yellow card was awarded against Dundee, meaning the next scrum was uncontested. Unable to exert a push, Hawick instead moved the ball left for their No 12 to touch down in the corner. The stand-off’s kick was successful and Hawick were ahead 22-38 with a minute of normal time remaining.

At the death, Dundee were awarded their first penalty of the half and ran the ball, only for a knock-on to bring the final whistle.

Full-time: Dundee Titans 22 Hawick 2nd XV 38

After the optimism from the first half performance, it was disappointing that Dundee fell away in the second half. It seemed that the loss of stand-off Cammy McCrimmon through injury made a  damaging difference to the structure of the back line, but mention must also be made of the bizarre penalty count. Almost equal at half-time, 6-5 in Dundee’s favour, the second period saw 11 penalties to Hawick, to just the one, late award to Dundee. All credit to Hawick, however, who stuck in gamely in spite of their numerical disadvantage and the early scoring deficit.

Scorers:

Tries: McCrimmon, Avis, Devine, Becker

Conversion: McCrimmon

Dundee Player of the Match: Brenton Becke

GHA 2nd XV (40) v Dundee Titans (3), 12th March 2013.

Match Report

In the whole of Scottish (or even world) rugby, played at a serious level, can there be a half-back pairing with a combined age matching 93 years and 1 month? That’s what happened at Braidholm yesterday, when Dougie Gray and Dave Mason helped out by filling the 9 and 10 berths respectively for Dundee, and both played more than creditably.

In fact, in the first half, the whole team showed a big improvement on recent performances with a lively effort which kept them well in touch at half time, despite going behind after only 3 minutes. An early penalty against Dundee let GHA kick to touch on the right. The ball was moved left, then a cross -kick to the right was taken beautifully by former Dundee player Glen Scott, who made ground before passing inside for a colleague to score. The try was unconverted and Titans were 5-0 down.

With good handling and driving play, Dundee were on the attack from the re-start, reaching 2 metres from the GHA line, but GHA were penalised and Jordan Wright nailed the goal to reduce the lead: 5-3 after 6 minutes.

Although Dundee again resumed on the offensive, a penalty offence allowed GHA to clear their lines, and a good break saw them reach near the Dundee 22. When Dundee were again penalised, GHA worked the ball closely, before a break by their No 4 saw him reach the line, for a try converted by the stand-off. 13 minutes played and GHA ahead 12-3.

Dundee then dominated possession for the remainder of the first period, which was played mainly in the GHA half. Greater pace on the ball and security of handling, albeit much improved, could have helped put greater pressure on the GHA defence, however, and Dundee’s scoring chances were confined to two long-range penalty goal attempts, which were unsuccessful.

Half-time: GHA 12 Dundee Titans 3

In spite of another unfamiliar back-line, there was some optimism in the Dundee camp at the break, following a half with possession dominated by Titans in a much-improved performance.

GHA began the second half on the offensive, aided by a succession of penalties against Dundee. Having dominated possession for the first 10 minutes of the half, GHA launched a good attack before their stand-off chipped over the visiting defence and touched down the kick for a try which he converted to extend the lead: 19 – 3 after 50 minutes.

Dundee fought back, but lost possession and the GHA 13 hacked the ball from his own half to the Dundee 5 metre line. Although Dundee cleared, following a penalty against GHA, sustained pressure told and after 58 minutes, the GHA No 8 burst over for a try converted by the stand-off and the score moved, ominously for Dundee, to 26 -3.

It heralded a purple spell for GHA, who then killed the game off with two further tries in the next 7 minutes. From the restart, their good running play led to a try by their outside centre, converted by the stand-off with a drop kick, which he repeated four minutes later after their No 4 rounded off some good handling play with a try. 65 minutes played and GHA were ahead 40 – 3.

Game effectively over, but Dundee did not give up and made progress into the GHA red zone, where a number of penalties against the home side led to a series of Dundee 5-metre scrums. The GHA defence was equal to the pick-and-go drives however, and when Dundee knocked on and GHA cleared, the chance was gone.

Dundee continued to press, with some sustained spells of good handling, but were unable to make any inroads before being forced into touch, bringing the final whistle.

Full time: GHA 40 Dundee 3

A score, which on possession alone, perhaps flattered GHA slightly, but a greater cutting edge helped them to make the most of their opportunities in the second half. But for the fifteen-minute spell in the second half, when GHA scored four converted tries, Titans had as much, or more of the game, and with greater pace on the ball might have made the result closer.

Congratulations to Dougie and Dave, though, for an outstanding effort.

Scorer:

Penalty: Jordan Wright

Dundee Player of the Match: Dougie Gray

Dundee Titans (0) v Mussleburgh 2nd XV (44), Mayfield 5th March

Match Report

It’s one of the perversities of the game, that a side which dominates a match is often on the wrong end of the penalty count. Seldom has this oddity been as evident as it was at Mayfield when Dundee Titans entertained Musselburgh on a soft pitch and with a keen northerly blowing across the pitch. In a match of far too many penalties, the count of 24 – 9 in Titans’ favour was almost embarrassing, all the more so because Dundee were unable to gain any capital from that benefit, ending up well beaten by a useful Mussleburgh side, in spite of Titans fielding a strong-looking pack, containing many established players with 1st XV experience, admittedly with a number of forwards in an ad hoc back-line.

The match began with a spell of equal sparring until, after 8 minutes the Musselburgh blind-side flanker broke from a scrum following a Dundee knock-on and made it to the line for the opening score, which was not converted, leaving the score at 0 – 5.

Dundee’s efforts to redress the balance were aided by penalties in their favour, but a free kick against them brought a huge clearance by Musselburgh. Dundee cleared, but a back-row combination saw the Musselburgh 6 burst through at pace for a second try, and this time their scrum-half landed an excellent conversion from the touchline. 21 minutes gone and the lead increased to 12 points, 0-12.

Musselburgh were now moving the ball and handling well, resulting in a good spell of possession in the Dundee 22, before they knocked on. There were soon back in possession, however, and landed a drop goal, something of a rarity nowadays, after 25 minutes, to move the score to 0 – 15.

Dundee were now playing with more of an apparent sense of purpose, and, with more penalty assistance, gained touch in the Musselburgh 22. They drove the won ball, but lost possession and Musselburgh cleared.

A scrappy spell of play ensued as half-time approached, with Musselburgh on top and pressing in the Dundee 22. Dundee broke out but it was soon Musselburgh back on the attack, moving the ball left for their outside centre to burst over after 2 minutes of stoppage time. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the half time whistle went.

Half-time: Dundee Titans 0 Mussleburgh 2nd XV 20

Some spirited, if disjointed, play by a Dundee side. If the penalty count remained so much in their favour, perhaps the second half would see a reversal of fortunes.

That this was not to be the case was perhaps indicated by Dundee’s kick-off going straight into touch. Although Musselburgh was penalised shortly afterwards, so, too were Dundee, and the Musselburgh scrum-half duly obliged with a goal which stretched the score to 0 – 23, with 3 minutes of the half played.

In spite of the next kick-off also going straight out, Dundee then managed to gain the Musselburgh 22, only for a penalty to be awarded against them and another long Musselburgh clearance took play to the home 22. The Musselburgh drive led to a penalty against Dundee, and another kick to touch, and drive, before the ball was moved left for the Musselburgh inside centre to score. Scrum-half converted and the score moved to 0-30 after 53 minutes.

A Dundee break out and kick ahead led to a penalty for a late tackle, and Dundee chose the scrum where the ball landed, leading to a good spell of Dundee pressure, until it was ended by a penalty against. When Dundee were penalised again and Musselburgh cleared, play moved to half way and another penalty against Dundee enabled the visitors to find touch on the Dundee 22. A great move from the line-out saw their No 4 burst through all the way to the line for a converted try, making the score 0 – 37, after 62 minutes.

Dundee pressed after the re-start and made it to the Musselburgh 5-metre line, only for poor execution to thwart their effort. A series of penalties against Musselburgh, including a yellow card dismissal, followed, with Dundee taking scrummage options, but Dundee were unable to take advantage of the temporary territorial and numerical superiority.

The match ended with a Musselburgh drive leading to a try by their No 8, converted again by their scrum-half, with the last kick of the match.

Full-time: Dundee Titans 0 Musselburgh 2nd XV 44

An error-strewn match, not helped by the number of penalties, which also contributed to a lack of cohesion. From a Dundee perspective it was particularly disappointing that a side which looked strong on paper, at least regarding the forwards, offered so little challenge.

Dundee Player of the Match: Andy Clarkson

Marr (37) v Dundee HSFP (14), Fullerton, Feb 27th

Match Report

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.

Scorers:

Tries: Gavin Hughan, Alan Brown

Conversions: Duncan Leese (2)

Dundee Player of the Match: Andy Dymock

Dundee HSFP (27) v Falkirk (19), Mayfield, 20th Feb 2016

Match Report

Mayfield was on the soft side and a keen wind was blowing from the Pavilion end as Dundee kicked off this postponed third round BT Cup tie, and were penalised very early on. Falkirk kicked to touch, but lost the line-out. A knock-on hampered Dundee and a second penalty allowed the Falkirk stand-off a goal chance from the 22 and he duly obliged, putting the visitors 0-3 ahead after just 4 minutes.

Dundee resumed on the attack with some good, sustained possession and early suggestions of Dundee scrum superiority were confirmed when Falkirk opted for another line out after a Dundee squint throw. When Dundee were penalised on the Falkirk 10 metre line Falkirk kicked to touch and drove the line-out possession to the Dundee 22. Dundee were again penalised and Falkirk tried a quick tap and go, but were pulled back by the referee and resorted instead to a straightforward penalty goal, again by their stand-off. A quarter of the match played and Falkirk were ahead 0-6.

Good Dundee possession again resulted after the kick-off, but a knock-on stopped the threat. A free-kick was awarded against Falkirk, however, and Dundee pressed forward for a try by Josh Rutnagur, which Dunce Leese converted. 24 minutes played and Dundee were ahead, 7-6.

Dundee continued to have the majority of the possession, and a line-out drive from the Falkirk 10 m to 22 m lines looked ominous, but was eventually held and the half ended without further scoring.

Half-time: Dundee 7 Falkirk 6

Despite playing against the wind, Dundee had enough of the game to be further ahead, and the set scrum was exerting pressure on Falkirk, but, without a potent cutting thrust, seldom did it seem that possession was to be turned into points.

Two early penalties enabled Falkirk to gain the Dundee 22 and stand-off Brins slotted the second one to regain the lead for Falkirk after 2 minutes of the half. 7-9.

Dundee resumed, again on the offensive, but their hopes were given a severe dent when the Falkirk scrum-half, Russell, intercepted a pass well inside his own half and raced unopposed to the Dundee line for a try which stand-of Brins converted. 7-16, after 46 minutes.

Worse was to come for Dundee six minutes later when a penalty for talking back allowed Brins to land a long-range penalty, increasing Falkirk’s lead to 12 points: 7-19 with 52 minutes played.

With no evidence of panic, however, Dundee hit back at pace and secured a long period of possession in the Falkirk 22. When the visitors were temporarily reduced to 14 men, Dundee made the pressure tell and, after a quick drive, Alan Brown barged over under the posts, giving Duncan Leese the simplest of conversions. 58 minutes played and Dundee within distance at 14-19.

There was a brighter aspect to Dundee’s play now and they continued to attack, with the lion’s share of possession. When Falkirk were penalised, Dundee kicked to touch in the Falkirk 22 and exerted a big drive from the line-out to reach the Falkirk 5 metre line. The ball was then flung right, where Mike Brown was on hand to run in for the score. Duncan’s kick was unsuccessful and the scores were level at 19-all with 66 minutes gone.

Mid-field penalty exchanges prevented any sustained continuity, but when Dundee were awarded one penalty, they kicked to touch on the Falkirk 22. There was a repeat of the line-out drive of the first half, but this time the pack made it all the way to the Falkirk line for Gavin Hughan to touch down . The conversion attempt was again unsuccessful but Dundee were again ahead, 24-19 after 73 minutes.

Dundee continued to press for the remainder of the match, but stout Falkirk defence prevented further scoring, until the very last kick. Having missed with a penalty attempt in the Falkirk 22, Duncan, made no mistake with a second opportunity, closing out the game as the final whistle followed the goal.

Full-time: Dundee 27 Falkirk 19

A victory which was probably deserved, given the amount of possession and scrum superiority. With a greater attacking thrust, the win might have been secured more comfortably, but that would be to deny the excellent defensive display by Falkirk.

Scorers:

Tries: Rutnagur, A Brown, M Brown, Hughan

Conversions: Leese (2)

Penalties: Leese

Dundee Man of the Match: Gavin Hughan

Stewarts-Melville 2nd XV (72) v Dundee Titans (12), 23rd Jan 2016

Match Report Stewarts-Melville 2nd XV v Dundee Titans

It was again an unfamiliar XV which took the pitch on the Titan’s behalf, further modified as a result of four late call-offs by players with 1st XV experience.

It was perhaps no surprise, therefore, when Stew-Mel notched up a try bonus with their fourth after only13 minutes. Indeed it took only 2 minutes for the opening score, before a Dundee hand had touched the ball.

Dundee’s cause was not helped by their re-start kicks going straight, and unchallenged, to an opposition player and, from every kick-off, Stew-Mel were able immediately to regain momentum. A fifth try for Stew-Mel followed in 20 minutes, and all five were unconverted, making the score 25-0, but by this time, Dundee were able to absorb the relentless pressure to better effect and it took another 14 minutes before Stew-Mel scored again, this time their previously unsuccessful full back adding a conversion. 32 – 0.

With about three minutes to go to half-time, Dundee were awarded a penalty and found touch just inside the home half, the first time the Titans had been there, apart from at kick-offs. The ball was lost after the line-out, however, Stew-Mel kicked for territory, regained possession and the ball found its way to their left winger, who danced through for a sixth home try, converted and it was 39-0 .

There was more to come before the break. Dundee’s kick-off again went to an unchallenged Stew-Mel player and their big No 4 made much ground before passing to a supporting player who scored for a try which was converted. Dundee’s kick-off returned possession to Stew-Mel but the half was finished without further addition.

Half-time: Stewarts-Melville 46 Dundee Titans 0

Unremitting Stew-Mel possession and pressure made it a half to forget for a Dundee side which looked as though it hadn’t played together before. It hadn’t!

Having restarted the second half, Dundee were immediately in opposition territory, but lost possession when an interception by the Stew-Mel full back left him an unopposed run to the Dundee line for a try which he converted and Stew-Mel were ahead 53 – 0 with two minutes of the half played.

An odd feature of the second half was the somewhat skewed penalty count in Dundee’s favour and from one early penalty, Dundee took a quick tap and a rather surprised-looking Fez scurried through for a first Dundee try, converted by Craig Angus. 46 minutes played and the Titans’ fight-back begun – 53-7.

Fight-back? Stew-Mel hit back immediately from the kick-off running through to score in the corner a converted try which changed the score to 60 – 7 after 48 minutes.

No fight back either after Stew-Mel scored again immediately, following a surging break by their loose-head prop, with the scrum-half in support. An unconverted try and Stew-Mel were ahead 65-7 after 49 minutes.

The following period was typified by possession being won, then lost, then won, then lost, all in open play in the Dundee half, until a good clearance kick relieved the pressure for the visitors. They ran the ball back, however, and a fine handling movement ended with the No 13 crossing for a converted try. 72-7 after 56 minutes.

Dundee were then able to take advantage of a series of penalties against Stew-Mel and, after a scoring chance was spurned with a loose pass to the waiting Fez, a good burst by Scott Strachan took play into the home red zone. Another penalty to Dundee was taken quickly and Scott Doig barged over for an unconverted try. 63 minutes played and 72-12.

Loose play by Dundee in their 22 let Stew-Mel gain possession and with men in open space, the ball was worked left for their No 7 to dive over in the corner. The try was not converted and the score moved to 77 -12 after 65 minutes.

Stew-Mel knocked on while receiving the kick-off and the initiative became Dundee’s. Another penalty offence by Stew-Mel resulted in the kick being taken quickly sand after good driving play and good open possession, Christian dashed over for a try which was not converted, making the score 77-17 after 69 minutes.

The remaining minutes were played out without either side threatening to score.

Full time: Stewarts-Melville 2nd XV 77 Dundee Titans 17

A less discouraging second half in which Dundee managed to gain the opposition half for significant periods, but the unfamiliarity of the side, in which gallant Dougie Gray made a brief substitute appearance (at scrum-half!) was too great a handicap in the face of strong Stew-Mel opposition.

Scorers:

Tries: Fezan Mughal, Scott Doig, Christian Avis

Conversion: Craig Angus

Stewarts Melville FP (25) v Dundee HSFP (29), Inverleith , 23rd January 2016

Match Report

Rojo try

Stewarts Melville FP v Dundee HSFP , Inverleith , 23rd January 2016

2016 had not got off to the best start for Dundee , with the postponed match against Watsonians on 16 January denying the team the opportunity to get the win that would have made up for the defeat to Edinburgh Accies the previous week.
This made the match against Stewarts-Melville a “must win game” if promotion hopes were to remain intact.
The omens were not good when the overheating alarm on the Dundee bus sounded as it passed Longforgan. Paul the bus driver pulled into an A90 lay-by , carried out a quick diagnosis with the resultant conclusion that the bus was buggered . The passengers and kit were removed and a new bus was sent for.
As the Dundee committee and the supporters stood in the A90 lay-by looking forlornly at the stricken bus , it was a scene reminiscent of the classic 1989 Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special (Jolly Boys Outing to Margate) but thankfully the River Tay bus did not blow up on this occasion……
Anyway , new bus appeared , kit loaded on , players successfully transferred from bus to bus and thanks to Paul the bus driver going like the clappers , we arrived at Inverleith at 12.55pm.
The Dundee team was still not a full strength, with centre partnership Tim McKavanagh and Neil Herron still out injured . They were joined on the injured list by Matt and John Brady . In addition , Gavin Hughan , Andy Dymock , Ross Lemon , Ice and Jonny Petty were unavailable. Also on the injured list were the Robertson sisters , who joined the Dundee support along with their loyal parents who laudably make the trip from Earlston every week .18 year old Euan Fox, the current captain of the Dundee High school team , continued at 10 with 19 year old , Henry Sampson an ex Scotland age group scrum half making his debut at scrum half. The back row looked exciting and dynamic with Hamish and Paddy Hamilton packing down alongside Danny Levison.
As the Dundee support enjoyed their pre-match pints , it was noted that the todays team must have been of the youngest fielded by the club in recent years and indeed one of the youngest in senior rugby in Scotland.
The backs contained an 18 year old (Euan) , 3 19 year olds (Henry , Duncan and Ronan and a 20 year old (Blair). In the forwards the second rows (George and Conor) were 19 , with Paddy just turned 21 in the back row.
In particular , the midfield of Henry at 9 (19) , Euan at 10 (18) and Leesey at 12 (19) was ambitious proof of Head Coach’s philosophy that if he considered you to be good enough , you were considered to be old enough.
Dundee started the match at 100mph and were on top from the off and it could be seen that their players were well up for this match. Play was immediately forced in the Stew Mell 22 and after concerted pressure , Dundee were awarded a penalty on the 22 , straight in front of the posts.
A certain 3 point lead to Dundee ?
Well , you would have thought so , but Duncan managed to miss the target and send the ball past the posts. Legendary Dundee supporter Jim Scott was heard to comment that he could have kicked the penalty with his baffies on and no one argued.

Dundee however took the lead from the restart with a classic try. From the drop out , the ball was gathered by Paddy who linked up with the backs as the ball was shifted across the pitch with backs and forwards both involved.
Captain Broonie appeared on the left wing and showing the good hands that have been his hallmark since his days as a young ball-playing number 8 , he linked with Paddy. Paddy – involved in the move from the 3rd time – sent Ronan , who had cleverly come in from the wing – in near the posts.
Duncan converted.
7-0 Dundee.

Dundee were playing some great stuff at this stage , with the young midfield to the fore and it was no surprise when they went further ahead in 15 minutes.
Blair hit a great line , taking the ball from Duncan just outside the StewMel 22 and powered between the posts
Duncan again converted
14-0 Dundee.

StewMel then began to force themselves back into the game.
It was noted that their forwards were more experienced than the pack that they fielded earlier in the season at Mayfield and their big pack started to secure some possession , forcing play into the Dundee 22.
Dundee coped well with this and looked to be well in control.

However , following another StewMel foray in the Dundee 22 , they were gifted a score. A Dundee set scrum went wrong and after pass the parcel play amongst the backs , the ball found its way to Ronan in the corner behind his line. The obvious play was to boot the ball out of play but if this is what Ronan meant to do , then it did not work as the ball carried infield and straight into the hands of the grateful StewMel centre who scored between the posts.
The conversion was successful.
14-7 to Dundee

Half time – Stewarts Melville FP 7 Dundee HSFP 14
StewMel started the second half strongly and within 5 minutes were back in the game. The ball was turned over after a Dundee move broke down in midfield and found its to massive StewMel 2nd row Alex Rappestad who is rumoured to be a Swedish international. Anyway , this Nordic giant broke through the Dundee defence and the ball was shipped wide for a score near the corner. The conversion was missed
14-12 Dundee

To their credit , although the game was tighter than it should have been , the Dundee backs get the ball moving at every opportunity , with Henry’s service drawing praise from the crowd.
From another backs move , Blair again hit the line at pace , broke through a tackle and sent Ewan Fox in for the fly half’s first try for the club. Naturally , he jumped for joy at this and was embraced in celebration by Henry , Blair and Duncan.

This display of youthful joy did not impress the Robertson’s sister’s dad (Alastair) who was heard to state that Ewan should have concentrated at scoring underneath the posts instead of celebrating his try. Welcome to the unforgiving world of senior rugby ,Ewan…….

Old man Robertson’s mood was not improved when Leesey missed the conversion.
19-12 Dundee.

StewMel were awarded a penalty after the restart.
Fly half Hanning – who was showing himself to be a tidy kicker , nailed the penaly.
19-15 Dundee.

Half way through the second half , Dundee went further ahead due to quick thinking by Duncan Leese. Dundee were awarded a penalty in the StewMel 22 , Duncan tapped and ran and due to a combination of speed and power , made it across the line to secure a 4th try bonus point .He added the conversion
26-15 Dundee.

This gave Dundee breathing space , but following another move breakdown in midfield , StewMel forced play into the Dundee 22 , resulting in a score near the posts , converted by Hanning.
This was proving a tad concerning for the Dundee support who had seen their team in total dominance in the first quarter now but now hanging onto a slender lead . This slender lead was then cut to one point when StewMel scored another penalty to make the score 26-25 Dundee.

As the match entered the last 10 minutes , the Dundee team regained control and play was concentrated in to StewMel 22. Twice , following a number 8 pick up , Danny was held up just short of the line.
Dundee continued the pressure and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Duncan nailed.
Dundee comfortably played out the remaining few minutes record a notable victory.
Final Score – Stewarts Melville FP 25 Dundee HSFP 29

Reflections

A deserved victory by the young Dundee team who , in the first half in particular, played some exhilarating rugby.
Admittedly , there was a period in the second half when things were touch and go , but Dundee scored when it mattered and held out comfortably in the last 10 minutes.

Huge satisfaction will be taken by everyone at Mayfield at this victory by a young team , but the Titans heavy defeat to StewMel 2nds on the adjacent pitch is a reminder that there is still a lot of work to do to get the Club to achieve the standards across the board to which we aspire.

The bus made it back to Dundee without any incidents.

Edinburgh Accies (13) v Dundee HSFP (9), Raeburn Place, 9th January 2016

Match Report

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Edinburgh Accies v Dundee HSFP , Raeburn Place , 9th January 2016

Dundee went into this BT National One match, the first of 2016 , sitting in 3rd place in the league after a run that had seen them win 9 out of their last 11 league matches.

They faced an Edinburgh Accies who were in 5th place in the league , but determined to gain revenge for a heavy defeat at Mayfield in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.

It had been raining heavily in Dundee all week  , with flooding experienced on Thursday , but obviously Edinburgh is in a different time and climate zone as the word filtered through that the match was on.

When the Dundee bus arrived at Raeburn Place , a glance through the Edinburgh Accies programme revealed that there were pre match lunches at every home game , with the exception of the matches v Aberdeen Grammar and Dundee High. The logic of this was hard to fathom –  the supporters that have travelled the longest distance are deemed to be the least worthy of being fed ??

Anyway , it was a consequently grumpy Dundee away support that sought out alternative establishments for their pre match refreshments , but thankfully Stockbridge has several options . Baillies in St Stephen Street proved a favourite as did Hectors House although prospective clients should be warned that a steak burger there costs the equivalent of a flat in Lochee.

It should be noted that intrepid Dundee supporter Fenners ventured further afield (Stockbridge not posh enough for him) and treated himself to a cocktail at Tiger Lilys in George Street. The more unkind members of the Dundee support (by coincidence those that know Fenners best) noted that this Tiger Lilys was far more salubrious and respectable than Fenners usual haunts in Edinburgh   , but maybe the Western Bar and Blue Blazer were closed for refurbishment……….

The Dundee team was still not a full strength, with centre partnership Tim McKavanagh and Neil Herron still out injured . They were joined on the injured list by Matt , Ronan and Hamish .  In addition , Gavin Hughan  , Ross Lemon and Mike Brown were unavailable. Also on the injured list were the Robertson sisters , who joined the Dundee support in the “stand”.18 year old Euan Fox, the current captain of the Dundee High school team , continued at 10 .with another 18 year old , Henry Sampson an ex Scotland age group scrum half on the bench. There was a welcome return , as always , for Danny Levison.

It was noted that the French referee , Monsieur Pierre Brousset ,was clocked in the Accies clubhouse prior to the match wearing around 7 layers , clutching a cup of coffee and with an expression on his face that suggested that a grey Raeburn Place in the Scottish rain was not the exotic location he had envisaged when offered an overseas match by the French Rugby Union.

As the rain swirled around Raeburn Place , Accies started the match on top and it could be seen that their players were well up for this match. Accies dominated possession in the early stages and it was no surprise when they scored after 10 minutes following a driving maul. The conversion was missed

5-0 to Edinburgh Accies.

Dundee tried to get going but the unforced errors confirmed that the side had not played for 3 weeks .

Dundee eventually put on some pressure which resulted in a penalty in Accies 22 which Duncan nailed.

5-3 Accies.

Accies then went further ahead when a turnover led to an overlap situation being created on the left for the winger to score in the corner , despite a good covering tackle from Nick. The conversion was again missed.

10 -3 to Edinburgh Accies

Dundee were finding it hard to get any rhythm , with their line-outs not functioning efficiently and spilled passes bringing to a halt any momentum built up.

In addition , Monsiuer Brousset , although looking decidedly cold and  miserable , was  continually penalising the Dundee scrum much to disgust of the also cold and miserable Dundee support in a corner of the stand.

Their collective mood was not improved when a turnover led to another penalty to Accies which was successful.

13-3 to Accies.

Eventually , the Dundee pack clicked into gear and forced play into the Accies 22 –  the Accies defence held out well for several minutes , until Monsieur Brousset penalised them for offside.

Duncan scored the penalty with the last kick of the half.

Half Time –  Edinburgh Accies 13 Dundee 6.

Head Coach Colin Sangster was heard to say “Wakey , Wakey” to the Dundee team during their half time huddle. This had not been a good half , but with us only 13-6 down , the focus was on getting the basics right , cutting out the mistakes , getting possession and stepping up the play.

However , it was Accies that started the second half the stronger  , forcing play into the Dundee half . Another penalty was awarded against a Dundee forward unfortunately right in front of the posts.

This penalty was taken successfully .

16-6 Accies.

The feeling was coming over the Dundee support that this was not looking like their day , but to be fair to the team , the performance improved in the second half. Duncan soon pulled back 3 points with a penalty . 16-9 Accies.

Dundee then stepped up the pace and following a Duncan penalty that hit the post , it seemed that Dundee would score in the corner, only for an Accies player to be blatantly offside and kill the move. Referee Broussett took his hands out of his pockets long enough to produce the deserved yellow card.

The Dundee support stirred  – could Dundee take advantage ?

Dundee then played their best rugby of the match , with breaks from Blair and Levvy taking play into Accies 22 . Another penalty in the 22 was awarded which was taken successfully by Duncan to make the score 13-9.

Dundee were now on top and when Nick put a penalty close to the Accies line , the scene was set for a drive after the line out and a stolen victory.

However , although the ball was secured in the line out , the rolling maul was butchered and Accies held on to win.

Final Score –  Edinburgh Accies 13 Dundee HSFP 9

Reflections

A disappointing start to 2016 , as the Dundee team never really got going.

Too many unforced errors –  caused no doubt by the 3 week lay off –  added to the many balls lost on contact meant that Dundee  came off second best   against an Accies team who were well up for revenge after the 40 point humping earlier in the season at Mayfield.

To the neutral observer , Accies would have deserved to win as they scored 2 tries to nil , defended well and made less mistakes.

To the biased Dundee observers , this was a match that we could have won , although playing significantly below the standards that the team has set itself this season.

However , onwards and upwards as they say as thoughts turned to Saturday 16th January and the visit of league leaders Watsonians to Mayfield.

 

Dundee HSFP (41) v Peebles (12), Mayfield, Saturday 19 December 2015.

Match Report

Dundee went into this BT National One match, the last of 2015 , sitting in 3rd place in the league after their convincing win against Howe of Fife the previous week.
They faced a Peebles side who were in last place in the league , but a review of their results showed that they had lost several games narrowly, including the Borders derby v Jedforest the week before. Indeed in the corresponding match in Peebles in September , there had only been 2 scores in the Dundee winning margin , so the message from the coaches to the Dundee players was “no complacency”.
The rain earlier in the week had cleared and it was a positively balmy scene at Mayfield on Saturday morning .
It was the Christmas Lunch at the Lunch Club and several Christmas jumpers were in evidence as the 75 revellers pitched up at midday and immediately got stuck into the Christmas spirits on offer in the clubhouse.
The Dundee team was still not a full strength, with centre partnership Tim McKavanagh and Neil Herron still out injured . They were joined on the injured list by Gav and Hamish – who took advantage of their enforced absence by joining the revellers at Christmas Lunch . In addition , Blair and Danny were unavailable and Ronan out under concussion protocol. Mike Brown – having recovered from his harvest efforts – came in at full back , Ross Lemon took Ronan’s place on the wing and 18 year old Euan Fox, the current captain of the Dundee High school team , started at 10 , with Duncan moving to 12 – or second five eighth as they call it in New Zealand.
It was noted that the crowd on the terracing was less than usual ,with some Mayfield regulars obviously being dragged off by their other halves to finish the Christmas shopping in the Overgate centre – a quite horrific prospect.
However , there was no holding back the 75 Xmas lunch revellers who was consuming red wine in the glasshouse as if Prohibition was about to be re-introduced. The sight of the teams lining up persuaded the Tourettes Corner table to take up their usual positions , but not before a stirring rendition of “Jingle Bells” was heard across Mayfield.
It was noted that the referee was Craig Clark , a South African currently based in Hamilton. A shiver went down the collective spine of the Dundee support – “oh no , not another South African referee called Craig” , as memories of Craig Joubert’s infamous penalty in the Scotland v Australia RWC quarter final came flooding back.
As it happened , their fears were unjustified as referee Craig had no Joubert-type moments and gave a good performance in the middle.
Dundee started the match on top , but a combination of handling errors and committed defence meant that there was no early breakthrough . Indeed the match remained scoreless until 5 minutes before half time when Gav Hughan expertly executed a number eight pick up to score . Duncan converted
7-0 to Dundee.
In the last play of the half , Dundee went further ahead when the Iceman kicked on and Duncan displayed first class anticipation and speed to touch down . Duncan’s conversion was unsuccessful.
Half Time – Dundee 12 Peebles 0.
The half time message to the Dundee team was to up the intensity and this they did from the off , forcing Peebles onto the back foot.
Passes that had been dropped in to first half started to go to hand and after a Captain Broonie break , Andy was on hand to take his pass and score.
Duncan converted . 19-0 Dundee.
The Dundee machine was now beginning to click into gear and the next score was not long delayed. Leesey , who was having a superb match , shipping a long pass to send Mike Brown over in the corner. His namesake (Harlequins and England full back with no hair) would have been proud of his finishing.
Duncan’s conversion from the corner just missed.
24-0 Dundee and bonus point secured.
As if to say “job done , bonus point won” , the Dundee team seemed to relax and Peebles forced play into the Dundee 22 , where their prop went over near the posts. The try was converted.
24-7 Dundee.
The Dundee team were then subjected to a verbal rocket from their captain under the posts and with the words of Captain Broonie ringing in their ears , they took possession from the kick off and took play into the Peebles half.
The ball was played wide, back in, out wide again and back in again in their trademark high tempo style , with a gap then being created for Gav to sprint clean through between the posts from 35 metres out.
Duncan converted to make the score 31-7 to Dundee.
The Dundee team were now well on top in the forward battle , where Gav Hughan was putting in a superb individual performance.
The forwards then took the ball on themselves to create the next score , when Captain Broonie crashed over. Further success was to come his way later in the evening when he would be the winner of the Players Beer Pong competition.
36-7 to Dundee.
Further high tempo rugby led to the 7th try when slick backs play saw Leesey run in for a try to bring Yuletide cheer to the Mayfield punters.
Great credit must go to the young Peebles team who never gave up and were rewarded with the last score , a try in the corner.
Final Score – Dundee 41 Peebles 12
Reflections
All in all , a good performance by Dundee who took their time to get going , but played some super rugby in the second half. Some very good individual performances , but none better than Duncan Leese and Head Coach Colin Sangster’s choice as Man of the Match , Gavin Hughan. 7 tries and exciting rugby certainly pleased the supporters and satisfied the coaching team.
The clubhouse was packed after the match with these happy supporters mingling with very happy Xmas Lunch Club guests (many of whom had not ventured out onto watch the match , but had continued the festivities after lunch) in a spirit of Peace and Goodwill to all Men.
Indeed they were then joined by the Dundee team , gathering in the clubhouse for the Beer Pong championship. The clubhouse tills were ringing like the shops in the Overgate to bring a smile to AU President Mark Truswell’s face.
The news filtered through that both Watsonians and Marr had won , so it was no change at the top of BT National One , with Dundee ending 2015 handily placed in 3rd place for a promotion surge in the New Year.

Dundee Titans (78) v Cartha Queen’s Park 2nd XV (17), Mayfield 12 December 2015

On a soft pitch, with little wind, a strong-looking Titans team had a rare chance of playing on the main pitch at Mayfield, and made the most of the opportunity, running in a total of 12 tries.

Dundee kicked off and were first on the attack, the scrum showing early signs of superior strength. Insecure handling, however, prevented an early break-through, but, in the event, Dundee opened their account in 7 minutes, after a line-out drive from the 22 reached the line. The ball was held up, but Dundee drove the resultant scrum over the line for a touch-down by Pete Redmayne. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

3 minutes later, Dundee increased their lead after a break from a scrum by Pete Redmayne enabled a feed to Christian Avis, who scampered through under the posts for a try which he converted with a drop-kick.

The second of two successive penalties against Dundee allowed Cartha to aim for goal and their stand-off reduced the deficit with a long-range effort: 12 – 3 after 13 minutes.

Dundee had the better of the play for the next quarter of an hour, with several half-breaks by individuals, but it took that long for the next score. When Cartha were penalised on their 22, Dundee took a quick tap and the ball was worked left for Paul Ritch to dart over for an unconverted try. 29 minutes played and Dundee were17-3 ahead.

Dundee gathered possession from the kick-off, but handling errors prevented further pressure on the visitors’ line. Then, when Dundee pushed Cartha off a scrum ball in the Dundee half, Andrew Clarkson broke and passed to Neil Turnbull who made the 30 metres to the line for a try, converted by Maciu Saulailai. 32 minutes: Dundee 24 – Cartha 3.

Two minutes later and another scrum drive gave Callum Bowie the chance to break and he found Christian in support, with Pete Redmayne on hand to take the scoring pass and dot down under the posts, giving Maciu a straight-forward conversion. 31 -3 after 34 minutes.

With Dundee temporarily resting on their laurels, Cartha won possession after the re-start and worked the ball right for their winger to cross the line, for a try converted by the stand-off. 36 minutes played and the score moved to Dundee 31 Cartha 10.

Two further penalties against Dundee ended with a chance at goal on half-time, but this time the Cartha stand-off missed the target.

Half-time: Dundee Titans 31 Cartha QP 2nd XV 10

Dundee were obviously looking the stronger side, but were not dominating totally. Building phases, with strong support running was the message for the second half.

A good break by Ollie Davidson set Dundee on course after the re-start, but handling errors, followed by a lost line-out ball, let the Titans down. Dundee won back possession, however, and Christian threaded through attempted tackles to score. Maciu added the extra 2 points and Dundee were on their way again. 38-10 after 43 minutes.

Dundee won possession again after the resumption and Pete Redmayne broke from inside his own half to make the line, with Maciu converting. 45 -10 after 45 minutes.
Dundee kept up the offensive and the ball was worked back well down the right, ending in an unconverted try out wide by Stuart Barlow. 49 minutes played: Dundee 50 Cartha 10.

To their credit, Cartha kept at it, and a quickly-taken penalty led to a drive which resulted in their No 5 crashing over for a try, converted by the stand-off. 56 minutes gone: Dundee 50 Cartha 17.

Dundee’s next score followed in another four minutes, Christian breaking from well inside his own half and sprinting clear to score between the posts, for a try which he converted with another drop kick. 60 minutes gone: Dundee 57 Cartha 17

Dundee were moving the ball well down the right and, making the most of indifferent Cartha tackling, a try for Stuart Barlow followed three minutes later, with a good conversion from Maciu. Dundee 64 Cartha 17.

Another quick penalty opportunity four minutes later was seized by Pete Redmayne, who ran about 70 metres to score, with Maciu again converting and Dundee were 71 – 17 ahead. Dundee won possession from the kick-off and a big break by Pete led to the ball being passed to Christian, who raced over between the posts for another try and drop-kick conversion by himself. 78 – 17 with just over ten minutes remaining.

With a careless element entering Dundee’s play, the match then petered out without further scoring.

Full time: Dundee Titans 78 Cartha QP 2nd XV 17

In spite of a fair share of handling errors and being significantly on the wrong side of the penalty count, it was a mostly dominant and hugely pleasing performance from the Titans, featuring a number of strong individual performances, against a game, but ultimately fragile, Cartha side.

Scorers:
Tries: Pete Redmayne (4) Christian Avis (4) Stuart Barlow (2) Paul Ritch, Neil Turnbull
Conversions: Maciu Saulailai (6) Christian Avis (3)