Match Report – Jed-Forest 42-9 Dundee High Rugby – 26 January 2019

Another weekend, and another trip to God’s own country, also known as the Borders, this time to Jedburgh, where President Paul Cranston and his band of helpers (including the legendary Roy Laidlaw) did their best to make us feel even more welcome (off the park!) than Selkirk had last week.

It was another perfect day for rugby at Riverside Park, unlike rain-lashed and windy Biggar, just 40 miles away, where our Titans had earlier ground out a notable 8 – 3 win (clearly a game for the rugby purists!) against all the odds. Jed kicked off on a perfect surface with no wind whatsoever to trouble the players, but got a wake up call in the first minute as a big Dundee scrum shunted them back and won Dundee a penalty, the first of many in our favour that half. For once, Dundee had started well, and they kept that going throughout the first half, apart from one 2 minute spell, which cost us dear. The restored Angus Thomson put in a couple of good tackles, skipper Fraser McKay delivered a couple of good attacking kicks, and after 10 minutes a penalty was banged over by Fraser to put us 3 – 0 ahead.  Unfortunately, despite all the good work being put in in all other departments, particularly our ball retention and clearing out at the break down, much improved from last week, our line out was yet again a weakness, with Jed attacking our throw well, and we could never establish any platform off that all afternoon.

And after 25 minutes, we paid the price. An attacking line out was lost, Jed’s dangerous backs made a searing break, and looked odds on to score until a great covering tackle halted them just short.  Dundee were forced to concede a penalty (the first of the half!) and Jed set up a lineout 5 metres out, which they won comfortably. A series of pick and drives followed, leading to prop Ferreira going over, converted by Jed No. 9 (and man of the match) Gary Munro. 7 – 3 to Jed. Dundee kicked off, but a huge clearing kick by Jed took play back to our 22, and another lost lineout led to a decisive Jed midfield break for Gregor Young to canter over under our posts. Dundee, who had matched Jed in every department except the line out, were suddenly 14 – 3 down. Skipper McKay had been injured in the build up to Jed’s score, and was replaced by Paul Ritch, who slotted in on the wing, and Kieran Scoular moving to full back.

What looked like another Jed score was denied for a “double movement”, and Dundee took advantage of that escape to regroup and work their way back into the game. Harry Meadows was again making good yards with a number of carries, and Dundee looked the likelier team to score, with Kieran Scoular duly slotting over another penalty to make it 14 – 6 to Jed at half time.

Flanker Kevin Franco had been replaced by Andy Hamilton as the 1st half drew to a close, and at half time 2nd row Andy Clarkson made way for Greg Anderson.  Dundee started the second half brightly, and another scrum penalty on Jed’s 22, after a great break by stand off Harry Mercer, who many felt was having his best game so far, was slotted over by Scoular to bring Dundee back to within 5 points of Jed. Keiran D’Aeth took a knock and was replaced by Josh Rutnagur taking over the No. 9 duties, with Stewart Lathangie moving out to the wing.

But as so often happens in a season where things go against you, the roof suddenly fell in on a game Dundee side. Jed’s No. 10, who kicked well all afternoon, pushed through a defence breaking grubber, gathered by their full back Young, who was just denied by a great covering tackle by Paul Ritch. Jed recycled possession, and another kick through took a wicked bounce, Lathangie on the wing infringed to prevent a certain try, and was rewarded for his efforts by a yellow card, and a penalty try to Jed. 21 – 9 after 55 minutes.

Prop Jack Newth, who had put in another good shift, was now replaced by debutant Darren Donaldson, but suddenly, the stuffing seemed to have been knocked out of this Dundee side, and Jed took clinical advantage of this as they seemed to move up a gear in the last 25 minutes.  Winger Cranston scored 2 tries as the Dundee defence, one man short, ran out of defenders in the 58th  and 65th minutes, and a final try by second row Skeldon with 4 minutes left, all 3 converted by  Munro, made the final score 42 – 9 to Jed.

Reflections: Jed were a clinically efficient team, with their dangerous backs making some searing breaks, but the scoreline did not do credit to a solid Dundee performance for the first hour or so, before Jed’s strong finish made sure they ended the day back up on top of National League One.

Dundee Team: 15 Fraser Mackay, 14 Kieran D’Aeth, 13 Marshall McLeod, 12 Ross Aitken, 11 Kieran Scoular, 10 Harry Mercer, 9 Stewart Lathangie; 1 Jack Newth, 2 Dylan Whitcombe, 3 Harry Meadows, 4 Andy Clarkson, 5 Angus Thomson, 6 Kev Franco, 7 Angus Farquhar, 8 Lewis Macnamara

Replacements 16 Darren Donaldson, 17 Greg Anderson, 18 Andrew Hamilton, 19 Josh Rutnagur, 20 Paul Ritch

Match Report – Selkirk 28-8 Dundee High Rugby – 19 January 2019

The threatened big freeze had failed to materialise, meaning Dundee kicked off against Selkirk in cold but perfectly playable conditions at Philiphaugh, under one of the best sets of floodlights in Scottish Rugby. Indeed, the whole of Philiphaugh was looking in great nick, a credit to the hard work that this friendliest of clubs (off the pitch!) put into the game.

Dundee’s only ever present so far this season, Angus Thomson, was missing for the first time, Andy Clarkson taking his place. Andy Dymock started at scrum half as a late replacement for the injured Stewart Lathangie, and Jack Newth made his league debut at loosehead prop, becoming the 50th different player to have played for our 1st XV this season.

Dundee’s first few lineouts in Selkirk’s half went well, with South African hooker Dylan Whitcombe hitting his man, but a couple of penalties as Dundee struggled to clear out break downs let Selkirk ease the pressure. Selkirk’s No. 15, Rory Banks, pushed a penalty attempt wide in the 9th minute, but Dundee failed to take advantage of that let off. A charged down kick on our 22 led to too many Dundee players failing to secure the loose ball. Selkirk’s No. 7 Higgins had no such inhibitions, however, touching it down among a posse of Dundee players as it bounced back over our line. No. 15 Banks slotted the conversion, and it was 7 – 0 to Selkirk after 10 minutes.

After some midfield exchanges, Selkirk increased their lead all too easily from 1st phase ball, when a big gap opened up in Dundee’s midfield as Selkirk’s winger Anderson cut back inside, cantering over under the posts for a converted try to make it 14 – 0 with just 18 minutes gone.

Dundee regrouped, and worked their way up to Selkirk’s 5 metre line. Under pressure, our line out throw went wrong, but Selkirk knocked on, giving us a second bite at the cherry. And we took full advantage, good handling leading to a Fijian style flipped pass from skipper McKay to No. 14 Kieran D’Aeth, who went over in the far corner. Fraser missed the kick, but at 14 – 5  with over 10 minutes of the first half still to go, the Dundee supporters felt their side were coming back into it.

Dundee’s Man of the Match, prop Harry Meadows, was prominent with a number of good carries, and the Dundee scrum started to cause Selkirk all sorts of problems in the set, with prop Jack Newth giving his opposite number what might be called a good working over! As the first half drew to a close, a tremendous break by centre Ross Aitken nearly pierced the Selkirk defence, but he just couldn’t quite link with the supporting Kieran Scoular, and Selkirk held out, albeit at the cost of a penalty which McKay popped over to make it 14 – 8 to Selkirk at half time.  Could Dundee keep up the standard of that last 20 minutes in the second half?

Sadly, the answer is not quite. After starting well, and scorning a couple of kicks at goal for 5 metre lineouts which misfired, a series of 3 penalties in as many minutes took play from Selkirk’s 5 metre line to ours. In a good illustration of the difference between the 2 sides, Selkirk then executed their lineout well, attacked patiently, and after 4 or 5 recycles the Dundee defence ran out of men, letting Selkirk’s No. 13 Clapperton trot over in the corner for a well converted try. Selkirk’s lead was 21 – 8 with 52 minutes gone, after what was their first visit into Dundee territory in the second half. Andy Clarkson, who had tackled well all afternoon, had received a bang in the face for his pains in the build up to the try, and was replaced by Niall Hall.

More changes followed, as Kieran Scoular and Neil Turnbull also both suffered knocks (Turnbull’s coming as he was just stopped short of the Selkirk line), with their respective replacements being Paul Ritch and a happily restored Clarkson. Dundee were working hard, with No. 9 Dymock making some sniping runs from the base of the break down, and young No. 10 Harry Mercer (who drew high words of praise from former Scotland and British Lion stand off John Rutherford after the game) trying all he knew to break through. However, the well organised Selkirk defence stood firm, snuffing out one great Niall Hall break on their 22 as Dundee failed to get men there quickly enough to retain possession. More knocks meant Andy Hamilton came on for flanker Angus Farquhar, who like his back row colleagues Lewis Macnamara and Kevin Franco had never stopped competing all afternoon, and Kieran returned for centre Duncan McIntyre, who had made a couple of good breaks to no avail in the 2nd half.

Dundee were tiring as their efforts to knock down Selkirk’s defensive brick wall came to nothing, and as so often happens, it was Selkirk who had the final say against a weary Dundee defence, Borthwick going over for a try in the very last minute of the game. Bank’s conversion made it 28 – 8 at full time, which the Dundee faithful felt was an unfair reflection on Dundee’s performance over the 80 minutes. However, our lack of penetration, often caused by our failure to secure quick ball from the break down, meant we never quite pressed Selkirk hard enough.

Dundee Team: 15 Fraser Mackay, 14 Kieran D’Aeth, 13 Duncan McIntyre, 12 Ross Aitken, 11 Kieran Scoular, 10 Harry Mercer, 9 Andy Dymock; 1 Jack Newth, 2 Dylan Whitcombe, 3 Harry Meadows, 4 Andy Clarkson, 5 Neil Turnbull, 6 Kev Franco, 7 Angus Farquhar, 8 Lewis Macnamara

Replacements 16 Taylor Smith, 17 Niall Hall, 18 Andrew Hamilton, 20 Paul Ritch

Match Report – Dundee High 33-36 Cartha Queens Park – 12 January 2019

On a beautiful day Dundee hosted Cartha, the team propping up the division. But all knew this would be a difficult encounter; and so it proved.

The afternoon started fair with president Gerry in acerbic form so soon after his 70th birthday bash.

Then ex-players joined the fray with Paul Rouse, Bruce Mclaren , Gus Carnegie and Stuart Wright to the fore. Bruce had travelled all the way from Nepal, sorry Bruce.

So to the game:

The pitch was splendid, the wind soft and someone said if you cant play in these conditions etc!

It was obvious from the off that Cartha were up for it and dominated the first 10 minutes. Then a flashing move from the visitors saw Dundee lucky to remain 0-0 as a knock on at the line denied Cartha an opening score.

Dundee’s scrum looked solid but it was the midfield pressure from Cartha that promised better things.

And so it proved, with the Glasgow team going through 5 phases before scoring to the right of the posts; 7-0 after 15 minutes, Cartha were exerting lots of effort. could they keep it up?

Sort answer: yes.

From the restart Cartha again ran from deep with Dundee’s defence embarrassed but given a reprieve with a Cartha knock-on when a score looked certain.

Dundee infringed at the resulting scrum. Cartha choose to kick for a line out and 5 phases later had their 2nd score; 14-0 after 23 minutes.

Devoted fans were becoming very concerned and after 26 minutes their weird was drawn as Dundee’s first meaningful attack foundered on a bad pass, allowing Cartha to counter from deep; 19-0 after 26 minutes

Then Dundee woke up and scruffy but gritty play led to Duncan Mcintyre scoring Dundee’s first; 19-5 after 37 minutes,

Dundee now realised that effort was required and pushed hard for the remainder of the half.

A great break from deep saw young stand off Harry Meadows clutching a pass he had no right to hold, the move continued and harry saw the ball over the whitewash – converted; 19-12 at half time

Dundee’s high hopes suffered a harsh blow 46 seconds into the second half. From Dundee’s ko Cartha ran the length of the park to score; 26 -12

I am sorry, but there was only one team in it, but credit to Dundee’s young team for sticking to the task. A pressure pen saw Cartha stretch ahead; 31-12

Dundee upped their game with aggression but no accuracy. The subs from both sides indicated that crucial 20 mins to go period.

Then out of nothing Lewis Macnamara made a wonderful break and fed skip Mackay, who scored and converted; 29-19

A resurgent Dundee then started playing muscle rugby to good effect, Neil Turnbull came to the fore, and his feed saw Andrew Thompson score under the posts. skip converted; 29-26 game on.

Then all hell broke loose with Dundee playing sevens’ style, and a great move ended with the captain putting in a great kick which saw Cartha preventing a try, result: penalty try and a yellow to the visitors.

33-29 Dundee with 13 minutes left, game management now needed.

And then with Cartha tiring, an aberration occurred, and it went against Dundee. A blatant block was missed by the officials, and Cartha went through the resultant hole to score; 36-33
and that’s how it ended.

Cartha played for 83 minutes Dundee for 20 but could and should have won it.

Adios

Match Report – Dundee High 20-21 Gala – 8 December 2018

It was a full Lunch Club as 84 early Christmas revellers descended on Mayfield on a raw December morning, including 3 tables of guests at well known Dundee High Rugby supporter Colin Dargie’s birthday celebrations.

President Tosh was in fine form, insulting, in turn, the sponsors, the honourable guests and the Gala committee in such a kind and caring way that they laughed along with everyone else.

As the chat turned to the match, it was felt that the young – and again injury hit – Dundee side would have to be at their best against a Gala side sitting in mid-table. Vice President McDonald’s programme notes provided a sobering reminder of how rugby used to be down Gala way when he stated that in March 1971 there were 6 Gala men in the Scotland team that beat England in 2 successive Saturdays at Murrayfield. However, as Sandy pointed out . Dundee High School FP were also represented in the form of our legendary Chris Rea.

Changed days indeed.

A glance at the Dundee team saw a new name at 10 –  Harry Mercer , a 17 year old Madras Academy schoolboy. In recent years , Dundee High have fielded a number of 17 year olds –  Euan Fox , Chris Jollands , Sean Gauld , Angus Fraser –  so we are certainly doing our bit for Scottish youth rugby.

To accommodate Harry , Ross Aitken moves to 12 where his centre partner is Marshall McLeod. Marshall is the grandson of club legend Gordon Bruno Burnett  . The fact that Marshall has graduated from Oxford University , led to the question being asked at the Clubhouse Bar –  “name another Oxford  –  or indeed Cambridge graduate who has played for Dundee High Rugby “?”. Answers on a postcard , please………

And so to the match :

Dundee were attacking the Dalgleish Road end and were immediately under pressure – indeed camped in their 22 , as Gala went through several phases. A pattern emerged whereby the Dundee defence held firm , eventually won the ball , then kicked it back to Gala. Time after time Gala recycled the ball , but Dundee’s defence was looking up for the challenge and was not breached.

Eventually , Gala were awarded a penalty which seemed eminently kickable.

However Gala 10  Keddie –  in possibly his only mistake of the match –  pulled the kick wide.

However , rather than relieving the pressure , the Dundee drop out went straight to Gala who ran it back and the same pattern emerging. Once again the Dundee defence held firm , with the back row –  Gav , Gus Farquhar and Baz to the fore.

Unfortunately , Baz was deemed by the referee to be too much to the fore as one of his tackles was deemed to be a “no arms tackle” and a yellow was brandished.

This would not be the last of the menage a trois between the referee , his cards and  Baz…….

Although a man down , the Dundee defence held firm and eventually a Ross Aitken kick freed the pressure.

This allowed Dundee to spent time in the Gala half , but came up against determined Gala defence until Gav Hughan secured a turnover and a penalty.

Fraser nailed the kick.

Dundee High 3 Gala 0,

This seemed to give the young Dundee side confidence and they went further ahead , when following an Aitken  break  , the ball was moved wide and Harry combined with Marshall to send Gus Farquhar  over in the corner.

Fraser converted

Dundee High 10 Gala 0.

This was an impressive performance by Dundee given that they were down on 14 men and Baz then returned to take them back to full strength.

Things got better when following a Stuart Lathangie break , Gus was in support to take the ball forward  with Fraser set to take the ball on , Gala were penalised for blocking Fraser .

This seemed to upset the Gala bench and shouts of complaint were heard in an unfamiliar language –  not English – but thought to be a particular dialect of “Borders speak”.

Regardless , Fraser was not deterred and kicked the penalty.

Dundee High 13 Gala 0.

The pattern of the opening phase of the first half was then restored with Gala maintaining possession around the Dundee 22 , going through several phases , bur the Dundee defence in good form.

The Dundee defence stood firm to half time.

Half Time –  Dundee High 13 Gala 0.

At half time, Dundee brought on Franco for Stewart at hooker and Neil Turnbull replaced Euan Grewar in the second row.

The second half commenced in the same vein as the first half, with Gala basically having the ball and keeping the ball.

The feeling amongst the Dundee support was that this could be a long half if Gala continued to dominate possession and Dundee conceded early, particularly if Dundee conceded early in the half.

Unfortunately, 10 minutes into the second half Gala did score and it was unnecessary from a Dundee perspective. A squint thrown in near their line gave Gala a scrum, their number eight Euan Dodds picked up, and fed 9 Fairburn who waltzed unchallenged over the line.

Keddie converted with a super kick.

Dundee High 13 Gala 7.

Dundee then tried to force the play into Gala’s half , with young 10 Mercer showing admirable confidence in throwing the ball around.

Then , following a passage of play in midfield , Stuart Barlow did what seemed like a “tip tackle” on the Gala 9 . This did not go down well with the Gala players and there was a bit of handbags between the forwards. After the referee had resumed order , he went to have a consultation with the assistant referee. This episode was unlikely to end well for Baz who had already been yellow-carded in the first half , with the only question being which colour of card would be produced this time.

This question was answered when the referee flashed a red card and it was jotters for Baz.

Was it a red card offence ?

Your reporter took the views of 3 Mayfield legends on the touchline –  Harvey Wright , Sandy Hutch and Neil Paddy Paterson  and each confirmed that it was in their view a red , so it was difficult to complain about the ref’s decision.

This would undoubtedly make Dundee’s task harder  and Gala took advantage quickly .

After a period of possession near the Dundee line , one of their forwards burrowed over for a try.

Fly half Keddie’s conversion hit the post and in keeping with Dundee’s luck this season , dropped over the bar to get the extra 2 points.

Dundee High 13 Gala 14

With 10 minutes left , Gala went further ahead when centre Edmunds broke from midfield and went over.

Keddie again converted.

Dundee High 13 Gala 21

Gala were continuing to enjoy the majority of the possession at this stage and were looking to add to their lead , when a loose pass was intercepted by Dundee winger Paul Ritch who raced away to score , with Fraser converting well.

Dundee High 20 Gala 21.

This seemed to set things up for a grandstand finish , as the consensus of opinion amongst the Dundee supporters on the touchline was that there were around 5 minutes left,

However , after 2 minutes play in midfield , the referee’s whistle went for no side, to put the tin lid on a disappointing afternoon for Dundee.

FINAL SCORE – DUNDEE HIGH 20 GALA 21

Reflections

It is always desperately disappointing to lose a match by  one point , but this was particularly agonising given that a conversion hitting the post and dropping over as opposed to short was the difference between Dundee winning and losing the match.

Gala could point to the fact that they had by far the greater share of possession , but the Dundee defence was strong and committed throughout.

The efforts and commitment of the Dundee players could not be faulted and more of the same will be required as the team head for Hamilton and a crucial match next Saturday.

Match Report – GHA 33-3 Dundee High – 1 December 2018

And so to Braidholm, home to that interesting rugby ménage a trois between Glasgow Southern, Hutchesons and Aloysians, known as GHA, whose happy cohabitation is still going strong to this day!   (Speaking of which, some of us old enough to remember the good old days when Britain and Europe fell for each other in the 70s, those innocent years before their bitter Brexit divorce battle of today, will also recall that Glasgow Southern were at that time known as Clarkston!)

The rain had been battering Braidholm for most of the week, with their pitch under pools of water on Friday, but the improved drainage (which has been an unexpected bonus from their construction of a 3G training pitch and lights on their 2nds pitch next door) meant the surface was perfectly playable and held up remarkably well for the whole 80 minutes.

Making his debut for Dundee at No. 10 was Harry Mercer, a 17 year old from Madras, who for one so young (and who due to injury had played so little rugby recently) had a very assured game, not looking out of place at all at a level considerably higher than any he had experienced before. Only 6 out of the 15 Dundee players lining up for the kick off had started in the corresponding fixture at Mayfield some 3 months ago, reflecting yet again the high rate of attrition that so plagues club rugby today.

The GHA pack looked a formidable unit as the game got under way, and they soon established themselves in Dundee’s half, where they were to spend much of the rest of the afternoon. But perhaps to GHA’s surprise, the Dundee scrum fronted up well all game, and the hard work put in at training during the past week meant Dundee were doing well in the set, both scrum and lineout. The backs defence however was taking a little time to come together, and two or three early line breaks put Dundee under pressure that GHA were unable to capitalise on.

With 15 minutes gone, Josh took a quick penalty and Dundee broke out into GHA’s half for the first time. Good rugby took the ball to within a yard of GHA’s line, where frustratingly a knock on ended the opportunity of a classic breakaway score. Dundee held GHA in and around their own 22 for quite some time after that, but without ever really threatening their try line again.

Gradually, GHA regrouped and ground their way back up the field, and went over the Dundee line in the 25th minute, only for the ‘score’ to be ruled out for a forward pass by referee Young, having a first-rate game in his first start at this level (where has he been?). Stand-off Mercer then made a good covering tackle as GHA pressed, and some poor kicking and wrong options meant that their first score was proving elusive.

They build them big in Texas. In fact, very, very big. And eventually the human oil rig known as big Bill Kaspar, visiting the UK for some months and playing in GHA’s second row, proved too much in the 29th minute, bulldozing through the Dundee defence for a touch down duly converted by scrum half George Baird. 7 – 0 to the home side.

Undaunted, Dundee took it to GHA following the restart, and after a scrum 15 metres out, Danny McGinn went in at the corner, only to be ruled out for a foot in touch. A couple of minutes later, however, a big hit on him meant he had to leave the field injured, Paul Ritch coming on in his place. As the first half drew to a close, Fraser McKay slotted a penalty (one of only 4 conceded by GHA in the entire match!) to make it 7 – 3 at half time.

Dundee had done well to keep GHA to one score so far – but would their power and perhaps some tactical rethinking prove too strong in the next 40 minutes?

‘Yes’ is unfortunately the answer to that rhetorical question, as straight after the break, GHA drove forward from a line out maul for the first time, disrupting the Dundee defence and after some good recycling letting No 8 Ross Angus drive over for another converted try. 14 – 3 to GHA.

Dundee were coming under increase pressure, trying to force plays from scraps of possession, with one hospital pass in particular putting scrum half Josh Rutnagur through the GHA mincing machine from which he was lucky to emerge still in one piece, looking as if he had just had 12 quick rounds with Tyson Fury.

GHA took 2 quick penalties on the Dundee 22, but a great Angus Farquhar steal, backed up by No. 8 Stuart Barlow, forced them back. However, possession was kicked away, and Big Bill revved it up once again to crash over for his 2nd try, stretching GHA to a 19 -3 lead after 47 minutes.

It was becoming one way traffic – when Dundee did have possession, all they could do was kick it back to GHA to run at them once more. Luckily, GHA at times once more started finding ways not to score, helped by some courageous and well organised Dundee defence which twice denied them touch downs when they were over the line.

But Dundee could only hold out for so long, and in the 63rd minute GHA centre Max MacFarlane went over for GHA’s 4th try, the conversion making it 26 -3. A flurry of substitutions for a tiring Dundee side around this time had seen Neil Turnbull come on for Angus Thomson, Lewis McLean for the combative Neil Dymock, Rory McGinn for Kieran D’Aeth, who had looked dangerous with limited possession, and Kevin Franco on for the ever willing Andrew Hamilton. Speaking of which, an injury to hooker Ceillem Stewart a few moments later meant an unexpected recall for Hammy, coffee cup still in hand, as Kevin Franco moved up to hooker and Hammy resumed his back row berth.

These changes gave Dundee some new energy. Paul Ritch had a good run into GHA’s 22, and shortly afterwards, Dundee’s best move of the game saw Fraser McKay just unable to find Stuart Barlow on GHA’s 22, with a clear run to the line if the pass had gone to hand. That was Dundee’s final flourish, however, and at the death another converted GHA try made it 33 -3 as the full time whistle went, a scoreline that did not really do justice to Dundee’s efforts and contribution to a very entertaining game of rugby.

FINAL SCORE –  GHA 33 DUNDEE 3.

Match Report – Dundee High 0-35 Marr – 17 November 2018

With another changed team containing yet more débutantes, Dundee were more likely to rely on hope than expectation as Marr kicked off. The ball did not travel 10 metres, resulting in a scrum at the centre and that first scrum signalled a difficulty for Dundee throughout the match as they were pushed back by the visitors’ pack. Dundee were penalised, giving Marr possession and leading to a kick through, chased by winger Dalgleish for the touch down. Colin Sturgeon added the conversion and Marr were ahead 0-7 after only 5 minutes.

Dundee responded with a good spell of possession and a penalty chance was offered.:Fraser’s kick flew just wide of the left-hand post however. Dundee still managed to retain position in the Marr half but paid for insecure handling and penalty offences, allowing Marr to reach a position 10 metres from the Dundee line. When Dundee were penalised five metres from the line, Marr opted for the scrum. Dundee were penalised again and this time Marr kicked for touch. Scrambled, close-quarter possession enabled Colin Sturgeon to cross for a touch-down and he converted the try to take Marr to 0-14 with 24 minutes played.

Dundee hit back well and were rewarded with another penalty chance, but this time, Fraser’s kick sailed just outside the right-hand post. Dundee continued to try hard, but without much penetration, and, when possession was lost, A good inter-passing, featuring right-winger, Scott Bickerstaff, ended with him scoring a try, again converted by Colin Sturgeon, to take Marr into the interval 0-21 ahead.

Half-time: Dundee HSFP 0 Marr 21

Dundee were looking good, up to a point, but lacked real penetration. Had the score been restricted to two tries, there was a feeling that, with slight wind advantage in the second half, Dundee might take something out of the game, but the third Marr try rather put paid to that hope.

The second half remained fairly even and mostly in mid-field, until big break by Scott Bickerstaff took play into the Dundee 22. Dundee were penalised, but Marr lost the ball over the Dundee line. It only postponed the score for a few moments however, because Marr pushed Dundee off their 5-metre put in, for a try credited to No 8 Grant. Again, Sturgeon converted and the bonus point was Marr’s at 0-28.

For long periods, Dundee were giving as good as they got, but were being thwarted by indifferent handling. It took a Marr break to end the stalemate and their full-back managed to squeeze in at the left-hand corner for a try again converted by the reliable Sturgeon.

Further Dundee pressure ensued but another lost ball ended their challenge in the contest.

Full time: Dundee HSFP 0 Marr 35

A closer second half resulting from an improved Dundee performance, all the more creditable for the number of changes in the team. With greater accuracy, a closer result may well have been possible.

Dundee Player of the Match: Josh Rutnagur

Match Report – Dundee High 13-33 Aberdeen Grammar 10 November 2018

With Scotland’s game against Fiji causing a twelve noon kick–off, the fixture could not be accommodated at Mayfield so Forfar Road played host on a beautiful Autumn day.

Playing for precious match points and the Dallas Allardice Trophy, Dundee chose to play up the slope and into a stiff breeze.

Dundee’s prep for this one had been challenging to say the least, with four injury call offs on Thursday and a further two players off to Murrayfield. So Morgan’s hooker Taylor Smith made his first appearance for the Crown and didn’t look out of place.

Aberdeen lined up with three ex High players in the squad, Greg Ryan and Jollands in their back row and Emu aka Robin Cessford on the bench.

As expected then Aberdeen had the bulk of possession and went 7-0 up early doors. Dundee’s effort and endeavor was commendable and things got a wee bit easier when Aberdeen’s hooker got 10 in the sin bin.

However, both teams’ accuracy was not the best, with the home side taking the knock on contest with at least 4 in the opening half.

It was now Dundee’s fate to go down to 14 men with skipper McKay off for ten after a deliberate knock on. Then came Aberdeen’s second through a penalty try conceded at a ten metre scrum. The half came to a close with winger Ruaridh Hood off with an ankle knock, and the talk in the home support crowd was that they had done well to keep it to 2 scores against the elements.

Dundee seemed to get the message that kicking for position was the best option and it was the visitors who were trying to play from their try line. Then some messy stuff from both teams ended with a converted try for Dundee through Ross Aitken.

14-7 and looking better with the pace of Dundee’s play going up a notch and at last some phases of play in the opposition’s red zone. Dundee goaled two penalties in quick succession and it looked game on at 14-13. Aberdeen seemed to be struggling to get out of their twenty two and the feeling was if Dundee kept up the simple style of kicking deep then playing rugby all would be well.

Dundee though reverted to running the ball from anywhere and everywhere with poor ball retention. When Aberdeen were handed the ball in midfield they ran directly and with purpose and this with the home team’s tackling taking a back seat meant 3 scores, all run in from 30+ metres. So from 14-13 down High found themselves bewildered and 33-13 down as fulltime approached.

Aberdeen got 5 points and a trophy and scooted back up to the Granite City tout de suite.

For Dundee to have taken anything from this game they needed to stick to the pragmatic position/possession style, keep ball and up the intensity in the tackle.

Let’s hope Coach Sangster has a less fraught week coming up and he gets some players back healthy and on it.

Match Report – Dundee High 36-29 Kirkcaldy – 27 October 2018

The cautious optimism around Mayfield which followed Dundee’s exciting victory over Selkirk in early October had evaporated following a heavy home defeat by Jedforest and a loss to Musselburgh in a match that in the words of Head Coach Colin Sangster the Dundee team “did not turn up”.

As a result, Dundee entered the match against local rivals Kirkcaldy sitting second bottom of the league with 10 points. This was 4 points behind Kirkcaldy, who came to Mayfield confident following last week’s victory over Cartha QP.

As Steve Scott mentioned in his rugby column in Friday’s Courier, this was the first competitive match between the clubs for 4 years and Midlands Rugby bragging rights were at stake, along with the vital league points.

A look at the Dundee team revealed that the welcome return of Gus Farquhar at flank, having missed the match against Jed. However, vice- captain Lewis McNamara was still out injured, as was captain Fraser McKay and Stuart Lathangie.

They faced a Kirkcaldy side with ex Dundee forward Conor Wood in their ranks. Another ex- Dundee player Dayle Turner was unavailable, but the Fife team boasted an impressive centre combination of ex Leeds Carnegie professional Alex Black and the exceptionally talented local boy Josh Laird. Another well- known local lad Geordie Munro failed to make the final 23.

It was mentioned before the match that both teams regular strip was blue –   would this cause a clash, similar to the farcical clash in the recent Heineken Champions Cup clash between Cardiff and Glasgow?

No such cock up here, with Dundee entering the fray in white, with Kirkcaldy in royal blue-  think of Rangers blue.

After a poor first half last week against Musselburgh, the Dundee team were determined to get into top gear as soon as possible in this match.

Unfortunately, their start was disastrous. Kirkcaldy kicked off, the Dundee pack did not gather, the ball bounced out for a line out. Kirkcaldy won the line out from a Dundee throw and  their pack rumbled forward and drove over the line.

5-0 Kirkcaldy.

This was just the start that Dundee did not want and things got worse when prop Harry Meadows went off injured following the second scrum.

Could things get any worse for Dundee?

Well, yeah………………

With only 10 minutes on the clock, Kirkcaldy scored again –  a flat pass from scrum half Anderson was taken at pace by experienced hooker Greg Wallace who burst through the Dundee midfield to run 35 yards to score between the posts. Finlay Smith converted.

12-0 Kirkcaldy

In a moment of wry humour (required in these trying times), the comment was made on the Mayfield touchlines that the other Greg Wallace (the bald smug middle-aged, four times married geezer from BBC’s Master Chef)  could have run 35 yards to score , such was the ineffectiveness of the Dundee midfield defence.

Play continued in the Dundee half with the big Kirkcaldy pack totally dominating the Dundee scrum. This possession led to another penalty offence by Dundee which was nailed by Finlay Smith.

15-0 Kirkcaldy

It really was one way traffic at this stage. Kirkcaldy were in complete control , Dundee were struggling to get hold of the ball.

The Kirkcaldy support were loving it, as their team –  driven on by the dulcit Fife tones of their coach Kenny Fraser as he prowled the touchline –  displayed complete domination.

Conversely, the mood amongst the Dundee support was of extreme concern.

This concern grew to thrombosis levels , when following a forward drive , Kirkcaldy scored again . The score was converted to put Kirkcaldy 22-0 ahead.

Legendary Dundee bear and prop JJ Van Der Esch , on the touchline as a supporter, was heard to say that he recalled defeats by Kirkcaldy early in his 35 year career with Dundee , but never one as easy as this.

Could the day get worse for Dundee –  again, yes when young hooker Cammie Mathieson was forced off with a head injury to be replaced by Ceillim Stewart.

For the first time in the match, Dundee then enjoyed some possession with breaks by Baz and Neil at least taking the play into the Kirkcaldy half and the up to the 22. Possession was retained ,Ross moved it wide and Gus Farquhar scored in the corner. The conversion was missed.

22—5 Kirkcaldy.

Following the Kirkcaldy kick off, the Dundee pack secured possession and further strong running by Neil took the play back to the Kirkcaldy 22.

The Kirkcaldy hooker and talisman Greg Wallace then went off with an injury and was replaced

This gave Dundee encouragement and they battered away at the Kirkcaldy line but spirited defence kept them out. A penalty chance on half time was foregone in favour of a further drive to the line, a decision that looked questionable when the ball was knocked on and referee Clark blew for half time.

Half Time –  Dundee High Rugby 5 Kirkcaldy 22

Reflections

After a 30 minute horror show , Dundee improved in the closing 10 minutes and could have scored more than their solitary try . Head Coach Sangster would surely tell the players to start the second half the way that they finished the first half.

The second half started with Dundee attacking the glasshouse.

Dundee secured possession immediately and with a tactic that was to be repeated throughout the second half , the ball was fed to Neil and Angus Thomson to batter their way forward.

This took Dundee into the Kirkcaldy 22 and when the ball was moved wide, full back Kieran Scoular took a gap to get across the Kirkcaldy line. Kieran missed the conversion.

Dundee 12 Kirkcaldy 22

Dundee now had their tails up ,maintaining possession through several phases with the Kirkcaldy defence finding it hard to cope with the rampaging buffalo that is Neil Turnbull in full flow. Neil has returned to University after a summer break  a tad less svelte than in previous seasons , hitting the scales at 130kg. To put this in perspective , Jonny Gray is 119kg and Alun Wyn Jones is 118kg and following a spot of googling by your reporter , the only 6 Nations player around 130kg is Billy Vunipola………………..

Anyway , who cares , cos after another battering run by Neil and controlled half back play by Josh and Ross , space was created for Niall Hall to score between the posts. The conversion was missed.

Dundee 17 Kirkcaldy 22.

 

 

Confidence , so obviously lacking in the first half , was now oozing through the Dundee team and play continued to be concentrated in the Kirkcaldy 22 . The Mayfield support were loving this turnaround and the decibels from the stands were raised , as the  crowd got behind Dundee.

Dundee were in complete domination at this stage  – in itself a remarkable turnaround from the first half –  and play was now completely in the Kirkcaldy 22 , with the visitors conceding a number of penalties as the battled to keep Dundee at bay.

It was following another penalty that Josh took a quick one and scrambled over.  The conversion was missed

Dundee 22 Kirkcaldy 22 and Game On…………………………

This secured at least a bonus point , but the focus was now to complete  a remarkable turnaround and secure a victory.

However, for the first time in the half , Kirkcaldy secured possession for  number of phases,

Dundee seemed to have nullified the danger , but missed tackles out wide enable a ruck to be set up from which ex Crown Conor Wood dived over for a try. This was converted.

Dundee 22 Kirkcaldy 29.

This was one exciting game and the question was  –  did the Dundee team have the character to  come back from this blow , with less than 10 minutes to go.

The answer was –  you bet they did –  and adopting the simple advice given to them at half time by the coaches   – “keep the ball” –  play was soon back in the Kirkcaldy 22.  Brave defence kept Dundee out until the pressure paid when scrum half Josh (or to give him his proper title , Dr Rutnagur) burrowed over under the posts. Kieran converted.

Dundee 29 Kirkcaldy 29.

At the risk of being accused of being impartial , your reporter’s thoughts at this stage  – as the match entered the last 2 minutes – was that a draw would be a fair result.

However , this Dundee team may not be the biggest or the most experienced to represent the Crown over the years , but they were endearing themselves to the Mayfield crowd with their courage and character as they went for victory .

In the final minute , Ross broke and created a well timed pass sent centre Duncan McIntyre sprinting for the posts and Mayfield’s biggest roar of the season  greeted him putting the ball down for a try. Kieran converted from a fair bit out.

Dundee 36 Kirkcaldy 29 was the remarkable scoreline.

Dundee had a minute to hold on  –  which they did –  and referee Clark’s final whistle was the cue for celebration  on the pitch and high-fives in the stands.

 

FINAL SCORE – DUNDEE 36 KIRKCALDY 29

Reflections

Firstly , this was  a hugely exciting game of rugby and well done to both teams for providing a match which was a credit to Midlands Rugby. This was simply a great game of amateur rugby to watch.

Secondly , and while your reporter normally avoids clichés like the plague , this was the proverbial game of two halves. What a contrast in Dundee’s performance !!!

In the first half , to quote a well known Mayfield worthie  , Dundee were “bloody awful” ,but in the second half they displayed courage  , commitment , team spirit and no little skill.

Neil Turnbull deservedly got man of the match , but huge credit must go to the half back combination of Ross and Josh who were both magnificent in the second half.

President Tosh’s remarks as he skipped across the pitch to congratulate the team and the coaches were “Never in doubt”………..Really , Gerry ??

Coach Sangster was asked in the bar after the match what words of wisdom he had imparted to his troops at half time to instigate this remarkable turnaround. He said 3 words were sufficient –  “Keep the Ball”……………………

As a footnote , note must be made of the exemplary conduct of the Kirkcaldy coaches, team , committee and supporters after the match. Regardless of the shattering blow of losing the match late on , although naturally very disappointed , they were dignified and were a credit to themselves , their Club and Midlands Rugby.

As was pointed out by another Mayfield worthy , it is unlikely that some other teams in our league , particularly those from further South in the country , would have been quite so magnanimous in defeat…………

Finally  though , as the post match pints were hoovered back in satisfaction in the Mayfield Bar after the match , the results  from the other matches in the league provided sobering viewing – Gala beat Marr , Selkirk beat GHA , Musselburgh beat Jed and Aberdeen Grammar beat Hamilton.

As evidenced , this is a tough league where every team can beat each other.

However , it will now be with confidence that Dundee head off to Kelso next week.

Match Report – Dundee High 7-36 Jed-Forest – 13 October 2018

High welcomed second placed Jed-Forest to a very dreich Mayfield with 3 late call offs in the home pack. So, it was with some trepidation that this scribe took his place in the plush press box.

The pitch was in surprisingly good nick but the wet caused the playing area to narrow as long passes were not advisable. However, throughout the game both sides mixed their play and didn’t just rely on pick and goes.

Jed looked a big strong outfit with the Young twins adding the class that good sides need. They also had the legend that is Kevin Barrie [ex Club International coach] as forwards’ coach and his dulcet tones proved to be the soundtrack to the game.

So with Coco Whittaker and Dougie Gray strutting their stuff on the twos pitch the big game got underway.

The match started at a good lick but, as predicted, handling was difficult, and little cohesion was in evidence. Jed were showing better skill-sets even at this early stage and a prod-through almost resulted in the first try. The resulting scrum saw the visitors retain possession and score on the 4th phase: at 8 minutes 5-0.

The home scrum, with hooker Cammie Mathieson propping at loose was now coming under the pump and Jed capitalised on their lion’s share of possession to sweep down the pitch to seal another try; this time a one metre sprint over the line by their tight-head: at 16 minutes 12-0.

With set piece proving disappointing for the home side, Jed looked to up the ante. Another try for the Borderers, this time by full back Young [like his twin a Scotland 7’s cap]: at 24 minutes 17-0.

High continued to impress with their collective effort but didn’t look like unlocking the visitors’ D.

Then 2 great plays from Dundee 6, Ross Milne, saw High at last on the front foot and on Jed’s try line, despite not scoring, the next 5 minutes saw High’s best spell with the ball sticking, and total commitment from all 15 players.

Kevin Franco had to leave the field to be replaced by Murray Devine into hook, just after this a suspiciously forward looking ball led to another away score, converted this time: 24-0.

With half-time approaching Cammie at loose-head took a bad one in the scrum and his match was coming to an end. Jed finished the half with their tails up and another score: HT 29-0.

The second half saw Ewan Grewar, yes Pob, roll back the years and bring his mature bulk to the fray, but the rejigged scrum couldn’t prevent a push over, converted to make it 36 to nil.

I thought that a shellacking was a definite, but that was Jed’s last score…

Dundee’s injury problems led to uncontested scrums and centre Andy Hamilton moving into the back row with skipper Fraser Mckay coming on and into midfield.

Dundee’s fly half, Ross Aitken, then made a great break, but handling errors saw the move fizzle out. Then that man Young again broke from deep in his own half to threaten the Dundee line.

With an arrowhead support, a try seemed on, but he eschewed his back up and went alone, only for Keiran Scoular to put in a bobby-dazzler of a cover tackle to save the day.

The next 10 minutes saw play contained in mid pitch with both sides not really looking like scoring, until skipper McKay snuck an interception to run under the posts and convert to make it 36-7 after 36 second half minutes.

Play went on for the remainder of the half with nothing to write home about. Dundee had drawn the second half and that is credit to this young, injury-ravaged side’s “never say die” attitude.

Special mention again to Baz Barlow; what a shift the number 8 put in. Dundee can take some positives from their defensive efforts but our set piece continues to cause concern. Jed were good, but not great and the team’s second half lethargy will be addressed by Mr Barrie I don’t doubt.

Match Report – Dundee High 34-14 Selkirk – 6 October 2018

Glorious autumn sunshine, albeit with a chill in the air, greeted the lunch-clubbers as they arrived for their lunch and entertainment before the match against Selkirk. Guests included a table hosted by match sponsor MTC whose supremo Dave Rankine doubles up as medical support co-ordinator each Saturday at Mayfield – thanks for all that you do for the Club Dave – a table of well-known local worthies from Dundee Collegians Rugby Club and rugby royalty was represented in the form of a table of ex Dundee High Rugby club presidents.

Indeed, your reporter had the privilege of being at the ex-Presidents table, sitting next to legends such as Bruno, Roger Leslie, Harvie Findlay, Bob Gray, Ken Andrew and Bill Dryden. Tales of matches won and lost were recounted and of particular interest was Bill Dryden’s comment that he first played for the club in 1947. A mere 71 years ago.

However, it is worth noting that the next table to this table of experience (to put it politely) was a table of current members of both the Dundee University and Abertay University rugby teams. Each table – in fact all the Lunch Club guests – were entertained by President Tosh, as always in top form with his own brand of insulting humour – an illustration that Dundee High Rugby’s legendary Lunch Club does indeed cater for all ages.

A look at the Dundee team revealed only one change from the side that had secured a well deserved and hugely welcome win at Cartha Queens Park the previous week – playmaker and 10 Ross Aitken returned , with young Rory McGinn rewarded for a great display at 10 in Ross’s absence by moving to the wing with Paul Ritch dropping to the bench. Older brother Danny stayed at 9 in the continued absence of the injured Stuart Lathangie , while Lewis McNamara’s injury also keeping him out , with Stuart Barlow continuing at 8. Captain Fraser McKay was still injured, but hopeful of returning next week.

They faced a Selkirk team, sitting 4th in the table, having made an impressive start to the season with 4 wins and only one defeat in their opening 5 matches. As this contrasted sorely with Dundee’s 1 win and 4 defeats, the feeling amongst the Mayfield faithful was that this would be one stiff test for Colin Sangster’s young side.

It was 2 games for the price of one for the crowd as the bottom pitch at Mayfield saw Selkirk’s 2nd XV kick off against the orange-clad Dundee Titans , their ranks including club legends (although of a younger vintage that the Ex-Presidents table who by this time were on their 2nd bottle of port) , such as Neil Dymock , Andy Dymock , Dougie Gray and Davie Mason.

Dundee kicked off, playing towards the Glasshouse and almost immediately play was concentrated in the Selkirk half. The Selkirk defence held firm initially,but the pressure eventually told when Dundee took the lead after just 5 minutes.

A kick from Kieran Scoular found touch near the Selkirk line. Although Selkirk won the line out and cleared, Dundee ran the ball back and an inter-passing move, ended with centre Duncan McIntyre gone over near the posts. Keiran converted.

7-0 Dundee.

This was just the start that Dundee wanted and they continued to take the game to Selkirk. All the play was in the Selkirk half and Dundee spent a full 5 minutes camped on the Selkirk line, with only desperate defence and finally a good clearing kick from fly half Banks saving Selkirk.

However, slowly but surely, Selkirk forced their way back into the match and rather ominously for Dundee , Selkirk scored following their first real bit of pressure when flanker McColm found space to score near the Dundee posts. The try was converted.

Dundee 7 Selkirk 7

15 minutes gone and 1 converted try each.

The next 10 minutes were very even and the neutral supporter would have had difficulty ascertaining which team was 4th top and which was 3rd bottom of the division.

It was Dundee however who got the next score – Selkirk were on the attack when Kieran Scoular gathered the ball near the Dundee line and went on this mazy run which saw him beat man after man and took him to just outside the Selkirk 22. Danny McGinn was on his shoulder and a gathered pass would surely have seen Danny in for a try, but the ball went loose. Dundee however kept possession and following quick passing, Duncan McIntyre found space to go over for his second try of the match. The conversion was missed.

Dundee 12 Selkirk 7

There then followed a period where Dundee looked comfortable in possession, without looking like adding to their lead but things changed when Selkirk won a penalty around half way and a raking kick gave them a line out near to the Dundee line.

The line out was won and there was a feeling of inevitability when the big Selkirk pack rumbled towards the Dundee line and sure enough they rumbled over. The try was converted.

Dundee 12 Selkirk 14

The final minutes of the half were played out with the play deep in Dundee territory, but committed defence kept the borderers out.

Half Time – Dundee High Rugby 12 Selkirk 14

The chat amongst the Mayfield faithful at half time was that while Dundee were performing better than in their last 2 home matches, Selkirk were giving the impression that they could move up had a couple of gears.

Coach Sangster made a couple of changes at half time – Josh replaced Danny at 9 and Cammie Mathieson replaced fellow teenager Ceillem Stewart at hooker.

Following the restart, Dundee were on the offensive and play was concentrated in the Selkirk half.

Prop Scott Doig went on a rampaging break but desperate defence by Selkirk kept him out.

Dundee’s pressure was then rewarded when Kieran kicked a penalty in front of the posts.

Dundee 15 Selkirk 14.

Dundee kept up the pressure and play continued to be concentrated around the Selkirk 22 and Dundee went further ahead when following several forward drives with Cammie Mathieson and Neil Turnbull to the fore, Josh and Ross went blind and created space for Gus Farquhar who scored in the corner. The conversion was missed.

Dundee 20 Selkirk 14

There then followed a period of Selkirk pressure but determined Dundee defence throughout the team but with the back row of Baz, Gus and Niall Hall to the fore, denied the Selkirk team any space.

Sangster freshened the pack up with Andy Clarkson (he of the hugely talented father) replacing Angus Thomson and then Angus returning to replace Neil.

The chat amongst the Dundee support was that Dundee were looking strong in defence and the confidence level then improved when Ross and Duncan combined just over the half way line to set up a one on one for right winger Kieran D’eath against his opposite number.

As Kieran collected the pass, the entire Mayfield stand and support on the banks implored him (good word – check the definition) to “back yourself – take him on”. Kieran did indeed back himself , skinned his opposite man on the outside in the classic right winger way and , to a great roar , accelerated off to score between the posts. The other Kieran converted.

Dundee 27 Selkirk 14

This put Dundee in the driving seat and the determination of each of the players to keep hold of this lead was clear for all to see. Ross and Hammy continued to defend heroically and the forwards, encouraged by Josh at 9 , held firm against any Selkirk drives.

Ross and Hammy then showed the attacking side of their game by combining well to create space for Baz to take the ball on the run and crash through the Selkirk defence into the 22. When Baz was eventually held up, he found Niall Hall on his shoulder and Niall took the ball on to score between the posts. Kieran converted.

Dundee 34 Selkirk 14

Hammy then went off to a well-deserved ovation.

Although victory seemed secure, the spirit of the young Dundee side in the final 5 minutes was very telling – Selkirk had all the possession and the majority of the play was in the Dundee 22 , but the Dundee defence never buckled and the determination not to concede any more points was great to see.

No side came when the solid Dundee pack secured their own put in and Josh kicked out to cue celebrations on the Mayfield banks and touchline.

FINAL SCORE – DUNDEE 34 SELKIRK 14

Reflections

Firstly, this was a very enjoyable game of rugby with two committed teams. Credit also to young referee Graeme Ormiston the game flowing throughout – it is a credit to Graeme and indeed to both teams that only 13 penalties were awarded throughout the match.

From a Dundee perspective – naturally the most important perspective – this was a great result and a great performance.

For the second week in a row, Dundee’s young team have kept clean sheets in the second half. The spirit was there for all to see, defensive structures held firm and 5 tries against Selkirk is a significant achievement. Particular credit must go to the back row – man of the match Stuart Barlow, Gus Farquhar and Niall Hall – who tackled like furies all day.

The Titans had a comfortable victory over Selkirk’s 2nd XV , which added to the feel good factor which meant that it was a very happy clubhouse on Saturday evening.

You sometime get days when you think your stars are aligning – Saturday was such a day – an enjoyable lunch club , Mayfield in the sunshine looking like what it is – the best amateur rugby ground in Scotland to watch a match – victories for the Dundee 1st XV and the Titans – and a happy clubhouse. It was against that backdrop that your reporter left the clubby on Saturday and headed in the Dundee night thinking that to round off the Perfect Day, surely Jennifer Aniston would be in Mennies looking for a man……………