“Ye’re no playin’ that bad,” was the comment to this observer from a Jed stalwart, as full-time approached, although to the non-attender, a glance at the final score-line might have suggested otherwise. Indeed, there were some positives from a Dundee side feeling the effects of its injury and unavailability list, against a strong-running Jed outfit, but which paid the penalty for an indifferent defensive performance.
On a dry day with little wind, conditions were ideal at Riverside, but the early stages were punctuated by handling errors from both sides. Jed missed a first penalty goal opportunity, then, when a Dundee clearance did not find touch, Jed moved the ball up the right wing and centre, Gregor Young, burst through three or four attempted tackles to score the opening try, converted by stand-off Robbie Yourston. 7 – 0 after 9 minutes.
Two minutes later and Jed went further ahead. The kick-off was fielded by Jed and their scrum-half ran to the Dundee 22 before passing to left-winger Robbie-Shirra-Gibb to touch down. The try was again converted by Yourston and Jed were 14 – 0 in the lead.
From the re-start, Dundee gained some possession in the Jed half for the first time in the game and a fairly even spell resulted for the next quarter of an hour, although the loss of a Jed player to a yellow card gave Dundee a numerical advantage. In the event, it was the home side which next scored, after a great break by Jed centre Robert Hogg, following a defensive line-out. When Dundee were penalised on their 22 and 15 metes in from touch, Yourston made no mistake and moved the score to 17 – 0 after 27 minutes.
The curse of the Dundee No 8s struck again after half an hour, with current incumbent Pete Redmayne leaving the field after a head knock, but it was time for a spell of Dundee attacking possession, although penetration was low. After a won line-out, however, a series of close-quarter drives took play to the Jed line, where Alan Brown burrowed over for a try, which was not converted. 17 – 5 with 37 minutes played.
Two Dundee clearance kicks which failed to find touch gave the initiative back to Jed and, with the break beckoning, Jed worked the ball well to the right, where winger Callum Young crossed for a try, again converted by Yourston, taking the score to 24 – 5 and bringing the half to a close.
Half-time: Jed-Forest 24 Dundee HSFP 5
A Dundee side which was not yet in top gear was encouraged to keep possession, exploit gaps in the Jed defence and increase the security of their own defence.
Indeed, the opening period of the second half indicated an improvement in the Dundee performance. A spell of pressure was aided by Jed failing to make much ground with a couple of touch kicks, after the second of which, Dundee drove the ball, then moved it right for Fraser McKay to touch down. The try was not converted and the gap was reduced to 14 points: 24 – 10 after 47 minutes.
A better period for Dundee followed, but pressure in the Jed 22 was relieved when the touch judge drew the referee’s attention to a Dundee indiscretion. Jed’s clearance kick did not find touch, however, but when Dundee were back on the attack, the ball was stripped from them and kicked on. Dundee knocked-on and, with Jed pressing after the scrum, their loose-head prop, Ryan Gibson, burst through attempted tackles from 15 metres out to score near the posts. Yourston converted and the Jed lead was stretched: 31 -10 with 57 minutes played.
Jed failed to secure possession from the kick-off and Dundee pounced on the loose ball, which was kicked on and then gathered, leading to a try by Scott Doig, converted by Ewan Fox. 59 minutes gone and 31 – 17.
Just two converted scores behind, and one more try for a bonus point, brought a little hope to the Dundee faithful. Hopes were rather dashed to minutes later, however, when a knock-on from the kick-off was followed by loose defence from Dundee and Jed’s Gregor Young chased through a kick to touch down. Yourston obliged with the extras and Jed were 38 – 17 ahead.
Play continued with neither side exerting critical pressure until four minutes from time, when Dundee failed to find touch following a penalty award. Jed ran the ball back and Dundee were penalised for a “deliberate” knock-on. Jed found touch on the Dundee 22, won the throw and drove the ball to the Dundee line, for hooker, Connor Hogg to claim the try, which was not converted. 76 minutes played and 43 – 17.
Dundee won possession and were back on the attack following the re-start, but miss-handling denied them the opportunity to turn pressure into points and the final whistle came without further addition to the score.
Full-time: Jed-Forest 43 Dundee 17
There were some promising aspects of Dundee’s performance, but indifferent defence and ineffective tackling proved decisive, although it transpired that injury may have contributed, at least in part, to this. In any event, it’s an area which will be the focus of attention, as players were encouraged to examine their own performance.
One pleasing aspect was the single-figure total penalty count in a game well handled by referee Graeme Ormiston.
Tries: Alan Brown, Fraser McKay, Scott Doig
Conversion: Ewan Fox
Dundee Man of the Match: Chris Cumming