There was a strong, diagonal wind, but at least it was dry and the re-drained Drumbreck pitch was in good shape as Cartha kicked off, with the wind and slope, towards the pavilion end and won early possession. The Dundee defence countered and, aided by 4 penalty offences by Cartha. When it was Dundee’s turn to give away a penalty, Cartha used the wind and found the Dundee 22 with the kick. Dundee were again penalised, this time in front of the posts, 25 metres out and Cartha stand-off Burrows had a straightforward opportunity for the goal. 10 minutes played and Cartha ahead 3 – 0.
Dundee were right back on the attack after the restart, pressing towards the home line and, after three further minutes, Stuart Barlow barged over the line for an unconverted try, edging Dundee ahead, 3-5.
Dundee were trying hard to raise the pace of their game after the score and managed some sustained spells of possession, built patiently. A good break by Harry Meadows took play into the Cartha red zone, where more Dundee pressure led to a yellow card shown to Cartha. As the Dundee pressure continued, Danny McGinn sneaked round the blind side of a ruck and over for a try, which was again unconverted. Dundee 3-10 ahead after 21 minutes, and looking in control.
Dundee continued on top after the restart and were soon back in the Cartha 22. When Cartha were penalised, Dundee took a short penalty and Neil Turnbull burst over the line, only to loose the ball in the act of scoring. It was still all Dundee, until a loose ball was pounced on by Cartha, enabling them to make ground into the Dundee 22. With the Dundee players seemingly bunched in the corner, Cartha fed to ball out to find three players queuing up, unopposed, to score. In the event, it was former Morgan man Juan Phyfer who took the honours. Burrows’ kick was a simple affair, pulling the scores level at 10 – 10 after 26 minutes.
Some carelessness appeared to be creeping into the Dundee play now, with lost possession too much a feature. Then a good move by Cartha from a scrum some 30 metres out, involving their stand-off looping round, led to another Cartha try, by full-back Docherty, too far out on the left for a successful conversion. 15 -10 with 33 minutes played.
As half-time approached, a huge clearance by Cartha took play to 5 metres from the Dundee line and, when Dundee were penalised, Burrows had a simple task in goaling the penalty, to stretch Cartha’s lead: 18 – 10 after 39 minutes, which is how it stayed until the half-time whistle.
Half-time: Cartha QP 18 Dundee HSFP 10
An encouraging start for yet another changed Dundee team, with a dominant 20 minute spell against the wind, midway through the half. If carelessness can be reduced and with the wind in their favour, the match could well be turned around.
Early Dundee pressure was thwarted by penalty offending and lost possession, but a chance arose when Cartha were penalised in front of the post, 5 metres out and Dundee chose the scrum option. Some frantic pressure resulted, until Danny McGinn slipped a pass through to Duncan McIntyre, who touched down out wide on the right. The kick was missed, but Dundee were in touch at 18-15, with 10 minutes of the half played.
Dundee kept on the pressure and, five minutes later, a strong burst by Andrew Hamilton, taking 2 Cartha players with him, brought a try under the posts, and Kieran Scoular added the extra 2 points, to out Dundee ahead, 18-22 after 55 minutes.
Cartha were reduced to 14 men, following a red card offence, but managed to retain possession for a prolonged period, thus preventing Dundee from maintaining momentum, and then a yellow card offence by Dundee evened up the numbers, albeit for minutes. Cartha continued to stretch the Dundee defence, which was holding out manfully, until Cartha knocked on over the line and Dundee were able to clear to half-way.
The resultant easing of pressure enabled Dundee to get back into the game as an attacking force and along break by Hammy ended with him scoring in the corner. The conversion was missed, but Dundee nerves were settled somewhat, with a score of 18 -27 and just two minutes of regulation time remaining.
Dundee’s defence remained resolute, however, and no-side was reached without further incident.
Full-time: Cartha QP 18 Dundee HSFP 27
The much-awaited first league win for Dundee was achieved without any great show, but with a great deal of determined hard work. For spells in the game, Dundee dominated and, but for a degree of carelessness, might have secured a more comfortable victory. With half a dozen or so strong players out injured or otherwise unavailable, prospects are encouraging that the 1st XV season could now be getting on track.
As an added bonus, Dundee comfortably won both the Man of the Match and Dick of the Day contests!
Tries: Andrew Hamilton (2), Stuart Barlow, Danny McGinn, Duncan McIntyre
Conversion: Kieran Scoular
Dundee Man of the Match: Angus Farquhar