Dundee went into this BT National One match v Stewarts-Melville , following their dramatic late victory at Watsonians the previous week against a Stewarts-Melville side who had slipped to the bottom of the league following recent losses.
It was dry afternoon at Mayfield (in fact remarkably dry following torrential rain in the morning ) with Dundee making a last minute change following Blair Cochrane’s late calloff through illness. Ronan Joy replaced Blair , Cammy McCrimmon started on the right wing and Matt O’Sullivan continued at 12 in place of Tim McKavanagh who was still not 100% fit.
In the forwards , Gav Robertson and captain Broonie started in the front row , with Anthony Kent on the bench.
Stewarts-Melville , who continued with their policy of fielding a young home-grown team , had been handicapped by an injury to their 10 and playmaker , Nick McAashin who was sidelined until the New Year. A familiar name in the StewMel line up was one Thomas Spowart , son of erstwhile Dundee coach and familiar face at Mayfield , Graeme Spowart.
Talking about familiar faces , it was noted that the referee was one Dave Sutherland of Hamilton , better known to the Mayfield crowd as Disco Davie Sutherland , who turned out for Dundee for many years during his time at Dundee University as a dental student.
Dundee started in on top , with their bigger pack controlling possession and moving play into the Stew Mel 22 . A period of concerted Dundee pressure was met with solid Stew Mel defence but the breakthrough eventually came after 15 minutes when Andy Dymock made an incisive break , then found Neil Herron. Neil in turn found Nick Alston hitting the ground at a good angle , drawing the last man and then sending winger Ronan Joy in at the corner.The conversion was missed. 7-0 Dundee.
Dundee’s rhythm was upset midway through the first half when fly half Duncan Leese went off. Andy moved to 10 , with Burham on at 9.
StewMel then enjoyed a period of possession and were unlucky when winger Murchie broke free on the wing but referee Sutherland ruled a forward pass.
“Good old Disco – he’s one of us………” was the chat amongst the Dundee support.
There then followed a period of forward exchanges when the Dundee pack were penalised on a number of occasions by referee Sutherland. Good old Disco was suddenly not so popular along the Mayfield touchlines.
Dundee then went further ahead in 30 minutes when Neil Herron’s anticipation found him space in the StewMel 22 and a couple of side-steps later , he was touching down for a try. Nick Alston converted to make the score 12-0 to Dundee.
At this point Dundee seemed to take their foot of the gas and StewMel enjoyed a concerted period of possession and pressure. The Dundee defence held firm until the last play of the half when slack defence allowed winger Murchie to break tackles and score. The conversion was added .
Half Time – Dundee 12 Stewarts Melville 0.
Dundee started the second half with a reshuffled back line , with Andy at 9 and Nick at 10.
Dundee immediately gained territory and play was concentrated in the StewMel 22 . This led to a number of chances , each of which was passed up by unforced errors , either knock-ons or a forward pass.
The Dundee scrum was still not functioning to referee Sutherland’s liking, resulting in a series of penalties against the home side.
Following the award of another penalty against Dundee ,captain Alan Brown was seen to make a comment to referee Sutherland .As the referee’s response was to penalise Dundee a further 10 yards , it is reasonably safe to assume that Broonie’s comment was not “fancy a beer after the game Disco ?”
At this stage the Dundee committee were considering presenting referee Sutherland with his unpaid Mayfield clubhouse bar bill from 2009 when he came in for his after match beer.
The Dundee pressure continued and was rewarded 15 minutes into the second half when following a scrum near the StewMel line , Nick Alston crossed to score . The conversion was missed. 17-7 to Dundee.
The Dundee pack now had dominance over their young StewMel counterparts and the control of the forwards again took play to the StewMel 22 where the illegal pulling down of a maul led to a StewMel forward being yellow carded .
Referee Sutherland now returned to being the darling of the Mayfield crowd.
Dundee continued to have almost complete possession and after moving the ball from wing to wing , Broonie crossed to secure the bonus point.
Nick converted to take the score to 24-7 to Dundee.
The final quarter of the match saw Dundee take off Andy and Daz as precautions – Dundee continued to dominate possession but unforced errors and wrong options taken meant that there was no further scoring.
Final Score – Dundee High 24 Stewarts Melville 7.
It is a measure of how well Dundee played in their last 2 matches , that there was an element of frustration within the Dundee playing squad at their performance today.
However , as Head Coach Colin Sangster pointed out , to win, to score 4 tries and to get a bonus point against a Stewarts Melville team who have a good recent record against Dundee , is a good result. More importantly , it takes us up to 3rd in the BT National One league.
This takes the team’s winning run to 5 games in a row , which sets the guys up for a tricky visit to Jedforest next weekend , followed by the important month of November in which the schedule reads Musselburgh (a) , GHA(h) , Marr (a) and Aberdeen Grammar (a).
Interesting time down Mayfield way………
Colin named George Arnott as his man of the match following another all action display from the young forward.
Final point , in all seriousness , should be to congratulate Dave Sutherland on a excellent performance as referee. He displayed a good affinity with the players , communicated well and was always in control.
Naturally , all at Mayfield wish him well in his career as a referee.