The narrow defeat against Ayr in the Cup the previous week gave Dundee confidence going into the first Tennent’s National One League match of the season against Heriots Blues.
Who are Heriots Blues?
Surely you mean Heriots – who Dundee have played many times over the years. Play at Goldenacre in Edinburgh. Rugby club been around for years.
No, Heriots Blues ………
What are you on about?
OK, I will try to explain…………………
As stated in President Tosh’s programme notes, this season heralds the start of the semi-professional Super 6 competition. The new league structure sees Super 6 clubs (yes, only 6 of them playing each other……) with a Premiership below that and then National 1 the league in which Dundee play.
OK – who are the Super 6 clubs?
In alphabetical order – Ayr, Boroughmuir, Heriots, Melrose, Stirling and Watsonians.
That seems strange – there are 3 teams from Edinburgh, none from Glasgow and the furthest North is Stirling – surely that can’t be right?
Well it is.
So if Heriots are in the Super 6 and Dundee are in National 1, why are we playing them?
We are not – we are playing Heriots Blues.
It has been decreed from on high that the reserve/amateur clubs of the Super 6 clubs will play in National One. Heriots Blues are the amateur/reserve side of Heriots Super 6 team who are called Heriots Rugby.
Well, nae really but I will keep trying.
I know what you are thinking – surely this is unfair as Heriots could fill the Heriots Blues team with Heriots Rugby players – and that would mean that the amateur Dundee team were playing against professional players and that would hardly be equitable.
Perish the thought – Heriots Rugby and Heriots Blues are 2 separate entities and never the twain shall meet .
Anyway, we will see when we look at the Heriots team.
I have looked at the programme and the Heriots team is not listed …………………….
Ah – this was due to an administrative oversight – the Heriots team was received after the deadline for printing the Dundee programme.
Your reporter then looked on the Heriots Rugby Club website – which appears to cater for both Heriots Rugby and Heriots Blues – only to find out that the Heriots Blues team was actually called Heriots Blues Mens team…………….
At this point it was becoming too confusing for your reporter who had already been to the Lunch Club and I decided just to concentrate on the match.
As the teams came out in glorious Autumn sunshine it was noted that there were in fact 2 teams, one SRU referee (Craig Clark, well known referee at Mayfield and a good guy) and no SRU assistant referees.
What’s going on?
A quick reference back to President Tosh’s notes in the programme provided the answer- under the new structure , SRU assistant referees would only be provided for Super 6 , Premiership and the Womens Premiership.
This means that no assistant referees in National 1, so each club provides touch judges.
Not assistant referees – touch judges only.
This meant that the Mayfield faithful had to endure the sight of Ken Andrew’s legs as the venerable Ken was the Dundee touch judge.
The match kicked off and Heriots – (no, Heriots Blues………………….) – OK let’s call them the Blues – were on the attack from the start as they attacked the Dalgleish Road end.
Dundee seemed to have survived the initial onslaught when they were awarded a penalty.
However, they failed to find touch and the Blues ran the ball back with no 14 going in under the post. Graham Wilson a wellknown Heriots player for many years added the conversion
Dundee were penalised for being offside from the kickoff and the Blues took advantage by going up the pitch and camping themselves in the Dundee 22. With phase after phase, they attacked the Dundee defence and the pressure was rewarded when their No 3 (a massive bloke) battered his way across. The conversion was added
When the Blues added a further score – not sure who it was as in an admission of shoddy journalism, I glanced across at the Titans match, to make the score 19-0 (conversion missed) , the concern could be seen on the faces of the Dundee support.
Not only were the Blues a big side (both props in particular were huge) , but they had 95% possession and were relentlessly threatening the Dundee defence.
Even when Dundee got possession and centre Paul Kerr was nearly through for a score, a knock on gave possession back to the Blues who scored another converted try.
The score after 22 minutes was 26-0 to the Blues and the Dundee support were not enjoying their day in the sun, although the Titans were doing their best to improve the mood around Mayfield by running in the tries against Lasswade.
At this stage, the young Dundee team were struggling to cope with the Blues but the effort and defence could not be faulted. One tackle in particular by winger Calum Nicol (the latest member of the Nicol dynasty to grace the Mayfield pitch – son of ex captain Ally, grandson of legend Dave and nephew of media darling Andy) stopped a certain try.
However the relentless pressure continued and the Blues scored again before half time- again converted by Wilson .
Half Time – Dundee 0 Blues 33
Coach Sangster rang the changes at half time bringing on 5 players and making a couple of positional changes, including putting Paul Kerr at 10, with replacement Duncan McIntyre on as centre outside him.
Unfortunately, this did not have an immediate benefit as the Blues scored the first try of the second half when their Number 13 accelerated around Kieran 30 metres out and make the line. The score was converted to make the score 40-0.
The Blues scored another try soon after with their 15 going over -again converted – so it was 47-0 and Dundee staring down the barrel of 50+.
At this stage, the reshuffled Dundee team began to gel , with good breaks by Lewis and Paul and for the first time in the match began to retain possession.
The Blues however still had the upper hand in the set piece and following another scrum, Taylor was forced off injured. This led to uncontested scrums.
With the match already won, the Blues took the opportunity to ring the changes and give each player on their bench a run out.
Dundee were now enjoying much more possession and for the first time in the match exerting pressure on the Blues and this was rewarded, when following a Kerr break, Duncan McIntyre scored to get Dundee on the scoresheet. Paul converted.
Dundee then scored a second try when after a break by Lewis, space was created for winger Ruaridh Hood again converted by Paul to make the score 47-14.
The Blues had taken their foot off the gas at this stage and Dundee further capitalised through another score by Duncan McIntyre, again converted by Paul Kerr to take the score to 47-19.
The Blues then brought some of their big guns back on to regain control, but Dundee had the last score when Ruaridh Hood collected a good kick by Kieran to score an unconverted try with the last play.
Final Score – Dundee 24 Heriots Blues 47
Great credit to the young Dundee team for fighting back from a hopeless position at half time to not only win the second half , but also gain some pride , as well as showing the Mayfield crowd what they are capable of.
Obviously , the uncontested scrums in the second half favoured Dundee whose pack was getting a mauling from the Blues 8 , but the 4 tries allowed Dundee to get a bonus point.
In the first half in particular , the Blues were a class act and this may give an indication of the quality of opposition Dundee may face in the National 1 league this year due to the inclusion of the reserve/amateur sides of the Super 6 teams.
It should be noted that the Titans gave a great performance to beat Lasswade 95-0.