Dumfries 3 Lasswade 25 – Lasswade are National Three Champions

Monday March 9th 2015

Reporter Richard Payne

Dumfries 3 Lasswade 25 – Lasswade are National Three Champions

An away match against third placed Dumfries was not the most likely place to get five points but that’s exactly what happened.

Lasswade needed just five points from their last two games to clinch the League title. An away match against third placed Dumfries was not the most likely source of those points but that is exactly what they achieved.

With a high wind to rival anything from Rosewell blowing straight along the pitch, Mark Billingham won the toss and as is his custom opted to play into the gale. Dumfries also gave him the kick-off and they used this first possession to drive down the field, only being stopped when held up over the Lasswade line. For fully five minutes they kept play in the red zone pounding and probing the Midlothian defence but it held.

Having contained the initial onslaught, Lasswade took control of the game. Patient when in possession and forcing errors and turnovers when not, they ensured that Saints had little opportunity to make forward progress, let alone score. Against the elements much of the play was in the Saints half and on one occasion Lasswade looked to have touched down but by the time the ref could get e proper view he adjudged it to be held up.

It wasn’t all one way and Saints benefitted from a Lasswade tackle infringement to slot a penalty but that proved to be the only score of the half.

Seven minutes into the second half a 15m Catch and drive was broken up but Clarke from stand-off jinked his way to just short of the line. A couple of recycles set Robertson up t barge over from three metres and Clarke made it 3-7.

With play mostly in the home half it still took another ten minutes to move the score along. The Lasswade forwards were dominant now especially Donald Hearn at No 8 when he wasn’t driving forward was in the thick of things forcing opposition turnovers and earning his side’s man-of-of the-match award. Having forced a penalty, Lasswade used the chance to move the ball wide and Clark darted into the corner for the second try.

Just past the hour, Lasswade were in the home 22 again and swung the ball from one wing to the other and back again to Gray who broke down the line and Billingham was on hand for the offload and the touchdown in the corner.

Saints dug in to make Lasswade work for the all-important bonus try. Just even minutes were left when the visitors earned a five-metre scrum. The ball popped from the back unexpectedly but Clark was first to it and used the blind side to seal the title for his side.

A successful Clarke penalty in stoppage time was the final kick of the game and completed the 3-25 final score and started the celebrations.

Hawick YM are the final opponents in this season’s League when they come to Hawthornden on 28 March. Kick-off 3pm.

Lasswade RFC Champions

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