Dunfermline Press

Dunfermlin­e lose out in National League opener

- Rhart@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk @RossH_DP

North Berwick 40 DUNFERMLIN­E 19

HEAD COACH Gavin Emerson has described Dunfermlin­e’s loss to North Berwick as a “wake-up call” after they suffered a disappoint­ing start to the season.

The McKane Park outfit’s first XV travelled to East Lothian for their first game of the National League, Division Four campaign in high spirits following their Caledonia Region League, Division One, success last term.

However, their first match at national level since 2015 – when they were relegated from Division Three after a single season – ended in a 21- point defeat, despite finding themselves in the lead at half- time.

Traffic problems delayed Dunfermlin­e on their way to North Berwick, who themselves were playing their first game in Division Four, and two quick tries – one of which was converted – saw the visitors fall 12- 0 behind early on.

Emerson’s team, however, responded well and two converted scores of their own gave them a two- point lead going in at the interval.

Despite opening the second period well, the home side crossed for their third score 10 minutes in to move five points in front, with Emerson lamented that Dunfermlin­e

“imploded” midway through the half.

Three more tries followed for North Berwick as they took the game away from Dunfermlin­e, who ran in a late try, but wasn’t enough even for a losing try- scoring bonus point.

“It was a disaster from the start,” Emerson told Press Sport.

“We arrived late, which isn’t an excuse. There were a couple of road traffic accidents on the way that delayed us, but North Berwick offered us a 15 minute delay to kick off, which allowed us to get most of the work in.

“They started really well, and scored a couple of quick tries into us, but we finished the first half winning 14- 12. Normally, in the second half we come to life, and we started really well, but midway through, we just imploded.

“They scored a few tries going through the middle of us. It’s a wake- up call for us. We finished with a nice score and, had we had a few more minutes, we maybe would’ve got a try- scoring bonus point at least, but it wasn’t to be.”

Murrayfiel­d Wanderers, who defeated Perthshire 33- 28 in their opener, are the first visitors to McKane this season, and Emerson is hopeful a large crowd will turn out to cheer the side on.

“We had a large proportion of the ball. It wasn’t like we were defending for 30- 40 minutes,” he continued.

“They just used it more effectivel­y, or more is the case, the cleaned up on our mistakes. Can we use it as a learning curve for this week?

“It’s a game we put behind us and focus on Murrayfiel­d Wanderers. It’s exciting, our first game in national rugby at McKane.

“For a lot of the boys, this is the highest level of rugby they’ve played at. We need to fine- tune a couple of easy fixes and focus a bit more.”

Kick- off at McKane Park is at 3pm.

Meanwhile, Dunfermlin­e’s ladies have made a flawless start to their Caledonia Midlands / East Region, League Two, season with three wins from three.

After a 29- 15 home win over Dundee Valkyries second XV, and a 46- 34 success at Perthshire, they ran in nine tries in a 62- 0 victory at Bannockbur­n on Sunday.

The game, which was halted at 60 minutes due to injuries in the home ranks, saw Miriam Aitchison ( four), Alison Caldicott ( two), Kayleigh Laing, Lisa Hamilton- Martin and Chloe Alcorn cross for Dunfermlin­e, who were also awarded a penalty try.

This Sunday, they host Leith Rugby Club at McKane as they bid to stay top of the table, with kick- off at 2pm.

 ?? ?? Dunfermlin­e, pictured in pre-season, went down to defeat at North Berwick in their National League, Division Four opener. Image: David Wardle.
Dunfermlin­e, pictured in pre-season, went down to defeat at North Berwick in their National League, Division Four opener. Image: David Wardle.

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