DUMFRIES WIN THE SHIELD
Annan RFC must be wondering if they have done something to anger the weather gods after last year’s cancellation of the event due to the pitches being waterlogged and previous events similarly affected by inclement weather. Saturday proved to be no exception with the event played in a constant downpour.
The organisers also had the added problem of two teams calling off late in the week i.e. Kirby Lonsdale and Whitehaven. This meant that the two leagues of four teams had to be reduced to three with the game time extended from 15 minute halves to 20 minutes. The two leagues comprised of Annan, Aspatria and Newton Stewart in Pool 1 with Dumfries Saints, Hawick Linden and Stewartry in Pool 2.
In Pool 1 Annan won their close game against Aspatria 12-10 with the last kick of the match by stand off Craig McCann and then lost their next game against Newton Stewart 7-0. The final game of the Pool saw Aspatria hold on to win after it looked as if they were running away with the match. Newton Stewart fought back and scored a late try to come within 2 points of Aspatria with the final score Aspatria 21 Newton Stewart 19. That final try by Newton Stewart was enough, on the try count back rules, to see them through to the final.
In Pool 2 Dumfries Saints saw off Hawick Linden 17 -12 and Stewartry 24-0 with Linden beating Stewartry by the same score 24-0. The two wins saw Dumfries Saints comfortably through to the final.
The final was a bit of a one sided affair with Newton Stewart’s squad depleted through injuries during the afternoon. Dumfries had too much firepower at their disposal and ran out winners scoring 5 unanswered tries to win 29-0 to lift the Violetbank Shield for the first time.
All in all a thoroughly entertaining tournament despite the dreadful weather and the no show of two of the original teams. The clubs thanks go to the teams, helpers and the referees who made the afternoon enjoyable to the small band of hardy supporters who braved the elements.