Preston Lodge 18 Dalziel 10
Preston Lodge defeated Dalziel 18-10 in a tightly contested Scottish Hydro Electric Bowl final at Murrayfield. A close match was expected from the tie where the competing teams ended the season on equal league points, however, despite that finish, Dalziel rarely troubled the East Lothian side. Three minutes into the game Dalziel were presented with the best opportunity to take the lead but a missed penalty from stand-off John Harris landed short of the posts and was caught, marked, and kicked into touch just short of the 22.
The resulting lineout was Dalziel's first chance to have a run at PL - good play from inside centre, Barry Turnbull, set up full back, Robert Simpson, who came into the line arked wide around the PL defenders as he made for the try line - though was stopped just short at the flag thanks to some excellent tackling from the winger Douglas Thomson.
As the game edged nervously on, both sides began to test each other out wide with ball reaching both sets of wingers with PL wing Ally Wood showing early signs of troubling Dalziel with his pace and boot.
The first score came when a break in open play saw the ball popped out of contact to stand out prop, Cameron McLean, who crashed through the last tackler on the 5m line - just managing to down the ball on the try line with an out-stretched arm. The try was converted by stand-off Graeme Paterson, 7-0.
The score settled PL who were beginning to build on the early signs of having excellent hands in contact.
Quick ball through the hands in the opposition 22 from Blair Cowan to Greg Kinross and on to centre Chris Dixon looked to have created the second try but a full stretch Dalziel defence did just enough to keep them at bay.
A 27th minute penalty - awarded for killing the ball - from the assured boot of man of match Graeme Paterson, was the last score before the interval.
Half time: 10 - 0
Seven minutes into the second half second row Blair Cowan was sin binned and despite being a man up Dalziel opted to kick the penalty, full back Robert Simpson putting points on the board for the first time in the afternoon, 10-3.
The cheers from the Motherwell end were short lived as PL full back Greg Kinross chipped a lovely ball through from inside the 22, collected by Chris Dixon on the five metre line who had the strength to bundle through two tackles and score out wide on the right. Paterson missed the resulting conversion, 15-3.
Despite being a man down, PL continued to dominate the early stages of the first half and following a scrum on the 5 metre line the ball was quickly moved to Paterson who slotted a lovely drop goal to stretch the lead to 18-3.
PL continued to dominate the half though the skilful encounter ended with more fantastic rugby, this time from the boot of Dalziel.
Scrum half Alan Watson chipped a high ball which hung over the try area and was wonderfully plucked from the air by Victor Czarnocki who dropped to score the try. Robert Simpson added the extras to make it 18 -10.
Final Score: 18-10
Dalziel - Robert Simpson; Victor Czarnocki, Fraser Duguid, Barry Turnbull, Derek McMillan; John Harris, Alan Watson; Steven Findlay, Stephen Baird, Les Barclay, Graeme Morrison (captain), John Phillips, Grant Ferguson, a Crawford Reid, Andy McLatchie
Subs - all used: George Sloan, Craig Lewis, Allan Lowe, Eddy Ferguson, Andrew McLaren, Andrew Hill, Stephen Paton
Preston Lodge RFC - Greg Kinross; Ali Wood, Andrew Clark, Chris Dixon, Douglas Thomson; Graeme Patteron, Niall McDonald; Stuart McLean, Calum Wilson, Cameron McLean, Paul Voy, Blair Cowan, David Scott (captain), John Morrison, Euan Thayne
Subs (all used):- James Russell, Ross Anderson, Forbes Connor, Allan Blair, Stephen Dixon, Fraser Harris, Johnny Brash
Referee:: Andrew Healey (GHA)