North Berwick President's XV win charity match

North Berwick President's XV 26 The Co-optimists 24

The Jonny Mitchell and Russell Freer Memorial Match in aid of the Murrayfield Centenary Fund

This match was played to recognise two young men lost to NBRFC in 2012 and the starting XV for North Berwick was enhanced by Graham Patterson from Preston Lodge at full back, the others being NBRFC regulars.  On the bench were players from Dunbar, Haddington and Musselburgh and two North Berwick stalwarts Abbin Anderson and Craig Cockburn who claimed to be playing in the red and black for the last time.

The Co-ops sent a strong side including a number of players selected from the RBS Premier Division and National Leagues.  It was good to see North Berwick man Stuart Smith now of Aberdeen back at Recreation Park.

It took only two minutes for the visitors to open the scoring and it was quick hands and plenty of pace which allowed Adam Wood from Harris to score in the corner.  Owen McLeish from Hamilton struck an excellent conversion.

The Co-ops were to score twice more before the interval and both were roll over tries from lineouts close to the home line, McLeish was unlucky with both conversion attempts.  Whilst the game was very competitive, the physical ability of the Co-ops was making a difference.

The only other incident in the first half was a knee injury to Scott Whitelaw from Hamilton which required him to leave the pitch, all at North Berwick wish him a speedy recovery.

At half time, Jamie Peters from Dunbar replaced Grant Craig as stand off and renewed his partnership with Calum Mark that had been so successful at Haddington in the past.  Also joining the fray was U 18 internationalist Lewis Carmichael and he was to have a significant impact on the match.

In fact it took only two minutes of the second half for the home side to reduce the deficit and  it was a lineout won by Carmichael and he saw a gap and nipped in to score.  Patterson who had been having a great game, added the extras.  Suddenly the game was competitive.

For the next 30 minutes it was all North Berwick and Carmichael was to score again this time from distance showing a turn of pace to score at the posts for Patterson to convert again.  Charlie Elms then was the recipient of good work in the centres and scored an excellent try in the left corner for the North Berwick side to take the lead. 

Danny Waldman was next on the scoresheet crossing from close range close enough for another conversion from Patterson and there was clear daylight with five minutes left to play.

Right on the final whistle, the Co-ops scored a consolation try which was well converted from the touchline and whilst the home side had won, Captain Adam McNair was so engrossed in the contest that he wasn’t sure until afterwards!

There were terrific performances from the players on both sides but the will to win from those in the red and black just edged a smashing contest.

With programme sales and post match raffle there was £650 raised for the Murrayfield Centenary Fund.