National Two round-up: Stew-Mel defeat Dumfries Saints to go top

Inverleith men are one point ahead of three teams who are all tied on points as promotion battle appears set to go to the wire

Stewart's Melville are now top of the National Two table. Image: Jax MacKenzie Photography
Stewart's Melville are now top of the National Two table. Image: Jax MacKenzie Photography

STEWART’S MELVILLE are now top of National League Two after they came out on top in a cracking battle with fellow promotion chasers Dumfries Saints at Inverleith on Saturday. The Edinburgh side have now beaten the Saints in the National League Cup, and the next meeting between the sides at Park Farm in late February is already a mouth-watering prospect.

Dumfries lost Jordan Kerr to injury after 10 minutes and Stew-Mel scored an early penalty through Euan Morrison before a try from Sam Hiddleston out wide put the visitors 5-3 up. Another Morrison penalty edged Stew-Mel back in front before a couple of tries through Doug Randell and Charlie Simmonds made it 16-5 to them at the break.

A converted try by Dumfries’ Rory Steele made it 16-12 before James Ferguson and Scott Alldritt replied for the Edinburgh side as they stretched their lead to 14 points. Ewan Miller’s converted try gave Dumfries hope before Alldritt scored again with two minutes to go, and Euan Bowen kicked the conversion.

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Stew-Mel took five points from the game while Dumfries took one after Joe Strain scored a late fourth try for them to make it 33-24 at the final whistle.

“This was a really tough game against a very good side and we had to be at our very best to get the win,” said victorious head coach Jonny Else. “Dumfries played great stuff and we all really respect their style and the brand of rugby that they play.

“We played well in the first half, but left a couple of scores out there which was more down to the excellent defence from Dumfries rather than our mistakes. The second half was more dominant in terms of the set-piece and we attacked well.”

With Dumfries missing a few players through injury – Jack Steele, Lee Scott, Ali Jackson and Lewis Young – they were relatively pleased to take a losing bonus point from this one and are now second, two points behind Stew-Mel.

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Kirkcaldy are fourth, level on points with Dumfries and third placed GHK, thanks to a 47-20 bonus point victory at bottom side Whitecraigs.

After a tight start in Newton Mearns, the Fifers were 14-0 up after 22 minutes thanks to tries from Craig Letham and Kieran Mitchell and two conversions by the former. The home side scored two unconverted tries to make it 14-10 after 30 minutes, but Kirkcaldy secured the four try bonus and led 28-10 at the interval after further converted scores from captain Josh Laird and Steve Milne.

After the interval, tries from Chris Mann, Jack Devine and Milne again – as well as two conversions from Letham – saw Kirkcaldy home.

Over the piece, Whitecraigs’ tries were scored by Graeme Murchie, Lewis Ramage, Eddie Abekhe and Ryan O’Neil to earn a try bonus point which leaves them eight points from 10th spot and safety.

Glasgow Accies are ninth after a 34-5 loss at Newton Stewart, with the home side now in seventh place after this impressive performance.

The tries for Newton Stewart came from Fraser Morton (2), Calum Gaw, Mark McCornick and Thomas MacDonald, while Jack Gaw kicked nine points. Accies’ only try came from Colin Taylor.

“I was delighted with a strong attacking performance against Accies,” said Newton Stewart head coach Martin Wallace. “We got an early lead and never really looked back. After the disappointment v GHK [a 16-7 loss o January 18] it was just the performance that we were looking for.”

National League Division Two results –

Whitecraigs 20 Kirkcaldy 47

Stewart’s Melville 33 Dumfries Saints 24

Newton Stewart 34 Glasgow Accies 5

How it stands –

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About Gary Heatly 439 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.