Leith go down to Dalkeith in last home game
Despite the sunshine on Leith, home team still seek win in 2nd half of the season.
It was a sweltering day at Academy Park as Leith welcomed Dalkeith, as East League 2a continues to rumble on at the end of March. Leith were dogged by some regulars being away via injury, work or unavailability, which goes some way to explaining one of the unique sights in Scottish club rugby as stand in 9 Craig Winton was also marked down as a reserve prop! Notwithstanding any selection issues, the 20 boys in Leith jerseys were confident of giving the larger Dalkeith team a good game.
Leith received the kick off with the sun at their backs and were immediately put under some pressure after a fumble in midfield gave Dalkeith a decent attacking platform. The Kings Park team were able to keep the ball for a while as Leith struggled to get any continuity. Eventually Leith infringed in 22m and gave Dalkeith the easy chance of points which was taken. Things went from bad to worse for Leith as soon after they found them self 0-10 down as the travelling team used the ball quickly and dotted down. Leith did start to get more into the game but constant infringing meant that Dalkeith were handed easy field positions and from 10 metres out their large pack were able to rumble over for a 17 point cushion.
It was certainly not the start that Leith would have wanted but they were determined not to go out without a whimper. Leith enjoyed a period of pressure and after some hard yards by Stuart Wilson, Ollie Main and Luke McKinney the home team managed to work their way into a good field position and were managing to hold onto the ball. The work rate in attack and defence was beginning to take its toll as the phases built up and Doug Watters slipped the ball to Kenny Dannfald who managed to slip past the first line of defence before stepping the full back to score under the posts, Ben Wilkinson converted. Leith were getting themselves back into the game before being dealt a blow as Luke McKinney was sent to the bin for an unfortunate tip tackle. Despite the temporary numerical disadvantage it was Leith who clawed themselves further back into the game as Dannfald added a penalty from around 30 metres out. Leith did exert pressure and should have came away with more points after being camped in the Dalkeith 22m area with several 10m line outs, however after a few errors the ref blew for half time.
The home team knew that the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half would be crucial to the result in the match and if the home team could score first, they would be more than in it. However that was not to be the case and Leith suffered the exact start they wished to avoid as Dalkeith added a quick double of tries to pull away at 10-32. Once again Leith left themselves with a mountain to climb but knew they could get some success in the game with Mike McLeish, Andy MacIntosh and Andy Homer carrying strongly and behind them Winton, Wilkinson and Watters orchestrated matters. It was indeed Watters who was architect to the next Leith try as he drew his man to the out side and number 8 McKinney went through the inside gap. the Ulsterman still had work to do but brute strength and size saw him bundle his way over the line. Leith were again having the lions share of possession and were to get the all important next try as Dannfald released the industrious Joel Doherty down the left wing, Joel was snagged just before the line but was able to pop off to the onrushing Watters who dotted the ball down. Wilkinson once again converted and Leith were within 8 points of Dalkeith and looking dangerous.
However as with too often this season Leith switched off to the Dalkeith threat and they scored with a handful of minutes left on the clock. Leith did almost break through after a Doherty break saw Watters putting McLeish through a hole but as the ball came wide to Dannfald and Wilkinson the ball was lost and the game was ended.
Overall it was disappointing to lose out once again. Lapses in concentration are gifting the other teams 2 or 3 soft tries and making the task all the more difficult. There is not doubt the skills are there and the work continues as we build for next year. Last game of the season is against Trinity where Leith will be looking to end the top 6 hoodoo.
Tries - Kenny Dannfald, Luke McKinney, Doug Watters
Convs - Ben Wilkinson (2), Kenny Dannfald
Penalty - Kenny Dannfald
Serrano Manchego MOTM - Craig Winton