Linden lose out in action-packed return

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Dunbar31

Hawick Linden25

Looking to extract revenge for their defeat at Volunteer Park just four weeks ago, Dunbar showed their intent right from the off in this East Division One clash.

With just five minutes on the clock, full back Antoin Penrose burst through some weak Linden tackling to touch down and Ross Charlton converted.

Kirk Ford responded with a penalty double to reduce the deficit before a well-organised line-out drive from the home side ended with Connor McLellan claiming the touchdown, which Charlton converted.

Gary Peebles then flew up the touchline to outpace the Linden defence and Charlton’s fine conversion stretched the Dunbar lead to 21-6, which was reduced by three when Ford struck his third penalty goal.

Dunbar secured the bonus-point try on 33 minutes through Chris Greco and the signs didn’t look good for the Royal Blues, but they were not for folding, and another Ford penalty was followed by a fine solo try from Craig Smith, which Ford converted, to make it 26-19 to the hosts at the break.

Ten minutes into the second period, Ford put over his fifth penalty kick and Linden started to gain the upper hand as the home team gave away a number of penalties.

A yellow card for Linden’s Gary Wardle, who was adjudged offside at the ruck, saw the pendulum swing back in favour of Dunbar when the injured Jordan White was helped from the field, leaving the Teries with only 13 men.

But the tide turned again shortly afterwards when Chris Bryce was sin-binned for the hosts, who, at the same time, lost prop Chris Baikie after he spoke out of turn and was also yellow-carded.

This was immediately changed to red when further comment was directed at the referee.

Once the chaos had settled, Ford stroked over the resultant penalty and Linden were a point behind, and back to a full compliment, at 26-25.

As often happens in such situations, it was the short-handed home team who raised their game and from a forward drive, full-back Penrose kept the legs pumping to go over in the corner.

Linden had one last chance when Phil MacTaggart charged down a clearance kick, but to his bemusement a knock-on was awarded and his team had to settle for the losing bonus point.