Pain of Langholm’s single-point loss

Langholm mounted a great comeback but it wasn't quite enough to deny hosts Dunbar.
Langholm mounted a great comeback but it wasn't quite enough to deny hosts Dunbar.

Dunbar 37, Langholm 36

Langholm suffered the demon of defeat by a solitary point on Saturday, after overhauling their rivals’ big lead and almost winning the game themselves.

The East Region 2 clash, in terrible conditions, was the only Tennent’s league game involving a Borders side to go ahead outside the Premiership.

The pitch was playable but conditions were hardly favourable, with 40 mph gales and below-zero wind chill making it an uncomfortable afternoon for players and spectators alike.

Dunbar were fielding a big side and this shook Langholm in the first half. Dunbar’s fly half was kicking everything accurately, despite the strong wind, and Langholm were 24-0 down after 30 minutes.

This seemed to galvanise Langholm and they scored two tries before half time from Alasdair Cavers and Callum Helling, with Nathan Smith kicking a conversion.

So it was 24-12 at the turn round and, with coach Craig Hislop’s half-time team talk ringing in their ears, Langholm came out in the second half full of determination.

With Bailey Donaldson cutting open the Dunbar defence time after time and the Langholm pack now dominant, Langholm had the platform they needed to get back into the match. They scored a further three tries through Donaldson, Wilkes and Cavers.

With Dunbar scoring a further 10 points, with four minutes to go, it was 34-29.

Niall Cubbon ran in for Langholm’s sixth try, which was converted, and they took a 34-36 lead.

With time running out, Dunbar threw everything at the Milntown side but the defence was holding up.

With added-on time being played, Dunbar won a penalty and up stepped their kicker Ross, who had already landed 19 points during the match.

He kicked the ball and it hit the post, then the cross bar – and dropped over, to give Dunbar three points for victory.

From being 24-0 down, Langholm had clawed back 36 points scoring six tries to Dunbar’s three.

Langholm received a try bonus point and a losing bonus point – however, five points would have been a great Christmas present for the team, coach and fans.