Tough win battled out against Broch in season finale
By Phil Horsfall
Second secured with bonus point away win to cement best league finish since 2012-13 season
Report by Rob Haden
Images by Bill Buchan
Dyce climbed about the bus at The New Greentrees with a healthy mix of confidence, excitement and nervous energy for their last match of the season against perennial rivals Fraserburgh. After a physical 14-14 draw the week before and two hard sessions during the week the lads were ready to get themselves up for one final push to secure 2nd place in the league.
A strong line-up began the warm-up though Dyce were acutely aware of a lack of depth in the forward pack after starting lock Jack Munro was unable to take the field as a back injury from the prior weekend flared up. Big Leon Fawkes was thrust in to the starting line-up, leaving debutant Daniel Taylor the only fit forward reserve for pack that already had regular midfielder Adam Watt starting as blind-side flanker and regular flanker Callum Robertson stepping in to prop. The game plan from the start was to set a platform for the backs to move the ball wide and keep the game flowing
Dyce started the game with a level of energy and intensity not seen this season by the typically slow-starters (having made a habit of playing catch-up rugby all season). After conceding a bit of territory initially, the away side forced themselves into the Broch 22 with a brilliant touch finder from captain David Hay. The ball off the top of the line out was fed quickly to the backs and inside centre Duncan Scott took a crash ball through the line and powered over to the left of the uprights for the first points of the game. The conversion into a tricky cross-wind was missed.
5 minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 0-5 Dyce RFC
Dyce quickly picked up where they left off and found their way back into Broch territory in similar fashion. Awarded a penalty, Flanker Rowan Myers, better known for his uncompromising defence, received the ball one off from the breakdown, jinking and fending through the defence close to the ruck to run to score under the uprights. David Hay made sure of the conversion.
8 minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 0-12 Dyce RFC
It was now or never for Fraserburgh to get back in to the match and from the restart they marched their way in to the Dyce half through strong surges in the midfield and meters gained through hard grind around the fringes. The scrambling defence from Dyce was resolute for a time, though the pressure showed as replacement fullback Danny Macgregor (who had been on for one minute as elder statesmen Gregg Jack was having his limbs taped together) took offence to a bit of Broch aggression and responded with a reality-TV level slap that would have embarrassed the Kardashians. The referee had a front row seat to the show and had no choice but to send Danny to boxing class for 10 minutes, his new pink boots with barely a speck of dust on them.
Fraserburgh kept their focus and their drive towards the Dyce line was rewarded with a try near the uprights followed by a successful conversion.
20 minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 7-12 Dyce RFC
Dyce regrouped and quickly re-jigged the backline to cover for the absent full-back, though offence proved to be the best defence with 14 men on the park and strategic kicking pinning Fraserburgh down in their half. David Hay had his backline on a string, enjoying the time and space presented to him by the service of half-back Callum Addy. In almost a carbon-copy of their first try, just one further out, outside-centre Declan Coutts was put in to a gap about 22 metres out and squeezed through the cover defence to score well to the left of the uprights – the breeze again troubling David Hay as the conversion was unsuccessful.
28 Minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 7-17 Dyce RFC
Most of the remaining half saw an aggressive battle of attrition between the forward backs with one-off the ruck runners and defenders meeting in bone-jarring collisions either side of half way as both sides sought pack-ascendancy. The Dyce scrum remained solid, but the Broch were winning the territory battle as the half drew towards a close. Desperate fringe defence from the back row, and scrambling cover tackles from the restored back three kept the score the same as the half-time whistle blew with Dyce camped on their own line.
HT: Fraserburgh RFC 7- 17 Dyce RFC
Fraserburgh began the second half as they ended the first, immediately returning to Dyce territory and capitalising on a Dyce infringement in front of the posts to add another three points to their total.
45 Minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 10-17 Dyce RFC
With the close battle between the packs intensifying and potential injuries a real concern, with 35 minutes still left on the clock Dyce needed to revert to their game plan and start moving the ball around. Fraserburgh continued to battle around the fringes but the defence held firm. Leon Fawkes found an extra gear with several testing surges and strong tackling before being replaced by Daniel Taylor in the 50th minute in the only pack substitution available to Dyce. They strung together several quick phases and utility forward Cameron Moore found a gap in the defence to scamper to the line from a good distance out. He dotted down in the corner, chased the entire way, leaving another difficult, unsuccessful conversion for David Hay.
54 Minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 10-22 Dyce RFC
Dyce quickly returned to multi-phase play intended to stretch the defence, until when in the middle of the park a few meters from the line pack-leader Graeme Lowe led a pod and forced his way over the line with bodies hanging off him in a scene becoming only to familiar to his team mates. David Hay successfully slotted the conversion to give Dyce a 19-point buffer that would prove crucial.
62 minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 10-29 Dyce RFC
With 18 minutes to hold on, Dyce made their second substitution of the day when, after a great shift on the wing Edmund Barnard made way for the fresh legs of Danny Macgregor, who re-joined the fray with a promise to be on his best behaviour. Fraserburgh also rolled on fresh legs and began to wrest ascendancy, making a few extra meters with each run and forcing the visitors into a tiring routine of tackling, getting back in the defensive line, and going again. This time it was the Broch who finished off a midfield break with a try close to the uprights, successfully converted.
70 minutes: Fraserburgh RFC 22- 29 Dyce RFC
With less than 10 minutes to go and Fraserburgh requiring two tries to snatch a win (or another unlikely draw) the tension could be seen and felt as the intensity of the crash balls, line breaks and hits escalated. Dyce fought to keep the play close to half way and the back three of Gregg Jack, Dan Gilmore and Danny Macgregor shut down several promising Broch moves with clutch one-on-one tackles as they threatened to sneak around the edges. Fraserburgh changed tack, eyeing up the centre of the pitch, with strong ball runners forcing the away team back against their own line with wave after wave of one-off the ruck hit-ups and tackle busts.
As the clock wore down the battle turned in to one for pride and a bonus point, as realistically only one more score was possible. That pride was clearly on display from both sides as the Broch remained determined to cross the line one more time and Dyce threw body after body into the fray to cut down runners and stop exactly that. The pressure began to tell as offside and breakdown infringements resulted in a string of penalties awarded to the home side, pushing the clock well beyond 80 minutes as the Broch were able to retain possession. The last penalty of the game saw Dyce’s replacement lock Daniel Taylor sent to the bin on behalf of the team’s repeated infringements. In the subsequent play the Fraserburgh pack forced themselves over the line for a final score and a deserved bonus point.
FT: Fraserburgh RFC 22- 29 Dyce RFC
Tries: Duncan Scott, Rowan Myers, Declan Coutts, Cameron Moore, Graeme Lowe
Conversions: David Hay (2/5)
MoTM: Duncan Scott
DoTD: Jack Gray
A big thanks to all of our travelling support- its much appreciated! Keep tuned for off season developments and friendly matches and tour info coming soon!
More photos by Bill can be found here: Fraserburgh RFC vs Dyce RFC photos