Lasswade must win at Highlands to put them in driving seat for promotion

Lasswade v Dumfries
Lasswade v Dumfries

Despite a loss to league
leaders Dumfries at the weekend Penicuik can still clinch promotion to 
Division 2.

The away fixture at the end of a season against your closest rival for the top spot of the league was always going to be a big ask.

Two years ago in very similar circumstances Lasswade clinched the title at Dumfries and scotched their hosts’ 
promotion hopes at the same time.

This was Dumfries’ chance to even some of that score and they took it - but only by a whisker.

The rain of the previous three days made for a soggy pitch but the game was played mostly in bright sunshine with virtually no wind.

The hosts kicked off and some early pressure earned them a penalty in front of the posts so in three minutes they were three points ahead.

Their lead lasted barely four minutes as Lasswade turned on some power of their own and drove up the park retaining the ball through several breakdowns and Billingham finished off the cycle wide out.

The lead changed hands again on the quarter hour when some slick handing and switch passes created an opening for Badenhorst to barge over but the conversion slid wide to leave the score at 8-5.

With their tails up the hosts kept up the pressure and going into the second quarter a blind side break from a scrum on halfway found the Lasswade defence outnumbered and Henderson was in support to take the offload and ground in the corner.

The conversion took them ten points ahead.

Traffic continued to be mostly toward the Lasswade line and approaching the half hour a couple of missed 
tackles allowed Badenhorst to score from forty metres out.

This proved to be an 
expensive defensive error for the visitors.

The half wasn’t over though and Lasswade 
regained some ground from a lineout on the home 22 and a series of rucks and mauls 
until Cook burrowed over near the posts for Hunter to narrow the gap to eight points for what became the 
half-time score of 20-12.

The third quarter was played almost entirely in the home half and 22.

Attack after attack was thrown at the home defence, with James Elliot standing out among the forwards and earning his side’s player of the match.

Twice the ball was across the line but judged to be held up.

The Dumfries defence was not only solid but disciplined and few penalties were 
conceded and, when they were, they were mostly used to set up lineouts followed by forward drives.

Hunter was given one shot at goal to narrow the gap to loser bonus territory.

Almost inevitably the Lasswade offence faltered and tired and play evened out in the last twenty.

Dumfries had two opportunities to extend their lead through penalties but both were off target.

Eventually, to the relief of the home support and disappointment of the visitors, time ran out leaving the final score of 20-15.

With Livingston as their next opponents it can be predicted that Dumfries have, 
as a result of this win, already 
secured one of the promotion spots if not the Championship.

To secure the other place, Lasswade must first win at Highland this Saturday (kick off 3pm) which would put them 
beyond the reach of Glasgow Accies but they then need a win or a draw for Dumfries at 
St Boswell’s on April 15 to put the Borderers out of the 
equation.

Watch this space!