Lassade end year as league leaders

Having halted a period of decline and won promotion back to National level as runners up in the Caledonia League last season, Dunfermline have struggled in this Division losing six of the first seven games including a 49-13 drubbing at Hawthornden and managed a draw in the seventh against equally struggling Murrayfield.

Some worldwide recruitment seemed to turn their fortunes when they soundly beat Dumfries, the then League leaders, at home in October but they have managed only one narrow victory in the four matches since then and were occupying the second relegation spot in the table.

In stark contrast, Lasswade were on a run of seven wins and sitting at the top of the table.

The gap between the teams was not much in evidence for most of the first half with set pieces mostly going with the side putting in and rare turnovers in the rucks and mauls. Neither back line could find any gaps or spaces. Lasswade may have had the slight edge in possession and territory but were seldom allowed near the home line by some determined defending and spoiling. On more than one occasion Dunfermline looked dangerous, usually sparked by Zropf at standoff.

An offside decision against Lasswade broke the stalemate just past the half hour and Zropf converted the penalty from 40 metres out, but that stayed as the only score come half-time.

With the sun setting at their backs in the second half, the visitors turned up the heat and a few minutes in a break by Cook was stopped just short of the line. It was Cook again who was on hand a few minutes later at a ruck 30 metres out and a dummy and a respectable turn of speed, for a prop, got him past one and then through the second tackler to touch down and give his side the lead for the first time after more than 50 minutes of play – and earn himself their man of the match award.

Their lead lasted only a few minutes before an offside in front of their own posts gave Zropf his second successful shot at goal.

As the hour passed, neither side could clearly claim supremacy and it took a fumble by Dunfermline to move the score along again. Kyle Smith gathered the ball on half-way and nearly made it to the line but once held he had Andy Hall on his shoulder to finish the job off but too wide out for the conversion.

With the game still in the balance and play swinging between the 22’s, Lasswade took the opportunity of a ruck infringement by the hosts to extend the lead to seven points with Hunter slotting the ball with still 10 minutes left.

Aware of the possibility of at least a draw, Dunfermline applied a fair bit of pressure during those ten minutes but the Lasswade defence held and an audible sigh of relief went round the Lasswade team and supporters when the ref finally blew for no-side. Final score - Dunfermline 6, Lasswade 13

With Preston Lodge getting a four point win at home to West of Scotland who also garnered both a try and losers bonus, Lasswade have consolidated their position as the League leaders being four points clear of PL who are their guests on January 10 and five ahead of West who arrive the following week. January could be decisive for the Midlothian side.

Before then, though, the next fixture is a third round (last 16) BT Cup tie against Boroughmuir at Hawthornden on January 3 (kick-off at 1.30pm).