Although well beaten in the end, an understrength Linden can take heart from their performance, particularly in the second half.
Playing with a physicality the lighter home pack struggled to cope with, Dalkeith also showed great enterprise in the backs in this BT East Regional League Division 1 encounter. An early glimpse of this was shown after a Linden lineout went wrong and the visitors ran from their own half. When the Royal Blues were caught offside, a quick tap penalty saw Graeme Duke touch down, with Paul Clugston converting.
Kirk Ford responded with a penalty goal for Linden which was quickly followed in similar fashion by Clugston. When put under pressure in their 22, Linden did well to work the ball into space but a poor clearing kick was run back by Dalkeith and full-back Steven Hamilton crossed, and Clugston converted.
Ford slotted a penalty but Dalkeith went straight up the other end to score. After a driving maul, skipper Ryan Reid came on a short ball to go over at the posts, giving Clugston an easy conversion.
Ford put over his third penalty before Dalkeith secured the try bonus when Chris Naylor stepped inside and a huge gap opened up to allow him to race over, with Hamilton this time converting.
With Dalkeith 31-9 ahead at half-time, Linden were staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat. However, they showed great character in the second period but just could not put anything on the scoreboard. Their best efforts were a superb run from his own half by Stuart Renwick, until he was turned over in the tackle, and when Ford fielded a kick and put a deft chip in behind the Dalkeith defence. Unfortunately the bounce was unkind and he just couldn’t get to the ball before it went over the dead-ball line.
The second half had been scoreless until, with the final play of the game, a chip through by Dalkeith ricocheted off legs straight into the arms of Stef Paton who fed Naylor and he went over for his second touchdown. Hamilton converted with the last kick of the game.
With a number of players missing, Greg Bouglas was forced into back-row action and put in a great performance. Graham Colville also had a fine game, with Alex McSorley showing up well at hooker. Despite a lack of bulk, James Hogg gave another hard-working display. Kirk Ford did well at stand-off, with Stuart Renwick showing some nice touches in his first game of the season.
Hawick Linden: S. Renwick, S. Potts, P. Mactaggart, S. Bouglas, C. Gracie, K. Ford, R. Hamilton, R. Beattie, A. McSorley, J. White, S. Hair, J. Hogg, G. Cunningham, G. Bouglas, G. Colville; Subs: B. Mercer, K. Douglas, M. Knight, C. Turnbull, G. Baillie, R. Graham.