Inter-district Championship 2023 | Round 1 Match Report

Inter-district Championship 2023 | Round 1 Match Report

The South of Scotland are the first confirmed team for the Inter-district Championship Final at Braidholm next weekend after they defeated the Edinburgh District 50-17 at Netherdale in Round 1 of the reinstated competition on Tuesday night.

It was a promising start for the visitors, scoring within the opening two minutes of the match. A box kick out of their half from the South was gathered by winger Lewis Wells, where the ball was recycled to full-back Charlie Brett who worked hard to evade the South defence. Some sevens like offloading in space saw the ball quickly flash into the hands of Ali McCallum who darted over the whitewash. Stand-off Jamie Loomes added the extras (0-7, 3 mins).

The South didn’t take long to hit back. A red scrum just shy of half-way saw Bruce McNeil pick from the base and take play down the blind side. Strong support running from Jae Linton allowed the offload safely reach his hands before he stormed across the whitewash in the corner. The conversion was missed (5-7, 9 mins).

More success was to follow from a red scrum, set up in minute 15 of the match. Proving too powerful for the capital side, referee Calum Lazenby awarded the hosts a penalty, which was comfortably within Craig Dods kicking range. The penalty sailed over the sticks and the South took the lead for the first time (8-7, 17 mins)

Just a few minutes later the South extended their lead with a try from Dwain Patterson, who gathered a fantastic grubber through to dot down in the corner. Despite a wide angle, Dods converted the kick with ease (15-7, 20 mins).

Hitting back hard, Edinburgh made solid ground to renter Southern territory with Fin Simpson making yards with strong carrying. Scrum-half Aaron Porteous saw an opportunity to pick and go, coming within five meters of the try line before offloading to Brett, who was taken into touch, but not before the South knocked the ball forward in the action of it all. With the capital district awarded the penalty, Loomes lined up for a straightforward kick to the posts to narrow the deficit, which he did successfully (5-10, 24 mins).

The hosts added a third try to their scoresheet at 27 minutes when captain Shawn Muir barged his way across the line, following on from some speedy attacking work from the squad to take them within meters of the try line. After Muir successfully wrested over the whitewash, Dods once again added the extras (22-10, 27 mins)

The South came close to another try at 32 minutes but were unfortunate in the execution as the ball was juggled – and knocked on – just as they got across the line.

Nevertheless, the South found there moment just three minutes later after a scrum some five meters out, set Bruce McNeil up nicely to drive across the line. Dods added to his string of conversions successfully (29-10, 36 mins).

The South had a last-ditch attempt at five when they were awarded a penalty deep in Edinburgh 22. With Dods kicking to touch for a five-meter a line out, the pack worked hard to stretch the ball to the back line. But just as they were about to go over, Lazenby blew the whistle for a red infringement, and the first half was drawn to a close.


It took some 10 minutes before a try was scored, but it was a cracker for the capital side, scored by captain Rhys Davies.

It was a penalty conceded by the South at the breakdown which set in motion Edinburgh’s try-scoring chances. Loomes successfully found touch inside the opposition’s 22, and a line out was taken well, but South were eventually penalised for being offside at the breakdown, setting up a scrum within striking distance. After a few cycles of forward ball after the scrum, Loomes ran a fantastic line to break the defence. With Fin Simpson in support, he gathered and offloaded to Davies to cross the whitewash. Loomes added the extras to narrow the deficit (29-17, 50 mins).

But the South struck back. A penalty for the South in Edinburgh’s half saw Dods once again strike for touch, finding the five-meter line. The maul from the hosts line out was initially well defended but sustained pressure to drive saw the men in red and white cross the line, with Fraser Renwick dotting down. Following his great form from the first-half, Dods converted again (36-17, 56 mins).

Proving to be a powerful force, the South added another try at the edge of the closing 10 minutes through Luke Pettie, who joined the field to replace Fraser Renwick. After a phase of strong attack inside Edinburgh’s 22, the hosts were a penalty with the visitors offside. Craig Owenson opted for a quick tap and go, looking to reach the whitewash, but was held back. But in the next phase of ball it was Pettie who dotted down. Dods added the extras once more (43-17, 70 mins).

After a back and forth final ten minutes, it was in the final play of the game, that the South added a seventh try to their tally through Ronan McKean, who received a long pass deep inside Edinburgh’s 22, to dot down. To no surprise, Dods converted again to close the game and book the South’s spot in the Inter-district Championship final (50-17, 80 mins).


The South: 15. Kirk Ford 14. Dwain Patterson 13. Andrew Mitchell 12. Craig Dods 11. Ronan McKean 10. Struan Hutchison 9. Bruce Colvine 1. Shawn Muir CAPTAIN 2. Fraser Renwick 3. Nicky Little 4. Andrew McColm 5. Shaun Fairbairn 6. Bruce McNeil 7. Liam Scott 8. Jae Linton

Replacements: 16. Matt Carryer 17. Luke Pettie 18. Craig Owenson 19. Michael Badenhorst 20. Calum Renwick 21. Gareth Welsh 22. Frankie Robson 23. Donald Crawford

Edinburgh: 15. Charlie Brett 14. Ian Sim 13. Greg Cannie 12. Neil Armstrong 11. Lewis Wells 10. Jamie Loomes 9. Aaron Porteous 8. Ruari Campbell 7. Rhys Davies CAPTAIN 6. Fin Simpson 5. Ali McCallum 4. Jamie Sword 3. Graeme Carson 2. Ryan Stewart 1. Cole Imrie

Replacements: 16. Danny Dineen 17. Chris Anderson 18. John Lascelles 19. Gregor Nelson 20. Ali Johnston 21. Cameron Lessels 22. Ben Heber 23. Benn Morris

Referee: Calum Lazenby
AR1: Scott Cubitt
AR2: Willie Anderson

Attendance: 1,514


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