Tennent's Caledonia Region League, Division One: Aberdeen Wanderers 12 Dunfermline 83

GAVIN EMERSON said that it was a shame Dunfermline "never had a camera in place" to capture the action from their emphatic win at Aberdeen Wanderers on Saturday.

The McKane Park club's men's first XV racked up an impressive 13 tries, and secured a bonus point within 31 minutes, as they made it two wins from two in their bid to win promotion from Tennent's Caledonia Region League, Division One.

Dunfermline were eager to build on their opening-day win against Aberdeenshire, which also brought them a try-scoring bonus point.

Wanderers had won 24-20 when the teams last met in the Granite City last season, a result which hampered Dunfermline's chances of promotion, but it was a different story in what was the hosts' first game of the season.

Although Aberdeen crossed for the contest's first score, Emerson's team responded well, and went into the half-time break with a 48-7 lead.

Despite already securing a bonus point, the West Fifers continued to search for more after the break and they finished up with an 83-12 victory, which saw two of their players score three tries each.

Dunfermline lead the way at the top of the table on points difference from Grangemouth Stags and Ellon, who have also opened their campaigns with a pair of five-point hauls, and head coach Emerson said: "It's a shame we never had a camera in place.

"The boys have started really well, especially considering that, last season, they went up to Aberdeen and lost. It shows that the boys have improved over the course of pre-season.

"We conceded the first score, believe it or not, but the boys reacted well. There were some really good scores, good cross-field kicks, and we had patience. When we had the ball in our third, we exited really well, and had a good defensive chase that put pressure on Wandies.

"We played as a team and it really is a shame there's no video to allow the boys to watch it back.

"We were 48-7 up at half-time and we challenged the boys not to sit back and take the win but to push on, and they did.

"It adds pressure because, now we're at the top, people want to chase us."

Next up is a home match with Blairgowrie, who had been scheduled to be Wanderers' opening day opponents, but could not fulfil the fixture.

"We're in a good place and I'm excited we've got another home game," Emerson continued.

"We've got our eyes on Grangemouth, who we go to the week after, as they're looking good with the results they've had, but, at home, the level of support the guys get helps when they're struggling, and gives them an extra boost to do the work required to get the win.

"Our aim is to win another bonus point. Every game, we'll look for five points, because I think it'll get down to the nitty gritty with Grangemouth and Ellon."

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Dunfermline's women's side returned to action in Tennent's Caledonia Midlands/East Region League One.

Following their opening-day defeat at Strathmore, Gary Kenhard's team played their first league match of the campaign on home turf where, in a hard-fought match, they went down 29-12 to Kirkcaldy.

They are back in action tomorrow, at Livingston, with kick-off 2pm. The men's match with Blairgowrie, this afternoon, starts at 3pm.

Tennent’s Caledonia Midlands Region League, Division Three: Rosyth Sharks 24 Dunfermline 2nd XV 22

ROSYTH Sharks marked their first league match since returning to Harley Street by claiming derby honours in a thriller on Saturday.

Mark Love’s team had been due to host Howe Crusaders for their opening home game seven days prior but the cancellation of the domestic calendar by Scottish Rugby, due to the passing of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, prevented that.

They did, however, welcome Dunfermline’s second XV to their home pitch on Saturday and, in what was a momentous day for the club, came out on top by just two points.

Sharks, who have played out of their Harley Street base for almost 30 years, had not staged a competitive league match at home since before the outbreak of COVID-19.

In March last year, an arson attack on its clubhouse saw the club fearing for its future amid existing financial pressures caused by restrictions during the pandemic, and forced them to play home fixtures at Dunfermline’s McKane Park.

However, an online crowdfunding campaign raised more than £9,000 to help rebuild, repair and update the clubhouse, which sustained extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

This summer, they were given the green light to return – although changing facilities for teams are located within Parkgate Community Centre – and their first match back came last month in a friendly against Murrayfield Wanderers.

The Sharks were looking to bounce back from their opening day 28-24 defeat at Bannockburn, while Dunfermline arrived having lost 30-14 at Grangemouth Stags second XV.

It was, however, the home side who came out on top in thrilling fashion.
They led 14-12 at the interval and, after both teams scored 10 points each after the break, the Sharks had done enough to secure victory.

This afternoon, they travel to Bo’ness, while Dunfermline host Howe Crusaders at McKane Park, with both matches starting at 3pm.