Strathmore 18 Dunfermline 17

AN EPIC battle took place as Dunfermline and Strathmore clashed in the Caledonia Regional Shield.

One point was the difference for winners Strathmore as Mark Dobson’s men were knocked out of the tournament narrowly in the second round.

The Dunfermline head coach was proud of his side’s performance, stating they were “outstanding” for the majority of the match.

He said: “It was an absolute thriller between two really well-coached sides, with the game being played in the right spirit.

“My boys were gutted not to win it after putting in so much effort. We felt we had done enough to get the result but it was two errors that were taken advantage of by Strathmore.

“It was a mistimed tackle from us that gave them a try under the posts and we had to absorb pressure after that.

“It was another mistimed tackle for their second goal, so we were disappointed.

“They’ve scored from our mistakes, where our tries were exceptionally well-worked.

“We just ran out of time in the end to get the win we felt worthy of.”

Niall Campbell and Stuart Roy scored Dunfermline’s two tries, with Calum Allardice and Adam Fraser kicking over their remaining points.

Dobson had to reshuffle his side ahead of kick-off with two withdrawals on game day.

He stressed that his squad was still youthful and that they should be proud of their efforts against more experienced opposition.

He added: “I can’t knock their commitment. We were outstanding for the majority of the game against a good side.

“It’s a young XV we have, and the average age of our backline is just 21.

“They did the club proud and threw everything at them. It was a second round game that really should have been the final. It was just the luck of the draw which meant we played each other at such an early stage.

“Both teams are playing good rugby and we play them again in two weeks’ time, so we want to beat them and make it third time lucky after losing in the league to them earlier in the season."

Dunfermline's next game away to Glenrothes scheduled for tonight (Friday) was cancelled this afternoon due to a waterlogged pitch.

Dunfermline’s second XV are in action at McKane Park on Saturday morning against Glenrothes’ second XV.

It could be a big day for the squad as a bonus point victory would be enough for them to clinch the Caledonia League 4 crown.

Dobson complimented: “It shows the depth we have at the club.

“The club has a great development plan in place and, should the seconds win, they’ll be the first in Scotland to wrap up their league and be promoted to Caledonia League 3.

“No-one else has trailblazed their league like they have.”