Dunfermline 31 Strathmore 64, National League Division Four

GAVIN EMERSON said that Saturday's "sore" loss to Strathmore should tell his Dunfermline players what they need in order to compete against National League Division Four's top sides.

Despite scoring five tries to secure a bonus point, the McKane Park men's first XV conceded 10 scores as their Forfar-based opponents swept to a convincing success.

It was an eighth loss of the season for Dunfermline, promoted last year as Caledonia Region League Division One champions, who remain sixth in the table.

Strathmore, who sit third, were 31-12 to the good at the interval, and home head coach Emerson conceded that his team were beaten by the better side.

However, he also hopes his men will learn from a tough 80 minutes, commenting: "For us, we knew what it was going to be like, and we knew what they were going to do.

"We thought we gave the guys the tools to do it, but I think that's just a learning curve for us that they've played national rugby for a long time. They're experienced, they've got some good players that have come back in from higher level clubs.

"That's hopefully showed the boys what they need to be like to really compete at that level.

"The scoreboard shows that it was a sore one, but there are lessons we can take away from that. If the boys want to be serious about playing higher up in the nationals, then that's what we need to do, and how physical and physically prepared the boys need to be, in mind and body, to compete there."

Emerson continued: "They were good. I couldn't take that away from them. They were a lot more physical, a lot more direct.

"We still scored five tries, and still got a bonus point, but we just couldn't match them in their attack. 

"The boys didn't put in what we asked them to in terms of how to defend against them. We told them how they were going to play, who their big ball carriers were going to be, but, unfortunately, we just reverted back to type.

"We were tackling too high, we were allowing them to get the momentum and go forward, and it took us two to three tackles to try and bring them down.

"Yes, they were big, yes they were physical, and they beat us in that department, but we didn't really help ourselves, so it was a shame.

"I'm really happy to come away with a point though. We always say let's try and leave with something, and we managed that."

The coach reflected: "It's something we just need to try and learn from and be ready when we go up to Forfar to play them later in the season.

"It was disappointing to take that sort of score as well, especially at home. Only really Garnock (league leaders) have done that to us (a 46-14 win in November).

"Strathmore hadn't played since December 16, they've had a long time off, and they were really good. I said that to their captain after the game. I said you played really well today, you beat us in the physicality department, and much deserved what they took away from the game."

Dunfermline's next scheduled match is on Saturday February 17 at Garnock.

Meanwhile, Dunfermline's ladies have been awarded a 28-0 win over Cartha Queen's Park second XV in their second match of the Women's National Shield, due to their opponents having insufficient players to fulfil the fixture.

Their next match in the competition is at Wigtownshire on Sunday February 18.