Dundee Dragons 86-4 Keighley Cougars
Both teams were slightly depleted of playing numbers for the match with a number of Cougars regulars being unable to travel “The Road and the Miles to Dundee”. (It’s a real song, go and look it up)
Dragons had 2 call offs overnight as Mairi Simms and Conor Smart both declared themselves unavailable.
The match started right on time with Peter Lowis and Jamie Seery refereeing, Dundee dragons started brightly and scored very quickly through Stewart Squire making his Challenge Cup debut.
Tries quickly followed through Michael Mellon, Ian McKeen, another making his Challenge Cup debut and Ronny Robb taking the Dragons into a healthy lead.
Cougars started to put some excellent passages of play together finished off with a delicate chip from Sahail Ahmed, sending the Dragons defence into a spin, and a neat touch down from James Kaye.
The game then kind of got bogged down in a midfield battle with mishandling, kicking, some great some not so great, and Dragons continuing to build their lead, predominantly through McKeen and Mellon, although some of the place kicking would not have been out of place at a pre-school rugby session.
The first half stumbled to an end with Dragons 40 points to 4 ahead, but Cougars were not being rewarded for their considerable efforts to break down a tough and aggressive Dundee defence with David Birtles putting in tackle after tackle.
The Dundee defence had subsequently been bolstered by Scotland captain Graeme Stewart and Dundee’s player of the match from the Challenge Cup in 2016 Jen Scally.
The second half started in a very calm fashion with both teams starting to play with much more shape and playing out their sets in a more organised way.
Dragons remained on top with once again Mellon and McKeen adding scores, Scally getting in on the scoring action and Robb completing his double following a Gemma Lumsdaine miss pass, which may have knocked out a spectator or 2 if it hadn’t been plucked out of the air.
Lumsdaine then got in on the scoring action with her first competitive try for the club in her Challenge Cup debut.
The match came to an end with Squire completing his double and completing the scoring in what was a comprehensive victory for the Dragons but not without some real challenges and a few little angry moments which were consigned to history as soon as the final whistle was blown.
Cougars, although finding it difficult to break out off their half at times, fought with a real vigour and never gave up at any point during the game.
Dundee Dragons march on to the Quarter finals where doubtless a major challenge awaits, but the signs are good for this inexperienced group of players who simply crave game time.