Haddington 20 Dalziel 8

HADDINGTON sealed National League survival with a first home league win of the season on Saturday, relegating visitors Dalziel in the process.

A brace of tries from vice-captain James Ferguson and a score by veteran No.8 Colin Stuart sealed the all-important win for the hosts at Neilson Park.

Dalziel travelled in numbers, with two busloads arriving from Lanarkshire for the crunch clash, effectively a relegation play-off.

Haddington played into a strong wind in the opening 40 minutes and, despite their best efforts, struggled to get out their own half for long spells.

The visitors were unable to break down the hosts, with Paddy Brown – who suffered a broken hand early on but continued until the break – and captain Liam Clutton at the heart of a resolute defensive effort.

And their reward came on the stroke of half-time when a superb move from a scrum put Ferguson through a massive gap, and he beat the Dalziel full-back to score.

His older brother Alex (pictured in tweet below) was narrowly short with the conversion, but Haddington led 5-0.

Shortly after, the visitors looked to have struck back but were penalised for crossing in the midfield, so the Reds turned round five points to the good.

Dalziel – coached by Bengy Barsanti, a community sport hub development officer for East Lothian Council – got on the board with a penalty three minutes into the second half but Alex Ferguson responded with a penalty of his own on 50 minutes.

The Reds struck again when James Ferguson broke clear and found Stuart in support, and he dived under the posts inside the final quarter.

Ferguson Snr. converted to extend the gap to 15-3.

National league safety was secured when Ferguson Jnr. gathered a loose kick, broke up the touchline and dived in at the corner.

Dalziel had their chances – their winger dropped the ball with the line at his mercy, before Fraser Skinner’s late try gave them some hope.

They pressed late on but the Reds were victorious and ensured the club’s place in National League Division 3 for next season.

Haddington: A Ferguson, J Dewar, J Ferguson, L Clutton, E Cunningham, P Cunningham, C Simpson; G Cockburn, J Grillfors, D Bergvall, B Laing, H Hamilton, P Brown, J Riddell, C Stuart