Dundee HS FP 17,

Edinburgh Academicals 6

DUNDEE High School FP have known the extremes in emotion this season.

Dejection through ejection from the national league's first division was

followed by elation in winning the Alloa Brewery Cup -- and a #5000

cheque -- by beating Edinburgh Academicals on Saturday at Meggetland.

Victory was also a farewell gift for David Leslie, Dundee's coach for

the past six years. The former international captain confirmed after the

final that he was stepping down, at least from the first XV. Lower

teams, however, will benefit from his expertise and experience in future


Leslie suggested that Andy Nicol will probably come through as club

captain. It is a logical assumption when the scrum half is to lead

Scotland on the Pacific tour, and the coach saw this as the right time

''to step back and give Andy a bit of space.''

Saturday's final on a cool afternoon was not an outstanding match. The

result was hewn from a solid, uninspiring contest by hard labour and

consistent hammering on one tack. Yet it had a gem, a try that sparkled

in Nicol's sharp wit.

Dundee were leading 12-6, with less than 10 minutes left and

Academicals still occasionally threatening, when the Taysiders were

awarded a scrummage free kick nearly 40 metres out. Nicol snapped up the

ball, tapped it, and was away before the majority of Academicals even

realised they had been penalised.

Two opponents might have stopped him. Neither reached him, and Nicol

dived over for the score that tied up the result.

It was the only try of the match. The contest needed it, and the score

was also proof of the value of this season's law change that allows a

free kick or a penalty to be taken before all of the benefiting team's

players have retired behind the ball. Rarely, though, has it been

exploited as the international scrum half did on Saturday.

Other scores were all penalty goals. Jon Newton kicked four, though

failing with one as well as the conversion attempt from well out on the

right, whereas Rowen Shepherd was successful with only two out of seven.

Newton's scores took his cup tally to 75 points, the best by anyone in

the tournament. For that he received a special prize, two crystal

tankards, as did John Jardine, who led the tournament's try-scoring list

with seven.

A high proportion of the penalties in the match -- 20 against Dundee,

14 against Academicals -- were for offences with the ball on the ground.

It was that sort of negative game, but Johnny Bacigalupo, the Edinburgh

Wanderers referee, was merely trying to teach the lesson on how rugby is

a game for players on their feet, though he could have been more strict

in dealing with two instances of stamping as well as the punch that

broke Guthrie Batchelor's jaw late in the match.

As a rugby contest, it was not an entertainment.

Dave McIvor relished such a game, typified by his try-saving tackle on

Mark Lamont early in the second half, while Nicol combined with his

breakaways in tying up the close quarters and Paul Rouse and Nigel

Douglas blocked off the midfield.

Academicals had enough possession in the first half to have had a tidy

lead by the interval despite Stewart Campbell's towering dominance of

the early lineouts for Dundee. Here surely was one who ought to be going

on Scotland's tour to Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa -- Scottish rugby

needs to develop such promising talent.

Dundee led 6-3 at the interval, and more Newton penalty goals, in 52

and 64 minutes, took them seemingly to safety at 12-3. Shepherd's

second, however, immediately pulled the margin back within range, but

only after Nicol's try did Academicals expand their game. Simon Burns

escaped on the left, denied close to the line, and a penalty there would

have been more profitable had not Chris Simmers's pass eluded Gary Bowe

in the right corner. It was too little too late even though Bacigalupo

extended the match and the season with six minutes' injury time.

Dundee HS FP -- M Lamont; J R Jardine, P R Rouse, N Douglas, C R H

Newton; J R Newton, A D Nicol; J J Manson, B Cairney, D Herrington, S J

Campbell, A Baxter, W A Keys, N Ritchie, G M Batchelor. Replacement -- D

R Milne for Batchelor (74 minutes).

Edinburgh Academicals -- S A D Burns; G Bowe, C T Simmers, R J S

Shepherd, J F Swanson; B Hay-Smith, I Mclean; D J Wilson, M W Scott, S

Cully, A R Adamson, J F Richardson, D J McIvor, M J McVie, A Richardson.

Replacements -- R J Parrott for A Richardson (66), C Malcolm-Smith for

Cully (78).

Referee -- J C Bacigalupo (Edinburgh Wanderers).

* A PERSISTENT hamstring injury has forced Mark Appleson to withdraw

from Scotland's squad for the Pacific tour. His place has been taken by

a fellow London Scot, Nick Grecian.