2s at Kelso (Dec 19)

Reds 2s Match Up to Kelso 2s

Kelso 2s  31 – 17  Linlithgow 2s

Saturday 14 December 2019

Report by David Mitchell

The Reds 2nd XV travelled to the Borders for a League encounter against Kelso with only 16 players but they turned in a very brave performance and were unlucky to lose against an opposition with the luxury of 5 replacements. Craig Johnston was making his club debut performance and showed up well early on and will have benefitted from the experience.

On a surprisingly sound surface and in very good weather conditions, the visitors dominated the opening exchanges and were unlucky not to score and early try when the backs just failed to engineer a score in the corner. This was quickly followed by a great individual effort from Adam Scott who rampaged through and was held up just short of the line. Kelso came more into the game and on one of their few visits to Linlithgow’s 22, they scored a try. However straight from the kick off the Reds flanker Stuart Somervail gathered the ball and thrust into the heart of the home defence and after 2 or 3 excellent offloads between the pack, Euan Murray crashed over with a couple of home defenders on his back. Cammy Walker assumed the kicking duties and stroked the conversion between the posts to make the score 5-7.

In a keenly contested 1st half the lead changed hands regularly and following a Kelso converted try, man of the match Stuart Somervail ploughed over the Kelso line to score a fine try which was again converted by the reliable boot of Walker. The home side did score the final try of the half to make the half time score 19-17, Cammy Walker kicking the Reds’ other points from a penalty.

In the 2nd half, the Reds again had the better of the territorial game but could not score despite some strong play by Chris Bredin, David Martin and Cammy Walker all of whom made good breaks, however the home team always seemed to have a defender in place to stop the score. The Linlithgow forward pack competed well during the whole game although began to tire in the last 20 minutes as the lack of replacements began to affect the performance. Despite having a player red carded, Kelso were able to deploy their bench effectively and they scored another try in the corner.

All of the pack deserved credit for continuing to give their all with particular mention of Gus McNab who brought his experience to bear on many occasions and lasted well despite a 12 month absence. Euan Murray, Lewis Herdman and Matty Fairbanks all scavenged well and harried the home defence at every opportunity and the front 5 gave their all in the scrums and loose play against bigger opposition.

Kelso scored a late converted try to make the final score 31-17 which did not really reflect the closeness of the game. Overall this was a very gutsy performance by a 16 man squad with many playing out of position. They lost Russell Murdoch within the first 15 minutes with a leg injury and therefore everyone else had to stay on the field for the full 80 minutes. Team Manager Des Martin was rightly proud of the performance and with a bit more good fortune and a stronger bench the game could well have been won.

Finally the game was affected by the referee’s struggle to control the play effectively. He tried his best to handle the frustrations of the players but was unsuccessful in stamping his authority on the game and many decisions seemed to be disputed by the players as the game went on. However without referees, games cannot be played so players must try to respect the officials and those in charge of match official appointments need to make sure that they select the appropriate level of referee for every game.