Reds 2s Add Another Bonus Point Win to their Fine Tally
Stewarts Melville 3s 22 – 39 Linlithgow 2s
Saturday 18 November 2017
The early KO for the Scotland game did not affect the numbers for this away game and a strong squad set off for Edinburgh. The pitches at Stewarts Melville were in excellent condition and it was for the Reds to play down the slope in the first half after Robbie Thomson had won the toss of the coin. Kevin Wilson starting at centre assumed the kicking duties and from an early penalty to the Reds he used the wind to spiral the ball down the park to touch. From the resultant line out were the ball was won by Cal Thomson the backs spun the ball through the hands of Kevin Wilson and John Strachan to end up with Cammy Walker who rounded his man and scored. Conversion missed, 5-0 to the Reds.
Stewarts Melville came back strongly and after some indecision by the Reds half backs the opposition team managed a try in the corner, 5 points each after 15 minutes. The Reds now realised that this might not be the walkover some had expected. Although some of the Stewarts Melville players were near the age of the Reds Manager they had played rugby at a higher level and were technically very sound in all aspects of their play. However the Reds had a distinct advantage in that there is speed and youth in abundance in this side and before long Mayo Herdman broke down the wing well supported by the two Thomson brothers, Cal and Robbie. The ball came out quickly from the ruck and the ball was passed along the line for Cammy Walker to score his second try converted by Kevin Wilson. 12-5 to the Reds.
The team were playing with better structure now and from another penalty the ball was stroked down the park to touch and from a line out and ensuing ruck Stu Young was lurking, he took the ball well at first receiver and bounced off a number of players to score a nice try. Kevin Wilson converted to make it 19-5 to the Reds.
Calum McKeown came off after a hard shot to the rib cage with a shoulder tackle to be replaced by Hasan Gulam Ilter at prop and the Reds continued to play nice rugby down the park with Wilson and Strachan linking well. Ross Oliver, back from a recent cosmetic injury, latched unto a nice pass from Wilson in one of these moves and jinked his way over between the posts for a try, converted by Wilson, 26-5 to the Reds at half time.
Changes were made at half time with Kevin Wilson coming off injured and being replaced by Jeff Martin, Sam McAllister and Guy Sutherland on the wings and Rory MacAdam at full back. The Reds were now playing up hill in the second half and the Manager was aware of the difficulty this can create playing against an astute and experienced side. And so it proved any loose or open play ball was booted down the slope into the Reds 22.
The Reds fielded and returned the ball well but the Stewarts Melville team scored 3 more tries in this period to make the score 26-24 to the Reds and the opposition had their tails up. Fortunately the Reds defended well, settled down and got a couple of penalties which took them to the Stewarts Melville line. From a nice line out and drive the forwards worked their way to the line and Stu Young burrowed over and came up with his second try. 31-24 to the Reds. Good control from the Reds coupled with indiscipline by the Stewarts Melville team ended with a penalty in front of their posts which John Strachan converted to give breathing space as there were only about 5 minutes left on the clock. The score was now 34-22 in favour of the Reds.
The Reds continued to defend well and play measured rugby after their earlier scare and from a line out on approximately the half way line Colin McMorrin picked up the ball made a great break, he was supported by Sam Buckley who sprinted the last twenty metres to the line to score, 39-22. The final whistle went shortly afterwards with another good bonus point win for this team.
Well done all but as Gus McNab, one of the more senior and unsung heroes of the team suggested, we need harder hits and harder tackling at the breakdown as this nearly became our downfall in the second half. This is something we will all need to do better if we get promotion to the higher reserve leagues.