2s Emerge on Top in Ding-Dong Contest at Mains Park
Linlithgow 2s 22 – 21 Currie 3s
Saturday 20 October 2018
(Match report by Ken Richardson)
With the manager away on holiday, stand-in assistant Neil Dori-Muir welcomed the return of last season’s captain Gus McNab to a young but strong 2s side. The visitors were Currie 3s, who’s 1st XV are currently enjoying a fine run in the top league of Scottish rugby.
A late change saw Drew Sommerville step into the second row in the absence of Conall Black, with debutant Charlie Akhurst claiming his place on the bench. The match started and continued at a high pace as both sides were keen to run the ball at every sensible opportunity.
For the first 15 minutes, Currie had the lion’s share of territory and possession and their quick backs looked dangerous with ball in hand. Indeed, it was no surprise that Currie claimed the first points of the match, attacking at pace from just inside their own half and spreading the ball wide to score a converted try after a lovely handling interchange between supporting runners out wide.
The score seemed to jolt the Reds into action and two powerful runs by Drew Sommerville carried them well into their opponents half. From one such breenging run in the middle of the park, quick ball came back to stand-off Kevin Wilson. He spotted that most of the Currie defenders were up flat and his clever chip through released centre Euan Muzz Murray whose pace beat the defenders to dive on the ball and claim Linlithgow’s first points. A tricky conversion out wide was potted by Kevin Wilson and the scores were now tied at 7-7.
The Reds were now in the ascendancy and the back row of PJ Singleton, Aaron Flucker and Gus McNab, ably supported by hooker Stuart Young, were very much to the fore as they piled the pressure on Currie. Again a score came from a direct run by Drew Sommerville and quick ball from the resultant ruck which was beautifully exploited by the Reds’ backs. Simple clean passing at pace exploited the overlap, with Jeff Martin’s final pass putting Jack Frame in unopposed in the corner for an unconverted try which gave the Reds a 12-7 lead with half-time approaching.
If the Reds thought they could kick on in the second half, then they hadn’t reckoned on a resilient and skillfull Currie side who, from the kick off, put great pressure on the home side, with wave after wave of attack. Desparate defence, with every player playing their part kept the visitors out, but as the penalty count rose it was just a matter of time before the referee went to his pocket – PJ Singleton being adjudged to have transgressed and consequently receiving a yellow card.
A superb turnover, near his own line, by Stuart Young wasn’t enough to keep the visitors at bay while they had a numerical advantage, but it took another lovely move and a great chip ahead by the full back before Currie finally breached the Reds’ line to reclaim the lead at 14-12 with a converted try.
Straight from the restart, Aaron Flucker turned over the ball after a solid tackle and again quick ball was exploited well when Kevin Wilson put through a beautifully weighted chip for winger Andrew Blyth to kick ahead and claim a well worked try. With the conversion missed this gave the Reds the lead back at 17-14. Currie came right back at Linlithgow and scored again again after a lovely move involving interplay between backs and forwards. The conversion was made and Currie were once more back in the lead at 21-17.
As the game entered the final minutes, Linlithgow stepped up their game again – a great 15 man effort and a score was only denied by some great defending by the visitors. As so often happens when a team holds out after sustained pressure, Currie let their concentration slip and flanker Aaron Flucker seized on a loose ball in midfield to drive 30 metres deep into Currie territory. Once again, quick ball from the resulting breakdown was well exploited by the Reds and Muzz Murray had enough space to round his opposite number to claim the Reds’ bonus point try and to regain the lead for the Reds at 22-21, with the difficult conversion missed.
With little time left, the Reds kept Currie at bay until the final play of the match, when Currie were awarded a penalty just inside the Linlithgow half. Although the kick was well struck, it was always wide and the home side claimed a fine win, albeit by the closest of margins, against a very good side. Both sides had enjoyed what was a highly competitive match played in a good spirit and retired to the Clubhouse to enjoy a fine curry and a couple of refreshments!
Jack Frame; Andrew Blyth, Jeff Martin, Euan Murray, Guy Sutherland; Kevin Wilson, Robbie Thomson; Sam Buckley, Stuart Young, Matt Sommerville; Lewis McKie, Drew Sommerville; PJ Singleton, Aaron Flucker and Gus McNab.
Subs: Stuart Gordon and Charlie Akhurst.