2s v Penicuik 2s (Dec 16)

Understrength 2s Secure two Bonus Points with Gutsy Performance

Linlithgow 2s  29 – 36  Penicuik 2s

Saturday 17 December 2016

It was the final game at home before the new year and the 2s started the week with a good squad of players. As the week progressed and the party season and injuries started to take their toll the Manager was unsure what his final fifteen was going to be. Eventually five minutes before KO he had a quorum of fifteen bodies, but no subs.

Stuart Gordon, aka the Chess Master, volunteered that he had once played on the wing in his youth so was asked to move there from prop as the Manager tried to get the best combination to start the game. The game started well and Russell “Miracle” Murdoch was playing at standoff and controlling things well, ably assisted by Kevin Wilson and Colin McMorrin in the centre. The ball was worked down the park and a series of penalties resulted in a line out. A Penicuik player slapped the ball down on his own side and Lauchlan McCall, ever alert, pounced on it to score. The conversion was missed (5-0 to the Reds).

The Reds were playing good rugby but a number of wrong options where they should have scored resulted in Penicuik kicking to our end of the park and scoring from a line out and drive. (5-7)  The Reds were stung into action again and some good play from everyone with Connall Black, Lauchlan McCall and Drew Somerville to the fore resulted in a good drive for the line were they were held up. The ball came back sweetly and Robbie Thomson dived over from close range. Kevin Wilson converted to give the Reds a 12-7 half-time lead.

Penicuik came back in the second half and, using their strong bench to good advantage were they had a couple of skillfull and fast backs, from one such attack they broke and scored to level the scores at 12-12.

As Penicuik were refreshing their team, the Linlithgow side were tiring and Hugh Cochrane who had been asked to play a full game again left the park due to injury which brought the home team down to 14 men. That said, the Chess Master came back into his preferred place and from a good line out and drive Lauchlan McCall game round the side of the maul and accelerated through several defenders to score a fine try under the posts. (19-12 with 14 men).

Almost immediately the Reds suffered a further injury and Bradley Lewis, who had been playing very well, twisted his ankle and tore some ligaments resulting in the team going down to 13 men. The away team started to use the two player advantage and managed to pull ahead with three tries as the daylight faded, taking the score to 19-29.

However, the gutsy home team were not finished, and against all the odds the 13 men bounced back with two fine tries, one by Lauchlan McCall to claim his hat-trick, the other by Lewis McKie on the wing. With the score at 29-31, Kevin Wilson’s touchline conversion, which would have levelled the scores, just shaved the outside of the post.

With darkness descending and the match deep into extra time, there was just enough light for one of the fast Penicuik backs to slip through almost unnoticed for a final unconverted try. At last the referee, who had a very good game overall, blew the final whistle and the lights of the Clubhouse Lounge were glowing brightly to guide the players back into the warmth!

The final score did not reflect how well the 15 Linlithgow players had performed on the day, playing for the last 20 minutes with 13 tiring men against a team regularly refreshing with good players from the bench. Well done, though, to Penicuik who have provided excellent opposition over both home and away league matches – two close and entertaining games!

A big thanks to Alan Dowell for his help as bag man and well done to those who played. May Santa be good to you all and we will see you all ready for action in 2017.

Des Martin