2s v Preston Lodge (March 17)

Cracking Performance and Win for Reds 2s

Linlithgow 2s  33 – 10  Preston Lodge 2s

Saturday 11 March 2017

Lauchlan McCall makes another break

On Saturday, the Reds 2s welcomed Preston Lodge to Mains Park. The visitors, whose first team plays in National League 2, lie third in the reserve league above Linlithgow, so the manager knew that this would be a tough game.

The match kicked off at 1-15pm due to the Scotland v England game being played at 4pm. The manager was confident that the Reds 2s would put in a good performance as his squad had been bolstered by three quality additions on the Friday night – two Archers and young Lyle Martin – bringing the squad numbers up to 20.  This means, of course, opportunities for rotation of the team and replacements as and when required. The game started at a tremendous pace with good off loading and support play by many in the team. Andrew and Matthew Archer carried the ball at pace and offloaded to Russell Murdoch who popped the ball up to James Timlin who dotted the ball down for a score, Russell Murdoch converting to make it 7-0 to the Reds.

Ross Oliver had a fine game and injected pace into the attack

The game continued with some bright passages of play punctuated with a number of penalties against the home team, which lost them hard yards won. However, discipline improved as the players settled into their game and this soon brought dividends.

The Reds stuck to their task of playing open rugby with Ross Oliver and Ally Walker supporting the Archers and Duncan McClymont carrying the ball forward at every opportunity. From one such foray, Lauchlan McCall appeared on the end of the pass to score. Lauchlan has been involved in his primary sport of gymnastics this last couple of games and we have missed his all action style and support play in the team. 12-0 to Linlithgow at half-time.

Sam MacAllister goes over for a fine try

The second half saw the introduction of a new front row of Hussan Ilter at tight head, Bradley Lewis at hooker and Lyle Martin at loose head. Lyle was replacing the “Chess Master” Stuart Gordon who had taken a bad elbow to the eye which was swollen and needed attention.  Lewis McKie went on on the wing for Guy Sutherland and Kyle Dunlop came on in the centre for Colin McMorrin.

It took the new front row time to settle down as the hugely experienced and verbose loose-head for PL continued to give every one advice and the young referee and our less experienced props were unsettled by this. However despite his best efforts, Hussan and Lyle started to get the better of the older, heavier more experienced PL front row.

Matthew Archer capped a fine game with this try

The Reds were playing some good open rugby and stretching the experienced visitors. Sam McAllister, always eager to carry, was on the end of another good piece of support play by Ross Oliver, who had weaved and jinked up the park, to score another try which was beautifully converted from out wide on the wrong touchline by Russell Murdoch. 19-0 to the Reds.

Gus McNab, who had been quiet in the first half came off and admitted he had hurt his ribs the week before but had never said anything, was replaced by Matthew Archer at number eight.  Preston Lodge, never out of the game, then scored their first try (19-5).

For the next 15 minutes the game swung back and forward, as gradually the Reds regained the upper hand. From a quick tap after a penalty on the PL 22, Andrew Archer made a half break and put his brother Matthew in for a fine try under the posts, which Russell Murdoch converted (26-5). It wasn’t long before Matthew returned the favour, sending Andrew Archer crashing in for the Reds’ fifth try of the day, again converted by Russell Murdoch (33-5).

The players from both sides were beginning to tire as the game had been played at a furious pace and Connall Black, Lauchan McCall and Lyle Martin all had put in tremendous shifts. It’s also worth mentioning the young referee, Aaron Laurenson. This was his first match at this level and he handled a potentially difficult game very well with great calmness and consistency throughout.

About five minutes from the end Preston Lodge deservedly claimed their second try, taking the score to 33-10. The last play of the game saw the Reds on the attack and held up over the line as time ran out. A good performance all round with the Archers as the chief carriers and lynch pins but supported well by a cast of others including Black, McCall, Black, Martin, Oliver and Mc Clymont.

Two more league games to come – Forresters and Stewarts Melville – both at home so please make your selves available.

View match photos courtesy of Neil Dunlop