Reds at Broughton (Oct 19)

Reds Edge Narrow Victory on the Road

Broughton 13 – 15  Linlithgow

Saturday 05 October 2019

Linlithgow RFC First XV travelled to Edinburgh to play Broughton FP in good heart after the Reds’ thrilling home victory the previous week against table-topping Hawick Harlequins.  The weather closed in about half an hour before kick-off at a wet and cold Wardie.  

The game had barely begun when Linlithgow were forced to make a change in their back row with an injury meaning McKillion had to be replaced by Archer.  The home side established an early dominance and Linlithgow were being forced to defend doggedly.  After ten minutes of pressure Broughton won a penalty but the kick slid past the post.  This did not alter the pattern of play and a second turnover by the Reds defence cleared the danger when a try looked certain.

Just after the first 15 minutes, Linlithgow had their first serious visit to the home side’s half and forced a line-out.  Caddle then had two good breaks in quick succession.  On the second occasion Thomson ran in good support but he was brought down in the Broughton 22, with the defence scrambling the ball back upfield.

In the 22nd minute, the Reds’ forwards were penalised when they appeared to have the upper hand in a scrum.  Broughton moved the ball quickly and their left winger ran round the defence to score.  The conversion was missed but the home score seemed to galvanise Linlithgow.  Green burst forward and when he was brought down, the resulting play led to a penalty for Linlithgow which Frame pushed slightly wide.  The Reds settled into a conservative game.  Their line-out was looking comfortable and their forwards were picking and driving to make some headway.

Nevertheless, the home side rolled play back towards the Reds try line and it took some excellent goal-line defence to prevent Broughton from securing a second try.  This culminated in the sixth turnover by the Reds’ defence in the first half.  The hardy group of Linlithgow supporters were given some glimmer of hope when Frame lifted the siege with a bursting run deep into the Broughton half.  Again, Thomson was on hand to provide good support but the home side scramble defence managed to prevent a score and the half ended with Broughton narrowly leading by the single score: 5-0.

Grant replaced Devlin in the front row as the second half got under way and he was called into action immediately when, from the restarting kick, Broughton knocked on.  The young scrum half, Struan Mclean, fed the ball to Murrie who ran a super line to touch the ball down without a hand being laid on him.  Frame added the two points to give Linlithgow the lead.

If the travelling support thought this was a signal for the Reds to prosper, they were to be disappointed.  As in their previous away game in Edinburgh, the Reds attack repeatedly broke down when cheap penalties were conceded.  This prevented any continuity of play and, in the 55th minute, Linlithgow were further punished when the Broughton kicker sent one through the posts to re-establish the home side’s narrow lead.

Just after the hour the last personnel change was made when Lockhart came on for Thomson.  Not long after, Linlithgow were awarded their first penalty of the half.  This was just inside the home side’s half and, as Frame lined up the kick, one Broughton player was heard to describe the kicker as “ambitious”.  Frame’s ambition was rewarded when his superb kick sailed through the posts.

From the restart, Linlithgow conceded a penalty and the Reds once again faced a period of pressure.  Their defence was holding out well but were also conceding penalties.  After four in quick succession, the referee decided enough was enough and Green was shown a yellow card with just over ten minutes to play.  Almost immediately, the inevitable happened.  Broughton moved the ball along the backs and Linlithgow ran out of players, allowing the left winger to score his second try to restore Broughton’s lead at 13-10.

The Reds were stung into reply and, despite the deficit in numbers, took the play into the Broughton half.  In the 75th minute they were awarded a penalty on the five metre line.  They opted for a scrum and the pack drove the home forwards back over the line, allowing Caddle to touch down for the try.  The conversion was missed.

There were only minutes to play as Broughton surged forward with Linlithgow well aware that yet another penalty close to the posts would give the home side an opportunity to win the game.  The Reds were penalised far out and Broughton opted to go for a line-out in last play of the game.  Their kick did not find touch, landing instead in Murrie’s arms.  As he kicked the ball out to end the game as a 15-13 victory to Linlithgow, the loud roar of relief from the travelling support was probably heard at Mains Park.

The weather was atrocious and credit to both teams for some good handling of a difficult ball and for serving up an enthralling, if not vintage, game of rugby.  The home side belied their league position with some positive attacking play and the Reds responded with tremendous work in defence.  They will, however, need to eliminate the penalties they are conceding in order to maintain their position in Tennents East League One, where they currently lie in joint second place, one point behind the leaders.

Linlithgow 

Ally McLean, Euan Mochrie (c) and Colin Devlin; Ross Martin and Kieran Cochrane; Mark Caddle, Cal Thomson and Joe McKillion; Struan McLean and Aidan Rennison; Cammy Murrie, Mark Green, Ross Tulloch and Cammy Walker; Jack Frame.  

Substitutes: Steven Grant, Andrew Archer and Neil Lockhart