Reds at Dalkeith (Jan 15)

Concentration Lapses Cost Reds Dear

Dalkeith 22 – 13  Linlithgow

Saturday 31 January 2015

Last Saturday, Linlithgow RFC were glad to have beaten the weather and managed to play some good rugby at times at a very cold Kings Park, Dalkeith.  However, a ten minute lapse in concentration just before the half-time whistle cost them dearly as they went down to a lack-lustre home team.

The Reds started the game with a strong wind behind them which ensured that they imposed pressure from the start.  The first five minutes was all Linlithgow and Dalkeith must have been worried that the visitors were going to do the double on them, following the Reds’ victory earlier in the season at Mains Park.  However, in the 7th minute, after a quick tap penalty in front of the posts, Dalkeith opened their account with a try out wide against the run of play.  The conversion was missed but the Reds have to learn not to switch off at crucial times in these important games.

John Strachan got the score board turning for the visitors four minutes later with a nicely struck penalty 30 metres out in front of the posts.  Another ten minutes of pressure and territory saw Linlithgow add to their tally, as their scrum was dominating the bigger Dalkeith pack and a penalty try was surely on the cards, when Cameron Dori-Muir went over for a good forwards try, converted by Strachan.

Unfortunately, after successive collapsed scrums, as Dalkeith struggled under the pressure of the Linlithgow front five, tight-head prop, Scott Herdman, had to leave the field.  Calum McKeown stepped up, however, to join his front row colleagues where he has been outstanding in his first year as a Senior Club player and just added to the home team’s pain at the set piece.

Strachan added another well struck penalty on the half hour mark.  With only a couple of minutes remaining in the first half, a soft try was gifted to Dalkeith through poor tackling.  The conversion was missed.

Worse was to follow for the Reds.  From the resulting restart, the home side ran the length of the pitch, only to be halted just short of the line by Chris Archer, who was shown yellow for his try-saving efforts.  This only delayed the inevitable, however, as Dalkeith’s third try came from the next line out.  This conversion, too, was missed but the home side had a half-time lead of 15-13.

Soon after the restart, Linlithgow were just back to their full complement, playing in to the strong wind, when a simple move saw the Dalkeith backs breach the midfield defence and canter in for their bonus-point try which they converted.  This ended the scoring for the day and the match was played out around the half way.  The match was becoming quite frustrating for the spectators and the match official who finally sent the home coach from the side of the pitch for his antics.

As the clock ran down, in an attempt to get a losing bonus, Linlithgow chose to kick for goal into the wind.  However, John Strachan’s kick went just past.  The only other chance Linlithgow had was a spell of really good pressure and, following repeated infringements by the home defence in their five-metre area, the referee finally gave a yellow card to Dalkeith’s Number 8.  Unforced errors from the line out, however, allowed Dalkeith to clear their lines.

The final score was Dalkeith 22 – 13 Linlithgow.  This game showed again that the young Linlithgow team can compete with the top of this league and higher, but they have to look at their own mistakes and composure, if they want to move back into the National Leagues

Team: Fraser Rankine; Euan Murray, Andrew Wood, Ben Milne and Ross Oliver; John Strachan and Dougie Thomson; Scott Herdman, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Garry Anderson and Alistair Wood; Tom Sneddon, Euan Richardson and Cameron Dori-Muir.
Replacements: Calum McKeown, Pat Bennie and Russell Murdoch.