SIX OF THE BEST SEES REDS INTO REGIONAL FINAL
Dunbar 19 – 51 Linlithgow
Saturday 07 January 2017
On Saturday Linlithgow RFC travelled to Dunbar to contest the semi-final of the BT Edinburgh Shield. The East Lothian side had defeated Linlithgow at home in the first league game of the season and the Reds had scraped home by one point in the return match at Mains Park so Linlithgow knew they had to be at their best. They were coming off the New Year victory over local rivals, Livingston, and John Chapman and Stuart Bell remained in the squad after their lengthy spells out.
Linlithgow were quick to settle and, for most of the first quarter of an hour, play was in the Dunbar half. In the 9th minute the Reds forwards drove a line-out over the line but the ball was judged to be held up. Dunbar cleared the danger but Andrew Whitelaw returned the ball into the home side half and from the play Linlithgow were awarded a penalty. The ball drifted wide and from the resulting drop-out Dunbar attacked the length of the field. They worked the ball infield and it was the Reds turn to make sure they held the ball up to prevent a score.
This led to a spell of Dunbar pressure but Linlithgow’s defence was equal to the task, as the first quarter of the game passed without any score. Linlithgow made an early substitution in the 23rd minute when Michael Robertson came on but it was fellow front-row player, Billy Edment, who broke clear a minute later through the home defence. Edment drew the last defender and offloaded a perfect pass to Euan Mochrie who went in for the first try of the match. Jack Frame stepped up to add the conversion.
Frame was called upon a few minutes later to take a penalty following a Dunbar transgression in stopping captain, Craig Scott, on the line and he successfully stretched the visitors’ lead. Dunbar were not content to play second fiddle, however. Just after the half hour mark, although the Reds pack completely disrupted the Dunbar scrum, some weak tackling allowed one of the home forwards to bundle over the line to score an unconverted try.
Linlithgow were stung into a quick riposte with Ross Plenderleith making a darting run forward. He was well supported by Robertson and Edment and Mochrie was on hand once again to take the final pass and score. Frame also followed suit with a good kick to add the two points. Dunbar returned to the attack and, as the first half was drawing to a close they forced their way forward for a second try. The home side kicker matched Frame with a superb conversion to bring up the half-time score of 17-12 in Linlithgow’s favour.
The score did not reflect the visitors’ dominance in territory and possession and Linlithgow knew they would have to begin to make these count. It was the Reds who survived an early scare in the second half, however, when two wild passes allowed Dunbar to hack the ball over the Reds line. This resulted in a scrum five to the home side but the visitors pack saw off that danger. This shook Linlithgow and Ross Martin took the ball and fed Billy Edment who went on another of his storming runs. Jack Frame arrived at speed to race over the line and score before stepping up to notch the conversion.
By this stage Plenderleith had had to retire hurt meaning Stuart Cunningham forsook his usual front-row position and came on to the wing. Stuart Bell and Cameron Dori-Muir also joined the fray, as the Linlithgow coaches rang the changes, exploiting a strong bench. Dunbar ill-discipline then cost the home side dear. Back chat at a scrum resulted in the award of a penalty against them and, minutes later, another penalty was marched back ten metres nearer the posts. Frame converted both to stretch the Reds lead to 30-12.
Dunbar then had another spell of pressure that resulted in a try in the 67th minute under the posts. Although the conversion closed the gap, the Reds once again hit back almost immediately with Michael Robertson storming over in the 70th minute to score. Frame’s continued his fine kicking form and this effectively snuffed out any hope of recovery, with the score now 37-19.
A good run by Andrew Whitelaw found Mark Caddle in support to score a try with Frame adding the conversion. As the game was nearing its conclusion, John Chapman rounded off a good display with a cross kick which Euan Murray collected and fed to Ross Martin who touched down. Jack Frame did the necessary to bring up the final score of 51-19.
This convincing victory means that Linlithgow will play host to Murrayfield Wanderers, in the Edinburgh Shield Final at a date to be confirmed.
Jack Frame; Ross Plenderleith, Andrew Whitelaw, Chris Ronalson, and Euan Murray; John Chapman and Jamie March; Steven Grant, Billy Edment and Calum McKeown; Sean Hagerty and Mark Caddle; Euan Mochrie, Craig Scott (c) and Ross Martin.
Substitutes: Michael Robertson, Cameron Dori-Muir, Stuart Bell and Stuart Cunningham.