Stuffy Away Win for Reds in Borders
Duns 5 Linlithgow 27
Saturday 07 March 2020
Match report by Craig Young
Linlithgow travelled to Duns on Saturday for the last away game of the season in good form, having won their last two matches. A very cold wind gave the Reds the slight advantage in the first half. Duns had started the season well, but have lost form recently and this is a place where Linlithgow have not played well for a few years.
Linlithgow took the kick off and were immediately on the attack as Duns failed to secure possession – the result was a penalty for Linlithgow which was slotted by Jack Frame from the ten metre line. Duns came back almost immediately and with their first attack scored in the corner, although one or two of the Linlithgow players hesitated thinking there had been an infringement. The conversion fell short.
Linlithgow soon had another chance to re-take the lead, but the penalty from the ten metre line fell just short. The Reds were under a bit of pressure after that, but solid defence repelled each attack. Midway through the half, and the Linlithgow backs had hardly stretched their legs, as they struggled to get possession. That all changed when Michael Doneghan collected the ball just outside the 22 and took the direct route through the Duns centres, using his pace and strength and scoring under the posts. Jack Frame duly potted the conversion to give the Reds a 10-5 lead.
The game was quite physical and tempers frayed after one breakdown. The result was a yellow card for each team (Kieran Cochrane’s first ever in senior rugby), although neither the crowd nor the referee seemed quite sure if the correct two had been binned! The Duns pack were all big, and were trying to bully the Reds’ forwards, but Linlithgow were not for giving way. The pitch was very heavy and players were losing their footing all the time.
Just before half time Linlithgow scored a second try as David Jeff Martin spotted an opening down the blind side, scampering over from 22 yards out into the corner unopposed, the conversion falling short. This gave the Reds a half-time lead of 15-5.
The second half seemed pretty even, but with the Duns big forwards tiring, Linlithgow brought on Ross Martin and Steven Grant. Duns were reduced to 14 men as a high tackle was made on Ross Plenderleith as the wing broke. Soon after, sub Ross Tulloch scored after good play again by Doneghan. The conversion was missed. The bonus try wasn’t long in coming as Linlithgow kicked ahead and the Duns defender (under a lot of pressure) gave up the ball to David Martin who popped up the pass for Ross Tulloch to go over for his second try of the day, Frame converting.
Director of Rugby, David Mitchell, was delighted with the bonus point away win at a place where Linlithgow don’t have a good recent record. “Against a big Duns pack, our forwards knuckled down and produced a strong performance” said David. “We also benifited from having a strong bench, with all 19 players contributing to a fine away win.”
The Reds have just one league match left and it’s at home on Saturday 21 March to league leaders Haddington. “We’ll be going all out to maintain our fine home record and finish the season off in style” said David.
Jack Frame; David Martin, Michael Doneghan, Mark Green, Ross Plenderleith; Aidan Rennison, Struan McLean; Euan Gunn, Adam Scott, Colin Devlin; Fraser Mochrie, Neil Lockhart; Euan Mochrie (captain), Kieran Cochrane and Mark Caddle.
Subs: Jamie Finlayson, Ross Martin, Steven Grant and Ross Tulloch.