East League Division 1 – 4th September 2021
Match report – Forrester 37 – 21 Linlithgow
Under strength Reds taste defeat at Forrester
Following an unbeaten pre-season run of friendly matches against strong opposition, the Reds were looking forward to a successful outing in their 1st league match of the season at Forrester. It was evident from the August period that numbers at training were good and the success on the field was building up the confidence of the team who should have taken real momentum into this game.
However, an extra ordinary number of players became unavailable to play which is hard to explain. In the pre-season games we fielded 57 different players over 5 games but for the 1st league fixture, there were 6 changes from the team that triumphed at Grangemouth last week along with 3 positional changes. Forrester deserved their win this afternoon but we contributed hugely by the lack of commitment to being available to play. Undoubtedly there will have been some unavoidable unavailability however it seems that some players are just not committed enough to support their team mates and the Club by being regularly available to pull on the Red Jersey.
The home team quickly dominated territory and possession and it was no real surprise when they scored a converted try within 10 minutes of the start. The Reds continued to give away regular penalties many of which seemed to result from the home vocal crowd influencing the referee. Forrester scored another converted try which also resulted in debut player Gregor McLean having to leave the field with an injury. He was replaced by Sean Hagerty with Stuart Cunningham moving into the back division and some team rearrangement being required.
The home team extended their lead with a penalty kick before the Reds finally got some possession of the ball and put pressure on the home defence. In the end, after a tap penalty, the ball was moved wide and Ross Tulloch took the ball near the touchline and battered his way through several tackles to cross for an excellent try which was well converted from the touchline by Gregor Stewart. Any hope of a revival by the visitors was quickly quashed as Forrester kicked a penalty and scored an unconverted try to make the half time score 25-7.
The 2nd half started in a similar fashion to the 1st half with an early unconverted home try. The Reds then seemed to gain the upper hand and following good work by Struan McLean and Jamie Finlayson, captain Euan Mochrie barged through the home defence for a nice try which was well converted by Gregor Stewart. The away support were hoping that this would lead to a strong finish from the Reds but again Forrester sneaked in for a converted try to make the score 37-14.
In the remaining 10 minutes or so, Forrester committed quite a number of infringements leading to the referee showing yellow cards to 2 of their team. The Reds battle hard to breach the home defence and were rewarded just before the final whistle when Euan Mochrie scored near the posts. The conversion ended the scoring and the final result was a 37-21 win for Forrester.
This was a poor result to start the league campaign and the Reds will need to be on better form next week when the visitors will be Ross High from Tranent. Another consequence of the poor player numbers was that the 2nd XV could not be fielded.
The senior coaches have put a lot of time and effort into preparing the teams for the new season. They deserve the respect and support of all of the players and this would best be shown by a significant rise in player availability numbers.
1 Adam Scott
2 Kyle Ormond
3 Euan Gunn
4 Kieran Cochrane
5 Jamie Finlayson
6 Stuart Cunningham
7 Cal Thomson
8 Euan Mochrie (captain)
9 Struan McLean
10 Gregor McLean
11 Ross Plenderleith
12 Ceillem Stewart
13 Ross Tulloch
14 Cammy Murrie
15 Gregor Stewart
16 Calum McKeown, 17 Colin Devlin, 18 Sean Hagerty and 19 Stu Young