Reds Retain Cup after Exciting Draw in Wales
Furnace United 5 – 5 Linlithgow
Friday 02 February 2018
A big group travelled down from Linlithgow to Llanelli on Thursday for the international weekend. The annual club fixture has now transferred to Furnace United, after over 40 years of matches against Pontyates, after the first match was held on 01 February 1973. This was the third year of fixtures against Furnace United, with the Welsh Club winning the first match in Wales two years ago and the Reds claiming last year’s win in Scotland.
With injured Ross “Hoochy” Tulloch as Tour Captain on the sidelines, the Reds started the game against a home side determined to put in a good performance in front of a sizeable crowd on the main pitch, as well as the S4C cameras live on the HENO show on Welsh TV! There was also a big travelling support in the newly constructed grandstand.
Early pressure came from the home team and the Reds had to defend their line for much of the first quarter. Once the Reds ran off their early sluggishness (do you not mean alcohol – ed.) they grew into the game and contributed to what turned out to be a very close and exciting match. The home side claimed the lead with an early unconverted try in the corner and the Reds turned around at half-time 5-0 down.
The second half saw Linlithgow come more into the game, on the back of an outstanding display by young Euan Mochrie amongst others and it was Mochrie who claimed the Reds try from a driven maul.
A draw was a fair result and the game ended 5-5, with Linlithgow retaining the Nobby Gobbins Cup on the back of last season’s home victory.
The trip became even more eventful on the Saturday as the tour bus blew a tyre on the M4 en route to Cardiff, forcing it to pull over and resulting in an eventual bus repair and 45 supporters arriving in dribs and drabs after hitch-hiking to Cardiff. Tour organiser and Reds coach Matt Dixon said “a big thanks to Welsh public who helped out, some doing double trips to Cardiff and launching a mini social media appeal to get us all to game in time…wish they hadn’t bothered!” (A reference to the Scotland team performance) Matt continued, “thanks to the Reds’ guest players Aled and Chris who had travelled down from Scotland to play for us, Aled lining up against his former club and brother. Big thanks to Furnace United for their hospitality and to Euan McDavid Bathrooms and the rugby club for the support for the tour”.