Reds at Haddington (Oct 21)

Reds Fail to Convert Pressure
into Points

Haddington  17 – 12  Linlithgow

Saturday 23 October 2021

Report by David Mitchell

The Reds travelled to Haddington on Saturday anticipating a tough match and that is exactly what they got. Conditions were good with a light breeze blowing down the pitch and even the upturned saucer that is Neilson Park was drier than in recent seasons.

The visitors started well and had the home team penned in their own half for the 1st 10 minutes but were unable to put points on the board partly due to an unusually misfiring lineout. However eventually the ball was claimed cleanly at a lineout on the home 22 and Aidan Rennison created an opening for winger Lewis Wells and he needed no further invitation to burst through the Haddington midfield and score near the posts.

Lewis Wells opens the scoring

Full back Jack Frame added the conversion to give the Reds a 7-0 lead. The visitors then began to gain the upper hand in the scrums and with good runs from Ruaridh Stewart and Mark Green they looked like cutting loose and building a good lead. Cal Thomson did cross the line for a try after good work from Ross Tulloch but the referee adjudged the scoring pass to have been a forward one.

After about 20 minutes of reasonably solid control, the Reds started to make some basic errors that allowed Haddington back into the game. A number of loose passes and kicks allowed the home side to get into the Reds’ 22 and from nowhere a try was scored and converted to make the score 7-7 after 30 minutes. The visiting supporters were visibly shaken by this turn of events and even more so as the Reds continued to take wrong options and execute moves without any real fluency. Frame missed a long range penalty just before half time to leave the game evenly balanced at 7-7 at the break. On the balance of play, the visitors should have been comfortably ahead but for some naïve play and lack of tactical control when in the Haddington 22.

The coaches rang the changes for the 2nd half with Gregor Stewart, Jamie Finlayson and Stuart Cunningham replacing Aidan Rennison, an injured Ross Martin and Kyle Ormond. At this point the game went to uncontested scrums which did not help the situation. Haddington were able to put the ball deep into the Reds 22 and with their dominant lineout they eventually scored a try again converted by their No 10 to take a 14-7 lead. Ewan Mitchell came on for Colin Devlin and despite a few promising runs from defence, the Reds never really looked like breaching the stuffy home defence and the referee began to penalise the visitors on a regular basis. 

The home side added to their lead with a penalty kick and the Reds began even more desperately to penetrate the home defence but either players held on to the ball when they should have passed or the final pass did not go to hand. Ruaridh Stewart and Lewis Wells put in sterling efforts to try to cross the try line and eventually after good drives from Jamie Finlayson and Fraser Mochrie, the ball was passed along the back line and Ruaridh created an overlap which allowed Ross Tulloch to cross for a fine try. The conversion was missed and the referee blew the whistle to end the game with Haddington claiming the victory by 17 points to 12.

A strange game to watch and a head scratcher for the coaching staff and players. The game could have effectively been won in the first 20 minutes but the game management and some wrong decisions allowed the home team to stay in touch and they grew in confidence as the game progressed whereas the Reds’ game plan seemed to be less effective as the game wore on.

This Friday the Reds are at home against Portobello at 7.30pm under the lights at Lower Mains Park and a good crowd should be in attendance and they will be expecting a much improved performance and result.

Linlithgow

1 Calum McKeown
2 Kyle Ormond
3 Colin Devlin
4 Fraser Mochrie
5 Mark Caddle
6 Euan Mochrie (c)

7 Cal Thomson
8 Ross Martin

9 Cammy Murrie
10 Aidan Rennison
11 Lewis Wells
12 Mark Green
13 Ruaridh Stewart
14 Ross Tulloch
15 Jack Frame

Subs

16 Stuart Cunningham
17 Jamie Finlayson   
18 Ewan Mitchell
19 Gregor Stewart