Reds Start League Season with Away Win
Hawick Linden 12 – 20 Linlithgow
Saturday 30 August 2014
Linlithgows preparation for this match was not ideal. It was bad enough losing Matt Dixon last week to a bad injury, but winger Ross Plenderleith twisted a knee midweek meaning Linlithgow travelled with an untested side which included Ross Oliver, from last years Academy side at full back. On the plus side it was good to welcome back Mark Green, Chris Bredin and Stuart Bell into league action after long layoffs.
The weather was warm but breezy, and the pitch was in excellent condition as the game kicked off. Linden started off the brighter. Early in the game they had a chance to go ahead but missed a difficult penalty. Soon after Linlithgow were dealt a blow when Centre Scott Watson was injured and had to be replaced on 8 minutes by Garry Anderson. However, against the run of play, Linlithgow scored with their first foray into home territory, Ross Martin slotting over a penalty. The home side came back and Linlithgow were under pressure for a lengthy spell but Linden had nothing to show for it after some resolute defending. Linlithgow then made Linden pay dearly for missed chances. An excellent break involving Aaron Flucker and Stuart Bell ended with Flucker scoring , duly converted by Martin. The home side were stunned as they had had much more of the possession. But more pain was dished out as Mark Green raced forward, was tackled short of the line only for Captain Stuart Cunningham to follow up and get the ball over the line, converted again by Ross Martin.
Hawick Linden came back straight away and scored a try after Linlithgow had been penalised for feeding on the 5 yard line. From the resulting maul, it took the referee a while to give the try among the bodies. Converted. Approaching half time Linlithgow were awarded another penalty and Linden were awarded a yellow card, and Ross Martin kept his 100% tally putting the reds up 20-7 at half time.
The second half was a little scrappy. As both teams got frustrated, Ally Wood was next in the bin. Hawick Linden still had more of the possession and reduced the deficit with another forwards try, again there was some dispute as to which hand was on the ball. The conversion was missed. The forwards were playing well, winning a lot of ball and making a lot of ground. Hawick, however were still in the game and they had chances to score, but it wasn’t their day. Out of frustration the home scrum half was seen stamping at a ruck and the referee had no option but to send him off. Hawick had another penalty attempt but missed, and after that it was Linlithgow who were pressing. The impressive Stuart Bell perhaps should have scored near the end, instead he chose to look inside for a person that wasn’t there. The game ended with another yellow card for Anderson, but the game was won by that time.
Given the circumstances of last week, this has to go down as a great victory. Linlithgow only had about 40% of the possession, but seeing Stuart Bell back in the team and how the pack dominated gives us encouragement for the season. Credit also to Ross Oliver who had an excellent debut at age 18.
Linlithgow : Ross Oliver, Euan Murray, Scott Watson , Mark Green, Aaron Flucker, Fraser Rankin , Chris Bredin, Stuart Cunningham, Chris Archer, Billy Edment, Stuart Jamieson, Patrick Bennie, Stuart Bell, Ross Martin, Ally Wood. Subs ; Calumn Mckeown, Garry Anderson, Graeme Crow