Reds Let it Slip Late On
Kilmarnock 17 – 12 Linlithgow
Saturday 16 August 2014
Linlithgow travelled to Kilmarnock on Saturday for their third pre-season match, missing several key players, although this gave others the chance to gain valuable game time. There were debuts for the Reds at either end of the age scale in the front row, as 47 year old Hugh Cochrane started the match and then was replaced by 18 year old Callum McKeown. Both can be pleased with their contributions.
It was an early kick off and, as the bus approached Ayrshire, there were dark clouds looming. By the time the game kicked off, the rain was pelting down and there was a strong wind, making it more like autumn than summer.
With the conditions in favour of the home team in the first half, it took Linlithgow 23 minutes to register their first threatening attack with Ross Plenderleith missing out in a chase for the ball on the line. The game continued to flow towards the Reds, however, and only some resolute defence stopped Kilmarnock from scoring.
With the forwards doing well against a very experienced home pack and against the elements, it was Linlithgow who scored first. Following an excellent kick for touch by Matt Dixon, the Reds won the line-out through Stuart Jamieson and, from the resulting drive, the ball broke to Cal Thomson who went over. The difficult conversion was missed.
Unfortunately at half time the conditions changed. The rain eased and the wind died down and, instead of the expected supremacy, Linlithgow found themselves trapped in their own half. They conceded several penalties and were lucky the referee had decided not to use any yellow cards in this pre-season game.
Linlithgow managed eventually to relieve the pressure before, against the run of play, Linlithgow scored again, with an identical try to the first one. This time, it was Ally Wood who crossed the line in the corner but Dixon slotted over the difficult conversion to give the visitors a 12-0 lead.
The Reds looked to have the game won, but within a space of 15 minutes Kilmarnock scored three tries and a conversion to take the lead 17-12. The Linlithgow players were left looking at each other and asking questions. There were plenty of opportunities to prevent all three tries.
However, to their credit, the Reds came back and for the last five minutes of the game Linlithgow were camped inside the home 22. Threatening the line each time, they were awarded seven penalties in a row. Just as he had been lenient with Linlithgow earlier, the referee did not dish out any yellow cards and the home side held out for a win.
Overall there were more positives than negatives in the performance. A few missed tackles cost the team dearly in the end but they should concentrate on the positives of the first sixty minutes when they battled against the elements, as they prepare for the return visit of Strathmore this Saturday.
Fraser Rankine; Ross Plenderleith, Aaron Flucker, Mark Green and Chris Bredin; Matt Dixon and Mike Walker; Billy Edment, Stuart Cunningham, Hugh Cochrane; Stuart Jamieson and Conall Black; Euan Richardson, Cameron Dori-Muir and Ally Wood. Subs: Cal Thomson, Callum McKeown, Garry Anderson, Tom Townend