Reds at Leith (Sep22)

Reds off to Winning Start

Bitter sweet win in the inaugural match of the Bob Green Cup

Leith  16 – 22  Linlithgow

Saturday 17 September 2022

Match Report by David Mitchell

This Tennents East League 1 fixture was also played as the inaugural Bob Green Cup marking the first playing of the trophy named after the late Bob Green who had strong connections with both clubs.

After a well observed period of silence to mark the passing of the late Queen, Leith began play with a strong diagonal wind in their favour. Early pressure from the home side resulted in a penalty that hit the post but the opening score was only delayed for a few minutes as the Reds again started slowly. After an offence by the visitors, Leith took a quick tap penalty and with the Reds defence posted missing, the left winger went in unopposed at the corner. The Leith No10 added the extra points with a fine touchline conversion.

Stephan Smith made his league debut

However the Reds hit back immediately when a high hanging restart kick by Jack Frame resulted in captain Euan Mochrie stealing the ball from the Leith pack and the ball was swiftly moved along the line to Mark Green who charged through the defence to score a fine individual try that was a fitting tribute to his father Bob on the occasion of the playing of the Bob Green Cup. Jack Frame kicked the conversion to level the score at 7-7. He then added a penalty after another strong run by Mark Green ably supported by Jamie Tulloch who carried the ball fully 50 metres swatting aside opponents but he was stopped just short of the try line. The referee awarded a penalty in midfield and Frame added the 3 points to give the away team a slender lead. 

Jack Frame kicked two conversions and a penalty

Leith ended the half with some strong attacking play and only some great goal line defence stopped a home try with Eddie Beamish chopping down a Leith attacker when it looked likely that he would score a try. Leith were awarded a penalty and converted it with the last kick of the half. HT score 10-10. The Reds had limited possession throughout the half but when they did get the ball the passing was generally a bit sloppy and ponderous.

If anything the 2nd half was more frustrating than the 1st half as, despite having the strong diagonal wind behind them, the Reds failed to establish territorial advantage. Linlithgow did cross the try line but the final pass to skipper Mochrie was adjudged to have been a forward one. Thereafter, neither team gained clear control of the game but Leith did kick a penalty with 15 minutes remaining to take a 13-10 lead. The Reds deployed their replacements during the half with Stuart Cunningham, Joe McKillion and Cammy Murrie taking the field.

At this point it was hard to imagine an away victory but a game changing moment arrived when Euan Mochrie took a quick tap penalty in his own half and led the charge straight at the home pack and demolished them ably supported by the rest of the pack. Quick ball was suddenly becoming available and after a few direct charges by Joe McKillion and the Mochrie boys, the ball found its way to Ross Tulloch who galloped over for a fine team try. Frame added the conversion.

Ross Tulloch crosses for the Reds second try

Almost immediately the mood of the team changed and they appeared much more switched on and put the home side under pressure. It was no surprise when Cammy Murrie crossed the line for another excellent team try to make the score 13-22 with only 3 minutes left to play.

Cammy Murrie on his way to the Reds third try

The remaining few minutes were played out in frantic fashion with the Reds looking for the try bonus point and Leith trying to gain a losing bonus point. In the end the home team kicked a penalty to gain a bonus point but left the visitors as 16-22 winners on the day. Unfortunately Mark Green sustained what looked like a serious leg injury in the last minute of the game and went to hospital, where a ruptured achilles was diagnosed. He has an appointment with a specialist consultant early next week and we wish him all the best for a full recovery and hope to see him back around the Club soon. 

Mark Green, who was a powerful presence in midfield all match, sadly sustained a late serious injury

A good result but a poor overall performance apart from a purple patch in the last 10 minutes. The coaches and players will undoubtedly review the performance and work out what needs to be done to improve. The forward exchanges were fairly even with the Reds having a bit of an advantage over the Leith pack in the scrums in the first but with the second half being even. The lineout is beginning to work more effectively with Kyle Ormond finding main jumper Mark Caddle with increasing regularity. The backs appear to be lacking in confidence especially in attack where the passing needs improvement but also in defensive alignment where, against a better team, they might have been exposed out wide. 

However winning when not operating on all cylinders is the sign of a decent team and the coaches and players will undoubtedly get the team clicking better in the weeks to come. Next Saturday (24th), the Reds travel to Tranent to play Ross High in the fixture rescheduled from 3rd September. This is always a tough away visit and we need our best team on the field all ready to start fast from the first whistle.

Linlithgow

Jack Frame; Ross Plenderleith, Mark Green, Ross Tulloch, Eddie Beamish; Aidan Rennison, Stephan Smith; Adam Scott, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin; Fraser Mochrie, Ewan Mitchell; Euan Mochrie (capt), Jamie Tulloch and Mark Caddle.

Subs (all used) – Stuart Cunningham, Joe McKillion and Cammy Murrie.