Reds at North Berwick (Jan 17)

All-Round Display from Reds Delivers Deserved Win

North Berwick  12 – 26  Linlithgow

Saturday 21 January 2017

Linlithgow RFC returned to action in the BT East League 1 last Saturday, after the previous week’s postponement and two Shield wins.  The Reds travelled to North Berwick, knowing that they have not had much joy away to the East Lothian side in recent seasons.

Nevertheless, Linlithgow settled into their game more quickly and for the first five minutes were retaining possession in the North Berwick half which led to the first opportunity for Jack Frame to have a pot at the posts when the home side transgressed in the 6th minute.  His successful kick gave Linlithgow an early lead.  Four minutes later the Linlithgow forwards secured their own line-out ball and were driving towards the line when North Berwick halted the advance illegally.  Once again, Frame stepped up to double the Reds’ advantage.

North Berwick had no answer at this stage in the game to the passing and support play of the visitors who were camped in the home side half.  This territorial advantage ended with a third penalty which Jack Frame converted.  After 20 minutes, North Berwick managed a short spell of pressure, meaning the visitors had to show their defensive skills.  Stuart Cunningham, playing at centre, caught the eye with two brilliant steals.  Jack Frame then had a run supported by Billy Edment and Ross Martin and Linlithgow looked to be about to score when Craig Scott was held short of the home side try line.  In the next attack, Stuart Bell burst up the wing but he, too, was stopped just short.

North Berwick were forcing themselves into the game and two penalties in quick succession for the home side took them close to the Reds 22.  Play forced the home wide back and they kicked into Linlithgow’s 22, only for Jamie March to secure the ball and call the mark.  His clearance to touch saw North Berwick try again but Scott’s tackle stopped the North Berwick stand-off in his tracks.

Time was running down towards the interval when Billy Edment had a trade-mark breenging run up the right wing.  He passed the ball inside to Scott Watson who touched the ball down.  Jack Frame added the conversion to take Linlithgow into a 16-0 lead.  There was still time for Frame to chance his hand with a last-play penalty.  The penalty was dead centre but it was on the half-way line, and although the accuracy was good, the kick did not quite make it all the way.

The hardy band of Reds fans braced themselves for what they felt would be the home side’s onslaught after the break but it was Edment and Bell who mounted the first attack of the half.  This was followed by North Berwick’s efforts to get into the game.  In the 49th minute, a penalty to touch deep in Linlithgow’s 22 was the furthest forward the home side had managed but they made it count when, from the resulting passage of pressure, they forced the ball over for a try that was unconverted.

Five minutes later, a North Berwick player received a yellow card but the Reds could not make the penalty count and the score remained 16-5 to the visitors.  After an excellent run by Ross Plenderleith which came to nothing there was a further passage of home pressure.  This resulted in Jamie March being sent to the bin but North Berwick were not interested in the kick.

A minute later, on the hour mark, when a run from Mark Caddle ended when he was bundled into touch, North Berwick had a line-out about fifteen metres into their own half.  They moved the ball quickly away from the line out to the left wing and the winger ran clear of the covering defence to run behind the posts and score.  The easy kick brought the score to 16-12 with the visitors now only four points ahead.

Linlithgow were now ringing the changes from the bench and all four substitutes made an appearance.  In the 70th minute Linlithgow spurned the chance of a kickable penalty and opted to kick for touch.  The forwards drove the ball towards the try line.  They were stopped short and the ball was recycled out to the backs.  Scott Watson saw his chance and ran back to the forwards and round them to score in the left corner.  Jack Frame, with a great conversion from the touch line, restored Linlithgow’s lead to 23-12.

There was a little unpleasantness after the try which resulted in a player from each side receiving a yellow card.  Play was still finely balanced but North Berwick were trying to save something from the game but the Reds continued on the attack and when a home side player was caught well offside, Frame stretched the Linlithgow lead with another penalty..

The game was now nearing its close but there was quite a lengthy spell added on and the home wide dominated the territory and possession in these late stages.  North Berwick were determined to notch another score and perhaps secure a losing bonus point.  Linlithgow were just as determined to prevent this and the Reds defence proved equal to the task.  Although several times, a home score looked certain a Reds tackle always arrived in time and the game finished with a Linlithgow 26-12 win.

Linlithgow RFC

Jack Frame; Ross Plenderleith, Scott Watson, Stuart Cunningham, and Euan Murray; Chris Ronalson and Jamie March; Steven Grant, Billy Edment and Calum McKeown; Stuart Bell and Mark Caddle; Euan Mochrie, Craig Scott (c) and Ross Martin.

Substitutes:  Patrick Bennie, Cameron Dori-Muir, Cal Thomson and Fraser Mochrie.

View Graham Black’s match photos