Reds at Portobello (Sep21)

Reds Top the League after a Thumping Win at Portobello

Portobello 8 – 69 Linlithgow

Saturday 18 September 2021

Match report by David Mitchell

The Reds visited Portobello on Saturday afternoon and took up where they left off after last week’s win against Ross High with an even better performance to rout Portobello with a 10 try demolition of a stuffy home side.

The visitors started the game with a slight following breeze and playing down the slope at Cavalry Park. The scoring started in the 1st minute when Ross Martin kicked a penalty from about 30 metres. However Portobello responded well and only some excellent defence from the Reds kept them from scoring a try but they did manage a penalty to tie the score at 3-3.

The visitors then proceeded to dominate the scoring in the rest of the 1st half and tries arrived at regular intervals. The first try came after Calum McKeown fielded a kick from the home side and set off up the field and evaded several tacklers before moving the ball right and the backs then took over with Man of the Match Ruaridh Stewart taking a tackle but managing to offload to Lewis Wells who continued his excellent try scoring run by rounding the remaining defenders to score an excellent try. Ross Martin added the conversion.

Despite their willingness to try and breech the Reds’ defence, there was no way through for the home attackers and this was beautifully illustrated by the tackle of the season so far when Ruaridh Stewart put in a bone crunching tackle on his opposite number.  

The next try came after quick thinking by Ross Plenderleith who sent the ball fully 70 metres and deep into the Portobello half and after a great kick chase the ball was recovered by the Reds pack and outside half Aidan Rennison spotted a gap in the home defence and sprinted 30 metres to score at the posts. Ross Martin again converted.

The next 2 tries were almost carbon copies of each other with first class support running and accurate off loading features of both tries. Firstly Aidan Rennison timed a great short pass to Ruaridh Stewart who punched a hole in the defence and found Ceillem Stewart who was stopped just short of the line. However the ever present Cal Thomson appeared at his shoulder to accept the offload a complete a fantastic team try. The final try of the half was very similar with Ross Tulloch going on a typical mazy run from the deep and finding support in the shape of Cal Thomson who shifted the ball in to Ceillem Stewart and he managed to pop the ball to Lewis Wells and he touched down. Ross Martin converted both of these tries to make the half time score 3-31.

Despite playing uphill the 2nd half, the Reds were not prepared to sit back and protect the lead. Within the first few minutes skipper Euan Mochrie ploughed into the Portobello defence and found Ruaridh Stewart at his elbow and he drew the final defender before releasing Ross Plenderleith to score a well deserved try which was again converted by Ross Martin. To their credit, the home side tried to attack but the Reds were in no mood to drop their guard and as soon as an opportunity to attack presented itself then they pounced. Ruaridh Stewart intercepted a pass and ran fully 80 metres chased by the home players and your match reporter who all failed to get near him as he scored easily in the corner.

Tries continued to come at regular intervals and the full use of the substitutes’ bench did not detract from the overall team performance. Euan Gunn ran an excellent line to break through the defence and the ball was smartly passed through the hands to find replacement hooker Stuart Cunningham to score a fine try which was converted by Ross Martin. A few minutes later the Reds’ pack won a scrum against the head and Ross Martin picked up and was held just short of the line but the ever alert Cammy Murrie was on hand to scoop the ball up and score a try which was again converted by the Number 8.

Adam Scott and Jamie Tulloch replaced Euan Gunn and Cal Thomson and both made their presence felt with high energy performances with young Jamie appearing all over the pitch as if there were 2 of him on the field. Also making a welcome return from injury in the pre-season game at Lenzie was Mark Caddle who replaced Kieran Cochrane and Mark showed little sign of rustiness as he got stuck in right away.

The next try came after Lewis Wells burst on to the ball in midfield and made ground before the move was carried on by Ceillem Stewart and Jamie Tulloch before the ball finally reached Ross Tulloch who cruised over for another try. 

Portobello scored a consolation try in the final few minutes but it was rather gifted to them when a Reds’ pass went astray and the winger kicked ahead and won the race to touch the ball down. 

However the Reds had the final word when after a couple of good drives by the pack, some simple passing and straight running created a final score by Ross Tulloch which Ross Martin converted. This kick gave Ross a 9 from 11 success rate on the day and an excellent personal haul of 19 points.       

Final score – Portobello 8 Linlithgow 69

Overall this was an excellent team performance and fully justified the coaches’ decision to keep the team the same as the one which had beaten Ross High. The forward pack has become a real weapon particularly in the scrum and in open play where hooker Kyle Ormond has settled in well and both Kieran Cochrane and Jamie Finlayson are getting through a power of work despite not playing in their preferred positions. The whole team defended well and it was clear that the tackling was more effective and more aggressive which would have pleased the coaching staff. In attack the ball is being moved well through the hands and the running lines were good and the drawing of opponents was also good and with so many potent runners there is real threat along the whole back line.

Next week the Reds are at Royal High in a rearranged league fixture following the withdrawal of Hawick Harlequins from East 1. Kick off will be at 3pm and hopefully we will carry a good level of support as it was great to see so many Linlithgow faces at Cavalry Park yesterday.

View Graham Black’s match photos

Linlithgow

  1. Euan Gunn 
  2. Kyle Ormond
  3. Calum McKeown
  4. Kieran Cochrane
  5. Jamie Finlayson
  6. Euan Mochrie (capt)
  7. Cal Thomson
  8. Ross Martin
  9. Cammy Murrie
  10. Aidan Rennison
  11. Ross Plenderleith
  12. Ceillem Stewart
  13. Ruaridh Stewart
  14. Lewis Wells
  15. Ross Tulloch

Subs

  1. Jamie Tulloch
  2. Adam Scott
  3. Stuart Cunningham
  4. Mark Caddle