Reds at Portobello

Indiscipline Costs Reds Dear

Portobello  35 – 32  Linlithgow

Saturday 21st September 2019

They say that a week is a long time in politics. Well the same applies in the world of rugby! Last Saturday the Reds put in one of their best performances for a long time when defeating Ross High but they were bought back down to earth by an insipid performance away at Portobello despite winning the try count by 5 to 2.

In beautiful conditions for rugby, the visitors started very slowly and allowed Porty to dominate possession for the first 20 minutes. Despite their pressure, home team needed some help to score the first try and the Reds duly obliged with a poor kick chase effort that allowed Porty to score a converted try. They deserved their lead but the Reds hit back with 2 quick fire tries after some good territorial pressure. After a massive scrimmage effort, Cammy Murrie picked the ball up from the base of the scrum and forced his way over for a try duly converted by Jack Frame. Within 2 minutes, the Reds scored again after good driving play by skipper Euan Mochrie followed by Mark Green recovering his own kick ahead to set up a flowing move left that involved Andrew Whitelaw and then Stuart Cunningham who gave the final pass to Jack Frame who stepped inside the opposition to score a fine team try.  

However the home team were gifted a penalty kick after the Reds failed to secure the ball from the kick off and the score became 10-12 and then 13-12 to Porty after another penalty as the visitors continued to show indiscipline, a feature of the whole 80 minutes during which they conceded 17 penalties! Just before half time, Joe McKillion took a great high ball from a Frame drop kick restart and after a good attack by the Reds, they were rewarded with a penalty which Frame stroked over. Frustratingly a final piece of folly by the visitors resulted in yet another successful penalty kick for Porty and they went into half time leading by 16-15.

The second half started equally poorly for the Reds who conceded 3 early penalties for a combination of high tackles, offside and backchat. The Porty kicker was having a field day and he added the 9 points to give them a 25-15 lead. Mark Caddle made way for Cal Thomson and Ross Plenderleith made way for Struan McLean, making his competitive debut for the 1sts, as the Reds fought to gain a foothold in the match. Cal Thomson made an immediate impact with his trademark low tackling that was chopping down the opposition and stopping their momentum. Things began to look up when Aidan Rennison took a quick tap penalty and made good ground before finding a charging Ross Martin who burst through and sent Stuart Cunningham towards the line and his determination took him past the remainder of the defence for a fine try. 

With 15 minutes to go, the Reds actually got back on terms from a lineout when Ross Martin took the catch and powered his way through the opposition lineout defence and crashed over near the corner flag. This made the score 25-25 and it looked as though the Reds had weathered the storm and might escape with a narrow and rather undeserved victory. However a further infringement allowed the Porty kicker to regain the lead with only 5 minutes left to play. 

There was still some chance for the visitors and Ross Plenderleith did cross for a try but it was rightly disallowed as he had stepped into touch before he crossed the try line. Despite this disappointment the visitors won a 5 metre scrum and after another magnificent scrum effort the referee awarded a 7 point penalty try to give them a 32-28 lead with only seconds remaining.

Almost beyond belief, the Reds failed to secure the ball from the Porty restart kick and after a couple of minutes of frantic defence, the inevitable happened and Porty crossed for a winning try. Their kicker was successful from the touchline and made the final score 35-32 for the home team.

A strange and very disappointing result after such a good start to the league season. For whatever reason, the Reds managed to combine repeated indiscipline, a passive and lethargic approach in many aspects, a lack of communication and with most of the players struggling to make an impact on the game. With a home game against high flyers Hawick Harlequins, the Reds team need to reflect on their individual and combined performances and come out fighting next week. The team has the potential and capability to succeed next week but will have to take a strong plan into the game and deliver a much better performance than today but the team are capable of doing so.