Reds at Ross High (Dec 21)

Ross High Bulldoze Reds

Ross High  21 – 9  Linlithgow

Saturday 11 December 2021

Match report by David Mitchell

Last Saturday saw the Reds head to Tranent to face Tennents East 1 League leaders Ross High who were unbeaten at home so far in this campaign. One of their only 2 away defeats came at Linlithgow in September when the Reds won comfortably by 47-17 but the return had a very different outcome.

The visitors kicked off down the slope on the notoriously narrow pitch at Tranent and then failed to touch the ball for about 5 minutes, when Ross High scored the opening try in the right hand corner. Despite playing up the slope, the home side continued to press hard for another score and used their heavy forwards to good effect although aided by a lack of aggression by the Reds’ defence, especially in the tackle area and when competing for ruck ball. The attacking waves continued by the home side for about 20 minutes before the Reds got some relief by using their limited possession more effectively by kicking the ball deep into home territory.

Kieran Cochrane stepped into the Reds’ starting line-up when Ross Martin was a late withdrawal

Only on one occasion in the first half did the visitors threaten the try line when Kieran Cochrane made a fine break, supported by Neil Lockhart, but the home team No 8 got back just in time to prevent a score. Ross High then began to concede a few penalties for a variety of offences and the Reds also began to win good set piece ball. These factors resulted in 3 kickable penalties being awarded and Jack Frame kicked all 3 to give the Reds a surprise half time lead of 5-9.

Jack Frame kicked all the Reds’ points with 3 penalties

The home team No 8 was yellow carded towards the end of the 1st half but soon returned and he resumed his role as the key ball carrier and continued to make inroads into the Reds’ defence. It was no surprise that after being camped in the opposing 22 metre area, the home team scored a close range try after several forward drives to regain the lead at 10-9.

Cal Thomson attempts to run out of defence with Calum McKeown in support

The Reds then got into the home 22 metre area for the only time in the whole of the 2nd half when Cammy Murrie made a good break, chipped ahead and was late tackled giving the visitors a scrum about 10 metres from the line. Despite winning a series of scrums, the opportunity to score was lost when the ball was knocked on and the Ross High number 10 kicked the ball back into Linlithgow territory.

The home side then kicked a penalty and began to impose a stranglehold on the game, which the visitors were unable to break despite the sending off of a home team prop forward. Ross High continued to play a simple but effective game plan, involving strong driving runs by their forwards with good handling and offloading skills despite the muddy conditions. This allied to their aggressive defence, when the Reds had possession, made it impossible for the visitors to make ground throughout the remainder of the game.

Ross High extended their lead with a penalty after a high tackle and despite the introduction of the Reds’ three replacements in the guise of Adam Scott, Jamie Tulloch and Gregor McLean, the one way traffic continued towards the Reds try line and it was no surprise when the home team sealed the victory with a try in the corner to make the final score 21-9.

All three subs feature in this action shot from late in the match – Jamie Tulloch is on the charge

A familiar story at Tranent with the home team sticking to their normal game plan and the visitors being overpowered and not able to introduce a game plan response that would knock the Ross High juggernaut off-course.

The Reds backs had few opportunities to penetrate the home defence and although the forwards fared well in the set piece, the breakdown area was where the home side really set the tone by showing real aggression against a more passive Reds outfit.

There is now a break in league action until 8th January, when Duns visit Mains Park, marking a run of 4 home league games for the Reds throughout January.

Linlithgow

1 Calum McKeown
2 Kyle Ormond
3 Colin Devlin
4 Fraser Mochrie
5 Neil Lockhart
6 Euan Mochrie (capt)
7 Cal Thomson
8 Kieran Cochrane

9   Cammy Murrie
10 Aidan Rennison
11 Ross Plenderleith
12 Mark Green
13 Lewis Wells
14 Ross Tulloch
15 Jack Frame

Replacements: Adam Scott, Jamie Tulloch and Gregor McLean

Photos courtesy of Graham Black