Reds at Ross High (Mar19)

Ross High Hold out Reds

Ross High  41 – 27  Linlithgow

Friday 29 March 2019

Match Report by David Mitchell

On a fine night for rugby, the Reds travelled to Tranent to take on Ross High in the 2nd last game of the 2018/19 league campaign. The pitch was small when compared with Mains Park and very firm but both sides played some good rugby under the very impressive new floodlights.

The Reds had the benefit of wind and slope in the first half and quickly gained the upper hand in the scrum and lineout which provided a good platform for attacking rugby. Full back Jack Frame opened the scoring with a penalty from the half way line but this was matched by a penalty converted by the Ross High captain and number 10. Frame added a second penalty and the Reds were camped in the Ross High half for long periods but were unable to produce any scoring moves despite domination possession. The lack of a cutting edge in the back line was disappointing however eventually a try was scored by Ross Martin who brushed off a defender and crashed over the line with another one on his back.

Ross Martin crosses for the Reds’ first try

Jack Fame added the conversion to give the visitors a 13-3 half time lead which should have been more if only the execution of moves had been more clinical.

However the 10 point lead was encouraging to the visiting support and they expected anther good showing in the second half. Unfortunately the Reds produced a particularly inept 15 minutes during which Ross High scored 4 converted tries, all of which were the result of a brittle defence with some very poor tackling efforts. This allowed the home team’s No 8 forward to score 3 tries in quick succession and, although he was a decent player, he was allowed to score far too easily. With the score now at 31-13 to the home side, the Reds began to rally and Joe McKillion barged his way over for a couple of tries both converted by Frame.

Joe’s first try
McKillion grabs his second try

The visitors continued to hammer away at the Ross High defence but the home team tackled well and were able to strip the ball from the Reds’ players too often and scoring positions were lost. The game ended with another try by the home No 8 who then topped it off with a cheeky drop goal to make the final score 41-27 for Ross High. Coincidentally, this was the exact same score when Ross High won the earlier fixture in Linlithgow last October.

The Reds’ coaches, players and fans were all very disappointed by the loss and in particular the manner of the loss. We were in a strong position at half time but a terrible 5 minute spell took the game out of reach despite the late tries for the visitors. The set piece work was very good by the Reds but the breakdown area was tough with the home side showing much more aggression in the tackle area. The Reds back line also seemed a bit sluggish when moving the ball along the line and this was not helped by the narrowness of the pitch however we need to sharpen up the execution of our moves and also our decision making needs to improve.

With 1 game left at Portobello this coming Saturday, the Reds need to win and should be capable of this but only if they avoid the defensive lapses from Ross High and also be more effective when attacking inside the opposition 22.

Linlithgow

Jack Frame; Ross Tulloch, Rab Cairns, Chris Ronalson, Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman, Cammy Murrie; Ally McLean, Stuart Cunningham, Colin Devlin; Neil Lockhart, Ross Martin; Euan Mochrie (captain), Kieran Cochrane and Joe McKillion.

Subs: Steven Grant, Mark Caddle, Cal Thomson, Murray Smith.

View match photos courtesy of Graham Black