Reds Outplayed by Royal High in Bruising Encounter
Royal High RFC 39 – 0 Linlithgow
Saturday 18 January 2020
Report by David Mitchell
Any thoughts that the unveiling of the new Club strip would galvanise the team were quashed big style by a Royal High team who bossed this Tennents East 1 league game for virtually the whole 80 minutes. The only real positive for the Reds was the usual excellent scrum performance with at least 3 strikes taken against the head. Otherwise the visitors were second best across the field as the 7-0 try count clearly showed.
The referee had a fairly inconsistent application of the laws and usually the Reds were on the wrong side of the decision, but this cannot be used as the excuse for the heavy defeat. From the start the strong direct running of the home team had the Reds in trouble especially as the first up tackling was too passive. Apart from the scrum performance, Royal High bullied the Reds and 3 of the tries scored were as a direct result of a simple catch and drive from a lineout where the Reds were unable to handle the strong mauling pack.
During a poor first half the visitors’ cause was not helped when Ally Walker had to leave the field with ligament damage. Euan Gunn replaced him but this required a positional reshuffle that did not really help the visitors to gain a foothold in the game. The half ended with the Reds only 15-0 down, but they had created little in attack and the prospects were not looking good.
The second half started with a neat cross kick by John Chapman which was patted back by Ross Plenderleith to Jack Frame, but after about 30 metres he was swallowed up by the Royal high defence. The home side continued to boss the game and even in the few attacks that the Reds managed, there seemed to be a distinct lack of aggression when taking the ball into contact. Captain Euan Mochrie was one of the few who received pass marks on the day, partly because he tried very hard to lead by example.
Royal High added a further 4 tries of which 2 were converted and it was only in the last 10 minutes that the Reds got into the home 22, but a combination of tentative handling and running resulted in the visitors drawing a blank with not even one real scoring opportunity during the whole game.
Calum McKeown, Euan Murray and Jamie Finlayson replaced Colin Devlin, Ross Plenderleith and Jack Frame during the second half and at least they benefitted from some game time.
The final score of 39-0 was a poor one for the Reds, but could have been even worse if the home kicker had not missed 7 kicks.
The coaches and players need an honest review of what went wrong at Royal High and there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that that level of performance is not repeated.
Next week the 1st XV are on league business at Ross High (Tranent) and the 2nd XV are away at Peebles. Both games are 2pm kick offs.