Reds at Royal High (Sep 21)

Royal High prevail in tough encounter with the Reds

Royal High  23 – 6  Linlithgow

Saturday 25 September 2021

As usual, the Reds trip to Barnton on Saturday was a hard fought encounter with the home side gaining the win against a visiting team that failed to meet the heights of the previous 2 weeks. 

The Reds started brightly and exerted some pressure on the home defence but some uncharacteristic passing mistakes prevented the Reds from converting pressure into a try and they had to settle for a Ross Martin penalty to take a 3 point lead after only 7 minutes. 

Ross Martin kicked two penalties for the Reds

Royal High then had a spell in Linlithgow territory but could not break down the Reds defence. They had a penalty kick that hit the posts but the Reds failed to tidy up the rebound and could not clear the ball downfield. From a scrum to the left of the posts, despite good disruption at the scrum by the visiting pack, Royal High recovered the ball and the subsequent passing move ended with their centre crashing through for a try near the posts and they added the conversion to make the score 7-3 after 20 minutes of play.

The Reds then began to concede a number of penalties and free kicks which put them under pressure in their own half. At this point the try scoring centre of Royal High was yellow carded for a late tackle but the visitors could not capitalise on being one man up. Mark Green made good ground into the home defence but again the only result was a scrum which did not present any scoring opportunities. 

The packs were both having success at various times during the half with the Royal High pack undertaking some excellent pick and drive moves that gained them valuable yards. The Reds were securing some good ball at the lineout but seemed unable to utilise the outside backs as successfully as in recent weeks. Although the supply of was on a par with the opposition there were too many opportunities missed by a combination of factors e.g. loose passing, knocks on and taking the wrong option. Despite this the score remained close and the home team only added a single penalty near half time. At 10-6 down, the game was still there to be won but in the vital last few minutes of the 1st half, the Reds turned down some kickable penalties and went for the try but came up short despite being close on several occasions. Half time score 10-6.

It was a hard fought match at Barnton

The 2nd half began with no team dominating the game but with much of the rugby was very unstructured and neither team creating or taking any scoring opportunities. During the whole match, there was an air of anxiety in both teams that resulted in a high error count in basic skills, partly due to solid defences, but unusually present in the Reds team. As the 2nd half wore on, Royal High stuck to their simple game plan using their strong pack and direct running centres to good effect. After adding a penalty, the home team added their second try which resulted from a speculative kick from their own half ending up just short of the Reds line and after a few forward drives, the ball was moved right to allow their outside centre to score a try which was converted to give the home side a 20-6 lead.

The visiting support exhorting the Reds to raise their game

The Linlithgow coaches emptied the subs bench by bring on Mark Caddle, Fraser Mochrie, Liam Park and Stevie Grant but despite some valiant late runs, in particular from Ross Martin and Ruaridh Stewart, a try continued to elude the Reds. The final score came from a final penalty from the Royal High full back with match ending in a 23-6 home win.

Ross Plenderleith was well policed by the home defence

Both packs put in a huge amount of tackles but Royal High just had the edge in making ground with the ball in hand. The back 3 of Linlithgow had few opportunities in open play and were unable to continue their fine recent try scoring form. I am sure that the coaches will have much to ponder as there were a number of good periods of play but whereas the passing and offloading worked well in recent games, it failed to do so at Royal High but we should be expecting the Reds to bounce back at Broughton in 2 weeks time as we have a free week next week.

Reds team

  1. Calum McKeown
  2. Stuart Cunningham
  3. Colin Devlin
  4. Kieran Cochrane
  5. Jamie Finlayson
  6. Euan Mochrie (captain)
  7. Cal Thomson
  8. Ross Martin
  9. Cammy Murrie
  10. Aidan Rennison
  11. Ross Plenderleith
  12. Mark Green
  13. Ruaridh Stewart
  14. Lewis Wells
  15. Ross Tulloch

    Subs
  16. Fraser Mochrie
  17. Liam Park
  18. Stevie Grant
  19. Mark Caddle