Reds Open Pre-Season with Win in Forfar
Strathmore 17 – 29 Linlithgow
Saturday 09 August 2014
Linlithgow Rugby Club got their season off to a good start with an away trip to Forfar to take on Strathmore who play in the equivalent league in the Caledonian region. A squad of 26 players were used throughout the four session game, with Linlithgow eventually running out comfortable 29-17 victors.
Linlithgow opened up the first session with great intent, with several phases of play involving all fifteen players eventually leading to Euan Murray being stopped just short of the line. It looked inevitable that the first score would come and after a good drive by Stuart Bell, making a very encouraging return after twenty months of injury absence, stand-off Matt Dixon saw a gap and scored a good try. His conversion was narrowly wide. Unfortunately however Linlithgow were unable to capitalise on their superior possession and from a turnover Strathmore moved the ball quickly wide and scored a good try of their own in the corner. The conversion was also missed and the first session ended even.
The second session was much scrappier, partly due to changes of personnel, partly due to players being out of position and partly due to the team struggling to adjust and come to terms with the referees’ interpretation. However it was good to see new faces Garry Anderson and Keir Waddell making their debuts, as well as a first senior appearance for last year’s school captain Tom Townend and the return from injury of Chris Bredin. One score was conceded to give the visitors a half time lead of 12-5. The third session was a further scrappy affair, with neither side being able to take advantage of their opportunities and no further scores being added.
However, in the final session the Reds reverted to more of the structure they had demonstrated in the first session and their pre-season fitness work came to the fore as they took control and scored four further tries. The first came from full back Fraser Rankine following a great break by Scott Watson. Another Watson break led to the next score, with good support work being finished off by Captain Stuart Cunningham scoring from short range. The pressure continued and an excellent wide pass from Euan Richardson allowed Euan Murray to round the defence and score under the posts. Dixon converted. From the kick-off Strathmore tried a quick change of direction only for Euan Murray to take the ball, beat two players and then offload to Aaron Flucker, for the centre to again score under the posts. Dixon again converting. Strathmore finished the game with a good score of their own after a blindside attack from a scrum on the Linlithgow ten metre line. This narrowed the final score to 29-17 and set things up well for the return match at Linlithgow in two weeks’ time.
Overall Coach Dale Lyon was pleased with the day’s work. He said “It was encouraging to see that when the players followed the structure we have been working on, they gained success and scored some good tries. However there are also a lot of areas to work on before the leagues begin in three weeks’ time”.
Fraser Rankine, Euan Murray, Ty Watson, Chris Bredin, Ross Plenderleith, Matt Dixon, Andrew Wood, Scott Watson, Aaron Flucker, Garry Anderson, Andy McGown, Neil Dori-Muir, Chris Archer, Stuart Cunningham (C), Euan Gunn, Conall Black, Billy Edment, Alistair Wood, Euan Richardson, Stuart Bell, Ross Martin, Keir Waddell, Tom Townend, Josh Hares, Cal Thomson, Graeme Crow.