Reds Match Reports 2013-2014

Reds Match Reports for Season 2013-2014

REDS FINISH SEASON ON A FIVE-TRY HIGH

Linlithgow 37 – 10 Dunbar

Saturday 22 March 2014

The sun was shining as mascots, Finlay Shaw and Kinloch Law, led Linlithgow RFC First XV out on to Mains Park for the Reds’ last league game of the season.  They were facing a Dunbar side who had beaten them earlier in the season in the league but whom Linlithgow had narrowly defeated in the Regional Shield, so this was by nature of a decider between the two clubs this season.

Linlithgow began the game with a spell of pressure in the visitors’ 22 which culminated in a score in the sixth minute.  Matt Dixon dropped into the “pocket” and shouted for the ball.  A crisp pass to him gave him the opportunity to slot over a drop goal.  Four minutes later, centre, Mark Green, whose injury had kept him out of the Firsts all season celebrated his return by bursting through the Dunbar defence to score a try under the posts.  Dixon duly converted.

Two minutes later Dixon added a penalty to give Linlithgow a cushion at 13-0.  Dunbar woke up and visited the home half for the first time.  Linlithgow transgressed but the visitors’ penalty was missed.  Dunbar continued their pressure and a great tackle into touch by Ty Watson prevented a certain score.  A score was not long delayed, however, and in the twentieth minute Dunbar scored out wide.  A good kick converted this to seven points.

Linlithgow came back and, as half time approached, the Reds forwards won their line out and drove the ball over to give prop, Chris Archer, a score.  Matt Dixon converted to take the half-time score to 20-7.

Straight from the restart, Dunbar pressed forward and won a penalty in the fourth minute which they converted.  But Linlithgow were not to be denied on this day.  The home side returned to the attack and, from a scrum close to the Dunbar try line, Dougie Thomson darted in to score.  The Reds’ dominance was shown when they won a scrum against their head.

Substitute, Russell Murdoch, then broke upfield.  The forwards arrived in support and drove over, enabling Pat Bennie to score the fourth bonus-point try.  Another forwards’ drive, not long after, allowed Chris Archer to score his second try.  Matt Dixon converted this to bring the final score to 37-10 for Linlithgow.

Linlithgow had already secured fifth place in this ten-side league but this result brought them to within one point of fourth-placed Dunbar.  It was also the first time this season that the Reds had beaten one of the four Clubs above them which will have been a source of satisfaction to the coaching staff.  The Reds now plan to take part in several end of season Sevens Tournaments.

Linlithgow RFC: Euan Murray; Tyrone Watson, Mark Green, Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Matt Dixon and Dougie Thomson; Chris Archer, Stuart Cunningham and Euan Gunn; David Syme and Patrick Bennie; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Alistair Wood.,  Subs: John Pauley, Conall Black and Russell Murdoch.

The Reds Were Not On Top Of Their Game But Showed Great Character In Holding Out For The Win at Portobello

Linlithgow 20 – 19 Portobello

Saturday 8 March 2014

Linlithgow RFC travelled to Portobello RFC to play a rearranged RBS East League One game.  Conditions were good except for the strong wind blowing down the pitch.  Within two minutes of the game kicking off Matt Dixon decided to try to use the wind to good effect.  When Portobello conceded an early penalty just inside their own half, he opted to take a shot at goal. Then kick had the distance but was wide.

The Reds pressed forward and the home defence did not clear their lines with the ball bobbling on the ground.  Matt Dixon collected the ball and passed out to Cameron Dori-Muir who dived over in the sixth minute for the first score.  Dixon added the conversion.

From the restart Portobello mounted their first real attack and it paid dividends with a score under the posts leaving an easy conversion to tie the scores.  Following this the home side put the Reds defence under sustained pressure for quarter of an hour and then after 25 minutes, the Reds captain Billy Edment had to leave the pitch due to a dislocated knee.

Although both sides were struggling in the wind to put together any fluent moves, it was Linlithgow who began to establish some dominance as half time approached.  A series of Reds attacks resulted in Portobello eventually conceding a penalty in front of their posts which Dixon converted.  Then full, back, Scott Watson, took the ball on the wing and ran round the defence to score.  This took the score to 7-15 at half time.

The home side began the second half with propose and, within three minutes, their first attack managed to squeeze in at the corner, although there was a strong suspicion of a foot in touch. The conversion was missed.  The visitors hit back and a forwards move drove the ball over the line although it was centre, Euan Murray, who rose with the ball.  This conversion, too, was missed but Linlithgow now had a cushion at 20-12.

However, Portobello were determined to win their last home game of the season and their centre took the ball at speed and raced up the left wing.  He passed inside and the ball was touched down under the posts.  This left the simple conversion to take Portobello to within a point of the Reds.  Moreover, both teams had scored three points and were looking for a fourth, bonus-point try.

Portobello pressed forward and for the last ten minutes or so Linlithgow were having to defend.  The Reds were digging in and holding the home side on their 22.  The forwards were holding the ball and denying Portobello possession but inevitably one of the defenders infringed.  This gave Portobello a penalty chance with five minutes to go but, to the relief of the travelling support, the kick drifted wide of the posts.

Portobello returned to the attack for the last few minutes but seemed to sense that the chance had gone.  Linlithgow won a scrum and Matt Dixon was happy to kick the ball into touch giving the Reds a 20-19 victory.

The Reds have one league game left, a rearranged fixture with Dunbar on Saturday 22 March.

Linlithgow XV: Scott Watson; Fraser Mochrie, Euan Murray, Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Matt Dixon and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; David Syme and Billy Edment; Euan Richardson, Cameron Dori-Muir and Alistair Wood.  Subs: Euan Gunn, John Pauley and Graeme Crow.

Reds Edge Dunbar in Close Encounter

Linlithgow 13 – 12  Dunbar

Saturday 22 February 2014

Linlithgow kicked off this rearranged RBS East Shield match against Dunbar with a strong wind behind them. Both sides made a bright start, each having penetrating runs and honours were pretty even for the first 20 minutes. 

However Linlithgow were first to score from a penalty by Matt Dixon, although the lead was short lived. Dunbar scored a try under the posts after several missed tackles. Throughout the first half the Dunbar full back was seeing a lot of the ball and was clearing each time. 

Close to half time, Linlithgow took the lead again, thanks to an excellent individual try from Stuart Cunningham. The hooker turned flanker for the day took a pass from scrum half Dougie Thomson outside the opposition 22 and burst through two tackles before fending off another and racing in to score close to the posts. This was duly converted by Dixon for a half time lead of 10-7.

As the game swung from end to end, it was the visitors who scored in the corner, somewhat fortuitously as a kick and chase was kicked again, with the ball sitting right for the try, despite a valiant dive from Andrew Wood. The conversion was missed to make it 10-12. 

Linlithgow came back and in a good attacking spell, Cunningham nearly burst through again but was held up close to the line and the opportunity was missed.  Linlithgow were awarded a penalty soon after but decided is was out of range and chose to kick for touch. Another penalty came soon after, much closer and Dixon once again put Linlithgow ahead.

Dunbar then came back strongly and Linlithgow spent much of the last twenty minutes resolutely defending their goal line. They prevented a try, defending many phases, but not before Cunningham was sent to the bin for one penalty too many. It was desperate stuff, but the home side weathered the storm, and Dunbar will be kicking themselves as they missed a relatively easy penalty right on full time. 

The result probably won’t help Linlithgow progress through to the next round, but a win is a win, and with a rematch with Dunbar due on 22nd March, we look forward to another exciting tussle.

Reds Manage to Find a Game and a Performance to Match

Linlithgow  19 – 26  Kirkcaldy

Saturday 15 February 2014

The Regional Shield game between Linlithgow and Dunbar scheduled for last Saturday had to be postponed because of a death within the East Lothian Club.  Linlithgow RFC managed to arrange a friendly with Kirkcaldy from RBS Championship A (the league above ours) in its place.   On the day, the match began only after two lengthy pitch inspections found Mains Park playable.

As it happened, when mascots, Cameron Fensom and Jack Wylie, led the Reds out, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.  The match was sponsored by long-term sponsors, GHI Contracts, and Linlithgow knew that they would have to play well, as the team from Fife was coming from a club a division above Linlithgow.

An early burst from home centre, Ty Watson, almost took him to the line but he was well tackled by Kirkcaldy.  After 10 minutes, a mix-up at the base of the home scrum allowed the visitors to gain possession.  Quick passing along on the blind side allowed the winger to tear down the left and score near the posts allowing an easier successful conversion.  Within a few minutes, the Kirkcaldy forwards drove the Reds back and touched down for a second try that was also converted.

Things were looking bleak for Linlithgow, but their forwards began to exert some control in the centre of the pitch.  The Reds then won a scrum against the head.  There followed a piece of magic from winger, Ross Plenderleith.  Receiving the ball 70 metres from the visitors’ try line, his strength took him through two tackles and then his speed came into play, as he ran outside one Kirkcaldy player and inside two others to score under the posts.  Matt Dixonadded the two points.

The Reds were now having the better of the midfield exchanges and shortly before half time Dixon ran through the defence before being held.  The referee blew for half time with the score at 7-14.

Seven minutes into the second half, missed tackles cost the home side dear as Kirkcaldy scored under the posts, with the conversion stretching their lead again.  The Reds returned to the attack, however, and, even when Kirkcaldy cleared their lines with a towering kick, full back, Russell Murdoch, made a great catch and burst back upfield.  A good move by Linlithgow was then thwarted illegally, resulting in a yellow card for the offending Kirkcaldy player.

The Reds then manufactured a superb try.  The ball was passed quickly along the back division, leaving Murray and Plenderleith the opportunity to create space out wide. Billy Edment ran in support to receive the inside pass and score.  Dixon added the points.

There were then a couple of near things. Ty Watson burst through the middle but the final pass was judged forward.   Plenderleith and Andrew Wood chased a kick up the left wing before the visitors’ defender scrambled the ball into touch.  The pressure told when quick passing let Plenderleith ran in unopposed out wide.  Dixon lined up his kick knowing it would tie the scores but the home crowd groaned when the ball ricocheted back off the post.

Time was running out for the home side but Kirkcaldy were smarting and their forwards took the ball on from the re-start. They ground their way towards the home try line and managed to push their way over the line in the 79thminute.  This left the Reds with too much to do and the game finished 26-19 to the Fife side but they knew that the game had been much closer than that score line sounds.

Linlithgow’s Director of Rugby, Jon Blundell, said, “There were a lot of positives in that game for us and I hope the players build on it, as we complete our last few games this season.  I should like to thank Kirkcaldy for agreeing to come to Mains Park to give our home support a good game of rugby to watch.”

Linlithgow XV: Russell Murdoch; Euan Murray, Ty Watson, Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Matt Dixon and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Pat Bennie and Donald Bennie; Nicky Cowan, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood.  Subs: Billy Edment, Euan Gunn, Matt McKenna and Scott Watson.

Reds Ring the Changes but Secure Bonus Point Win

Hawick Linden 10 – 37  Linlithgow

Saturday 08 February 2014

When most rugby supporters should have been looking forward to enjoying the Six Nations, the vagaries of Scottish Rugby’s administration required Linlithgow to travel to Hawick for a rearranged RBS East League 1 game.  A 1.30 pm kick-off was agreed to allow those players with tickets for Murrayfield to try and reach the national stadium before kick-off.

Injuries and unavailability saw some changes in the pack, with hooker Stuart Cunningham playing at flanker, Pat Bennie moving from second row to make his first start at number 8 and the versatile Nicky Cowan starting in the second row.  In the backs Matt Dixon continued at stand-off, with Ty Watson moving from the wing to make his first start at outside centre.

The very heavy pitch, wet and blustery weather conditions made it difficult to play any open rugby and the first half was littered with a series of basic mistakes by both teams.  The home side opened a scoring with a penalty, before Matt Dixon levelled the scores with a penalty of his own after 15 minutes.  Against younger opposition, the Reds pack dominated the lineouts and had the upper hand in the scrums.  For much of the first half, however, they were unable to capitalise on this superiority.

Following a good run by Ross Plenderleith, who looked dangerous all afternoon, the ball was recycled and, after several good forward drives, with Graeme Crow strongly to the fore, Dougie Thomson managed to burrow over of the game’s opening try. The conversion was just wide.  Crow was then given a breather, with young Matt McKenna coming on for his first team debut.  There then followed a good individual try from Ross Plenderleith.  The winger received the ball in his own half and beat three Hawick Linden players to streak away and touch down under the posts.   Dixon converted to give Linlithgow a half time lead of 15-3.

Euan Gunn replaced Adam Kelly at half time and Fraser Mochrie replaced Euan Murray to also make his first team debut.  With the Reds supporters thinking their team had now gained some breathing space and would pull away, it was actually the home team who started the second half the stronger.  Linlithgow conceded several penalties and the referee yellow carded Pat Bennie for one too many.  The home side took advantage and continued to press.  From one scrum on the Linlithgow 22, the home backs moved the ball wide and exploited a gap to score an easy try.  This was converted and it could have been game on.

However, this was perhaps the shake that the Reds needed and they stepped up their game and scored four further tries without conceding any more points.  The best of these was probably Chris Archer’s which came from a lineout catch on the Hawick 22 by Bennie and then a controlled driving maul the full length of the 22.  Dixon then put Plenderleith away for the winger to score another excellent solo try, which Dixon converted.  Another driven lineout resulted in Captain Billy Edment adding his name to the score sheet and then Dixon, with a good break down the blind side, from short range completed the scoring with the final tally, Hawick Linden 10 – Linlithgow 37.

In the end, this was a comfortable win for the Reds, with some good team rugby played in the final quarter.  Credit must also be given to the Hawick lads who, with six 18 year olds in their ranks, never stopped trying to the end.

Reds Unable to Hold on to Early Lead

Linlithgow  6 – 11  RHC Cougars

Saturday 18 January 2014

Micros Mascot, Marc Thompson, led out Linlithgow’s First XV who were facing RHC in the RBS East League One encounter at Mains Park.  RHC were second in the league and the Reds knew that they were in for a difficult game.

From the kick off RHC stormed into the attack and the home side was immediately on the defensive.  Linlithgow were pressed back on their line for the first few minutes and were having to tackle again and again as RHC pressed forward.  The attack broke down when the referee spotted an infringement and the Reds were glad to see Matt Dixon clear the ball upfield from the penalty.

Play moved to the RHC 22 and Matt Dixon put a clever kick over the RHC backs chasing the ball himself.  The RHC defence managed to scramble back.  Linlithgow made the pressure tell in the 12th minute, as RHC conceded a penalty which was converted by Dixon.  Three minutes later, Linlithgow were awarded a penalty which, although it was directly in front of the posts, was also far out, on the 10-metre line.  Despite the distance, Dixon slotted over the kick to give Linlithgow a 6-0 lead.

RHC were stung by this and, for the rest of the first half, they mounted attack after attack.  The Reds’ tackling was first class.  They managed for a spell of ten minutes to keep the visitors in the middle of the field but, relentlessly, the RHC possession brought them closer to the Linlithgow try line.  Linlithgow were playing with their backs to the wall.  On the stroke of half time a cheer from the travelling support showed that they thought their side had broken through but the referee judged that the player had knocked on behind the line and this ended the action in the first half.

Not long after the restart the Reds tried another chip ahead and chase.  Matt Dixon and Ty Watson were both in pursuit of the ball, the RHC clearance kick was charged down and the Reds sensed a try, but the visitors’ defence scrambled the ball clear.  The game then resumed the pattern of the first half as RHC went in search of a score.

It took them until nearly halfway through the second half before the Reds’ defence crumbled.  The RHC forwards drove a maul forward and Linlithgow could not stop them crossing the line to touch down for a try.  This was not converted and there was now only one point separating the teams.  Linlithgow were continuing to have difficulty winning any meaningful possession as RHC camped in the Reds’ half.

A tackle from scrum half, Dougie Thomson, prevented  a certain score but from the resulting play, the Reds conceded a penalty close to the posts which RHC converted to take the lead.  Five minutes later another penalty extended that lead.  The pattern of the game was well established and the worry for the home crowd now was that the visitors would score again, preventing the Reds from earning the losing bonus point that their efforts deserved.  The home defence continued to work hard, however, and the referee’s whistle sounded giving victory to RHC 11-6.

Linlithgow XV:
Russell Murdoch; Tyrone Watson, Euan Murray,  Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Matt Dixon and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Billy Edment; Pat Bennie and Stuart Jamieson; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: Nicky Cowan, Stuart Young and Lewis Barnes.

Reds Dig Deep for Victory in the Borders

Langholm  14 – 15  Linlithgow

Saturday 11 January 2014

Last Saturday Linlithgow RFC travelled down to Langholm for a difficult away fixture in the RBS East League One.  The Reds made their usual brisk start and camped in the home side’s half for the first ten minutes of the game.  Their forwards were also making a good start to the game with some powerful scrummaging.

Nevertheless it was Langholm who had the first attempt at scoring when, in the 17th minute, their first visit to the Reds’ half resulted in a penalty attempt.  The kick narrowly missed.  Stuart Cunningham then had a good break up the wing but his pass inside was not held.  Two minutes after Linlithgow missed a penalty, their forwards drove a line-out forward before the ball was passed quickly along the backs allowing winger, Ty Watson, to use his strength to dive over the line to score.  The conversion was missed.

From the restart Linlithgow conceded another penalty that was missed.  The balance of play remained with the Reds and scrum half, Dougie Thomson, made a good break before being smothered by the home side defence.  Langholm were then awarded four penalties in quick succession, three of which were kicked for goal and missed.  A fifth penalty was right in front of the posts and converted.

Linlithgow returned to the attack but lost possession.  The home side kicked ahead and the Reds conceded another penalty.  Langholm missed this one but on the stroke of half time were awarded another which was scored to give them a half-time lead of 6-5.

The Reds pressed ahead again at the beginning of the second half and won a penalty after three minutes which Matt Dixon scored to restore the visitors’ lead.  The lead was not to last long, as Langholm won a succession of penalties that took them upfield.  At the last of these, Linlithgow were marched back ten metres giving the home side another kick in front of the posts that they scored.

The Reds continued to have the better of a scrappy game but, halfway through the second half, Langholm burst forward and passed the ball out to their winger who dived over in the corner for a try that was unconverted, taking the score to 14-8.

Almost inevitably, the referee spotted an infringement in the aftermath of the score so the game a restarted with a penalty to Langholm rather than a kick by Linlithgow.  The game continued to stutter, punctuated by penalties, although it was the last quarter of the game before the Reds were awarded two in succession.

Linlithgow continued to press and time was running out when their forwards drove a five-metre scrum back.  The ball was passed out to winger, Ross Plenderleith, who danced through the defence to ground the ball.  Matt Dixon stepped up to score the conversion to the cheers of the small travelling support.

There was time for a restart and another penalty to Langholm which their kicker missed.  The Reds expected that to be the last kick of the game but play continued for another few minutes before the Reds secured possession and kicked for touch to bring proceedings to a close with a narrow, hard-fought 15-14 win for the Reds.

Linlithgow XV
Matt Dixon; Tyrone Watson, Russell Murdoch,  Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Chris Ronalson and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Euan Gunn; Pat Bennie and Graeme Crow; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: Billy Edment, Euan Murray and Stuart Mitchell.

Reds Go Down Against League Leaders

Linlithgow 10 – 33 Preston Lodge

Saturday 04 January 2014

Last Saturday, mascots, Rory Bennett and Calum Crocker, led Linlithgow’s First XV out at Mains Park for the re-arranged RBS East League One game against Preston Lodge.  The Reds knew that they were in for a hard game, as the visitors were unbeaten this season and were looking to win this game in hand over RHC in order to return to the top of the league.

Nevertheless, the Reds began the game confidently and pinned Preston lodge back in the early stages.  Captain, Billy Edment, was nearly across the line and the home side’s pressure caused Preston Lodge to concede an early penalty but this was missed.

The home side showed their mettle when, after sucking up all this pressure, they almost scored in their first meaningful attack.  Linlithgow returned upfield and Matt Dixon scored from a penalty in the 12th minute.  From the restart, however, Preston Lodge secured the ball and two players shrugged off tackles with their offloads allowing a score under the posts which was duly converted.

The visitors had their tails up and, although Linlithgow defended with spirit, the constant pressure told in the end and Preston Lodge scored a pushover try which was again converted.  The visitors continued to attack and it was not long before Preston Lodge scored again but this time missed the conversion.  This took the score at half time to 3-19.

As in the first half, the Reds began the second half brightly and, after only two minutes, winger Ross Plenderleith’s speed and angle of running took him through the visitor’s defence to score a try that Dixon converted.  The pattern of the first half re-established itself and the home side were forced on to the defensive.  The visitors were also looking for the fourth, bonus-point try.  This came from a Preston Lodge line-out when their backs scored in a well-worked move that looked straight off the training field.  The conversion added the two points.

Although Linlithgow had a spot of pressure around about the half-hour mark, the game was out of their grasp.  Matters were made worse when two Linlithgow players received yellow cards.  It was lucky for the Reds that this was in the final stages of the game although Preston Lodge still managed a try in the last minute that was converted.  This made the final score a 33-10 victory to Preston Lodge.  No one could argue with the overall result although the last try was a bit fortuitous and took away from a spirited second-half performance from the Reds.

This rearranged league game meant that Linlithgow were not able to field a senior side in the annual New Year game between West Lothian rivals, Linlithgow and Livingston, for the West Lothian Cup.  The Clubs wanted to maintain the fixture and agreed that this year it should be played between their two U18s teams.  Consequently, Linlithgow’s Young Reds travelled to Livingston to represent the club.

And they did themselves and the Club proud.  The game began badly and Linlithgow were 7-0 down after 15 minutes.  Livingston’s pressure meant that the Reds were forced on the defensive.  They weathered the storm and hit back to score a great team try on the stroke of half time, finished off by winger, Ruairidh Aitken, in the corner.  Soon after the interval, Aitken scored again to give the Young Reds the lead.  Livingston continued to press but Linlithgow were not to be denied.  Ten minutes before the end, a breakout try, scored by Ross Oliver and converted by John Strachan, sealed the win for Linlithgow to bring the trophy to Mains Park for the first time since 1991.

Reds Return to Winning Ways in the Driving Rain

Linlithgow  52 – 0  Hawick Harlequins

Saturday 14 December 2013

Mascots, Dylan Kelly (P1) and Alexander Dunlop (P6), led Linlithgow First XV out at Mains Park last Saturday, as the Reds faced Hawick Harlequins in an RBS League One match. The conditions were atrocious, as Linlithgow kicked off with the strong wind behind them.

The heavy rain had already affected parts of the pitch and both sides took some time to settle down. For the first 10 minutes honours were even, but as the home pack began to get on top, scrum half, Dougie Thomson, saw an opportunity and barged over for the first try, converted by Ross Martin. The game was being played in the visitors half and Linlithgow pressure told when a second try followed, this time from winger, Ross Plenderleith.  Ross Martin again added the conversion.

By now Linlithgow, using the wind advantage, were in total control and threatening to score every attack. After the ball was held up behind the Hawick try line, the Reds’ forwards drove the five-metre scrum back over the line, allowing Number 8, Ally Wood, to touch down for a third try, again converted by Ross Martin.

The game was marred by a lengthy injury to one of the Hawick players who was stretchered off and had to be taken to hospital.  In the aftermath, the Linlithgow pack was again driving forwards when the scrum collapsed.  The referee had no hesitation in awarding the home side a penalty try and Ross Martin completed a clean sweep bring the half time score to 28-0.

During the interval both teams changed into dry strips, Linlithgow sportingly lending their visitors their change strips.  But no strip was going to remain dry for long in the driving rain.  The pattern of the game did not change either, as soon after the interval Ally Wood dived over for his second try of the game.  Ross Martin, who clearly had his kicking boots on, slotted over a difficult conversion into the wind.

In the gloom, Quins tried gamely, but, even playing against the wind, Linlithgow remained in control.  Ally Wood sealed his hat-trick before Ross Martin missed his first kick of the day.  Then Billy Edment came off the bench to score two tries in quick succession, with one of them being converted.  The sparse and rain-soaked crowd were delighted when the referee called proceedings to a halt with the final score at 52-0.

At that stage, the crowd could barely see the players through the gloom. It was a credit to the players that they put in a fine display despite the conditions.  There was good news for the visitors when the injured Harlequins player returned from hospital with only mild concussion.  Linlithgow have the confidence from a bonus-point win to take to the Borders this Saturday to play Harlequins’ neighbours Hawick Linden in a rearranged game.

Linlithgow XV: Russell Murdoch; Tyrone Watson, Scott Watson,  Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Chris Ronalson and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Jake Tritton and Stuart Jamieson; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: Billy Edment, Josh Hares and John Smith.

Reds Suffer from Second-Half Blues!

Linlithgow  16 – 27  North Berwick

Saturday 07 December 2013

North Berwick, currently 3rd in RBS East League One came to Mains Park in confident mood, although the previous game between these two sides had been very close.  Mascots, Euan Melia (P2) and Josh Nicol (P5), led out Linlithgow Firsts, who were playing in their change strip of blue.

The home side kicked off into the very cold breeze and were first on the attack.  Linlithgow were rewarded with a penalty, which went narrowly wide. The home side were putting pressure on, and, following good work from Billy Edment, Linlithgow were awarded another penalty which Ross Martin converted.  Linlithgow were on top in terms of possession, but not threatening the North Berwick try line.

The visitors received a yellow card when referee, Ian Young, spotted one infringement too many. However, it was the visitors who scored next with a penalty. Linlithgow had two more penalty chances from Ross Martin as the half drew to a close, missing one and converting the other. This meant the first half ended with a narrow home lead of 6-3 but Linlithgow will feel that their domination should have yielded more points.

Half-time:  Linlithgow 6 – 3 North Berwick

The second half was a disaster from a Linlithgow point of view.  Against the wind, they were pinned into their own 22, unable to clear their lines.  A precision kick to the corner gave the visitors great position, and, after their next drive was held up, from the five-metre scrum, there was a big gap in the home defence allowing a try under the posts that was converted.

North Berwick were playing confident, flowing rugby at this point and scored another try in the corner, slotting over the difficult conversion from out wide.  Minutes later, a penalty was added from almost the same spot and the game was slipping away from Linlithgow.

The home side rallied with an unconverted try from Ally Wood, which reduced the deficit to 9 points.  Just as the crowd was thinking Linlithgow might salvage something from the game, the North Berwick centre intercepted a pass from inside the Linlithgow 22 to score under the posts and seal the game.  Substitute, Russell Murdoch, dived over for a consolation try but it was a case of too little too late. The final score was 27-16 to North Berwick.

Meanwhile the Reds 2s, also playing in the change strip of blue (too many teams in our league have red as their main strip colour!) had travelled to Duns where they won 15-0 to keep up their excellent record.

Linlithgow Reds XV: Euan Murray; Tyrone Watson, Aaron Flucker,  Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Matt Dixon and David Martin; Adam Kelly, Billy Edment and Chris Archer; Jake Tritton and Stuart Jamieson; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: Stuart Cunningham, Graeme Crow, Russell Murdoch and Cameron Dori-Muir.

Reds Struggle but Manage Bonus Point Win

Duns 9 – 22 Linlithgow

Saturday 30 November 2013

Last Saturday the Reds headed to the Borders to play Duns, who have been struggling at the lower end of the league this season. It was a sunny day, with only a light breeze and not in keeping with what you might expect heading into December.

Linlithgow kicked off and immediately created several attacks, as the home side struggled to get out of their own half.  It was, therefore, no surprise when the Reds forwards mounted a sustained attack ending with Euan Richardson scoring in the corner. The conversion was missed.

Linlithgow were dominating, particularly in the scrum, and only mistakes from the Reds prevented further scoring.  During Duns first foray into Linlithgow territory, they lost the ball, Linlithgow got quick ball out to Ross Plenderleith who kicked on from the halfway line and won the race to the try line.  His try was converted by Ross Martin.

From the restart, Duns won a penalty to reduce the deficit before Ross Martin scored in the corner after more good work from the forwards, with the conversion missed.  As half time approached, Duns scored another penalty to take the score at the interval to 6-17.  Most observers would have agreed that this was not a fair reflection of the story of the half.

The second half was more even, although Linlithgow remained the stronger side.  When Duns went down to 14 men, Linlithgow should have capitalised on their advantage by scoring a couple of tries, but one or two of the backs held on too long when they should have made use of the overlap.  Duns briefly went down to 13 men, as Stu Young was spear tackled, and, from the next play, Billy Edment was on hand to chase a loose ball for the bonus try, which was unconverted.

Duns scored another penalty before the scrums went uncontested.  The game petered out, but not before the referee evened up the yellow card count by sending both Ty Watson and Nicky Cowan to the bin just before the end.  The game finished with a Reds victory by 22-9.

Away wins are always welcome, whatever the opposition.  This was a fixture Linlithgow lost last season.

Linlithgow: Matt Dixon; Ty Watson, David Martin, Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith;  Chris Ronalson and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Billy Edment and Chris Archer; Jake Tritton and Graeme Crow; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: Stu Young, Stuart Jamieson, Nick Cowan, Euan Murray.

Reds Lose but Come Close Again

Dunbar  17 – 11  Linlithgow

Saturday 02 November 2013

Linlithgow RFC travelled to Dunbar for their RBS East League One game last Saturday.  The game kicked off in atrocious conditions with the rain falling and Linlithgow playing into the wind.  The Reds settled more quickly and although the home side built up several attacks, the Linlithgow line never looked threatened.

Both sides missed the opportunity of scoring through a penalty before the Reds gradually began to dominate territory.  Winger, Ty Watson, twice burst forward and then John Chapman made an excellent break from stand-off but a despairing tackle stopped him in his tracks.

After half an hour the Reds forwards were driving forward and were brought down.  The culprit was lucky to escape with only a penalty as the offence was right in front of the posts and Ross Martin kicked the points.  Four minutes later Dunbar won a line out in the Reds 22 and, after securing their ball, they drove over in the corner to score a try, with the conversion missed.

With the weather improving, the Reds responded just before half time when, once again, their forwards drove forwards.  Euan Richardson secured the important touch down to score and, with this conversion also missed, the Reds finished the half 8-5 in front.

Linlithgow began the second half with determination and pressed towards the home line.  Dunbar were having to defend well but the Reds continued to attack.  Then the visitors fell to a sucker punch.  After ten minutes Dunbar broke out of their 22 for the first time since the interval and did so with purpose, their player running the length of the field to score in the corner.

This knocked Linlithgow back and, two minutes later, another Reds’ attack resulted in a Dunbar break out almost resulting in a try in the same spot.  On this occasion the home player was judged to be held up.  Dunbar had their tails up and forced a succession of scrums close to Linlithgow’s try line.  On the third one the Number Eight picked up and drove over for a try that was converted to give the home side a 17-8 lead.

Linlithgow picked themselves up and resumed their attack.  As they continued to press, Dunbar’s defence became more desperate.  A Dunbar player was sent to the sin bin and Ross Martin converted the resulting penalty.  Soon afterwards, a Linlithgow driving maul was heading for the line when the referee stopped play to intervene in an off-the-ball fracas.

The game had run into overtime but a series of penalties for the visitors meant that play continued until eventually Dunbar secured the ball and kicked it out to end the game with a home win of 17-11.  The roar of relief from the home crowd told its own story of how close Linlithgow were running them.

With the league programme now at the half-way point, Linlithgow’s position reflects what they have done so far.  They are fifth, having beaten all the teams below them and lost to the four above them.  But all those defeats have been away from home and three of them have been close enough to earn the Reds a losing bonus point. Even the heavy defeat at Preston Lodge was in a game where the Reds were ahead at half time so, when the league resumes in two weeks, the players need to focus on the positives to maintain momentum.

Linlithgow: Matt Dixon; Ty Watson, Scott Watson, Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and David Martin; Billy Edment, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Graeme Crow and Stuart Jamieson; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood.

Subs: John Pauley, Jake Tritton and Dougie Thomson

Another Bonus Point Win for the Reds

Linlithgow  25 – 12  Portobello

Saturday 26 October 2013

Last Saturday Linlithgow welcomed Portobello to Mains Park in an RBS East League One match sponsored by T.G.I.S.  The Reds were led out by mascots from their Micros and Minis section, Jasper Morrison and Ruaridh McGuire.

While scoring points has come easy to Linlithgow this season, the same cannot be said for the visitors whose last try was in August.  The Reds were without the influential Euan Richardson, but there is competition for places these days and Linlithgow fielded a strong team out, aiming to collect yet another bonus point.

Portobello had the first chance to score from a penalty, but missed in front of the posts.  Linlithgow responded with a penalty through Matt Dixon.  Prop, Adam Kelly, then scored a try which Matt Dixon followed up with an excellent conversion from the touchline.  The Reds were in control but some of the play was loose.  Stuart Cunningham nearly scored before centre, Ty Watson, finished off a fine move.  Dixon put the conversion wide.  Just at the end of the half, Portobello had the chance to put some points on the board from another penalty.  Unluckily for them, the ball hit the post square on and bounced back into play leaving the half time score at 15-0.

With the scoring form of the two sides in recent weeks, the home crowd might have expected the floodgates to open in the second half.  The visitors, however, had not travelled simply to make up the numbers.  Portobello controlled long phases of the early part of the second half, scoring an unconverted try early on, and, for a while, Linlithgow struggled even to get into Portobello territory.

When the breakthrough came, it was captain, Billy Edment, who intercepted a pass and ran in unopposed, with the conversion missed.  This seemed to give the home side more energy and it was not long before hooker, Stuart Cunningham, went over for the bonus try, again, unconverted.   At 25-5 the game was won, and Linlithgow lost concentration, allowing Portobello to make the score respectable with a try under the posts, converted via a drop goal. The final score was 25-12.

A win is a win and a bonus point is even better, but Linlithgow know that they will have to raise their game next week when they tackle Dunbar away.

Linlithgow XV: Matt Dixon; Andy Birrell, Andrew Wood, Euan Murray and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and David Martin; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Graeme Crow and Stuart Jamieson; Ross Martin, Jake Tritton and Ally Wood.

Subs: Billy Edment, Ty Watson, Josh Hares

Reds Edged Out in a Thrilling Finish!

RHC Cougars  27 – 22  Linlithgow

Saturday 19 October 2013

Linlithgow RFC travelled the short trip to Edinburgh to face Royal High Corstorphine where they were hoping to make amends for a heavy defeat there in August.  The game did not start well for the visitors, as they lost a converted try in virtually the first play. Linlithgow responded well and had a sustained spell of pressure which ended with a penalty to Linlithgow, Dixon hitting the outside of the post.  However, RHC came back and scored another try with only their second visit into their opponent’s territory, this time unconverted.

But this is a different Linlithgow side from August and they took the game to RHC.  Euan Richardson scored a fine try, bursting through the defence from 20 yards out.  With Dixon off having his ankle strapped, Ross Martin narrowly missed the conversion.  Linlithgow then had another spell of pressure, without being able to make that final pass count.  The Reds were dominating the lineout and, as the half progressed, they were increasingly the better team. Dixon, ankle secured, stepped up to narrow the score with a trademark penalty from distance to make the half time score 12-8.

RHC made the better start to the second half, adding a penalty and then, it has to be said, a soft converted try to take them into a 14 point lead and things were looking ominous for the visitors.  With 20 minutes to go, Linlithgow threw everything into the game.  The forwards were immense, unlucky to be held up over the line on one occasion.

From the very next move, the forwards won the ball and pushed over, Richardson coming up with the ball for his second try of the match, this time converted by Dixon.  In a thrilling finish, Linlithgow were pressing more and more.  The ball went the full width of the park, allowing Ross Plenderleith to squeeze in at the corner.  Dixon slotted the conversion from the touchline to tie the game with one minute left to play.

From the kick off the ball went straight into touch on the bounce and all the visitors had to do was to secure their own ball which they had been doing all day.  Sadly it did not happen and RHC sprayed the ball wide and squeezed over in the corner.  The conversion was missed and there was no time for restart, making the final score 27-22 to RHC.

The players will have been frustrated at the final whistle but there are far more positives than negatives about this performance and a glance at the league table shows Linlithgow are improving each week.

Linlithgow XV: Matt Dixon; Andy Birrell, Andrew Wood, Euan Murray and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and Dougie Thomson; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Billy Edment; Stuart Jamieson and Jake Tritton; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: Chris Archer, Graeme Crow, Neil Lockhart and David Martin.

Reds Run Up 50 Points at Home

Linlithgow  50 – 5  Langholm

Saturday 12 October 2013

Linlithgow RFC Firsts were led out by Micros mascot, Caiden Duncan, when they took the field at Mains Park against Langholm last Saturday (12 October).  Linlithgow were playing in their change strip of blue to avoid a colour clash with the visitors and the game was also being sponsored by the Rugby Club’s own Male Voice Choir.

The home side established an early dominance in territory despite an early disruption to the team when John Chapman had to come off, with Andrew Wood moving to 10 and Ty Watson coming on to the field.  Ty Watson immediately had a good run and, soon after that attack, Linlithgow were denied a try when Euan Murray was held up behind the Langholm try line.

An enterprising cross kick by Matt Dixon reached winger, Ross Plenderleith, but the winger put a foot in touch.  The pressure told in the end, however, when scrum half, David Martin, picked up from the rear of a ruck and dived over for a try.  Dixon converted the kick.

Soon afterwards, a superb break by Ross Martin was halted when he was tackled in the 22 but Andrew Wood provided good support to take the ball and touch down under the posts to leave Dixon the easy conversion.  There was a wake-up call for the Reds almost immediately.  In their first foray into the home side’s 22, only a forward pass prevented Langholm from scoring.

Linlithgow returned to the attack and after another good drive by the forwards the ball was moved along the line to Ty Watson.  He still had work to do but he evaded all tackles to score.  Dixon converted while Watson left the field, with Chapman returning.

In the period up to half time, Langholm had a concerted spell of pressure.  The Reds were defending well but the referee sent Nicky Cowan to the sin bin.  The continual pressure and the man advantage paid for Langholm when they scored a try.  The conversion was missed to leave the half time score at 21-5.

Langholm began the second half as they finished the first, by pressing forward.  Ross Plenderleith then went on a blistering run from his own half to score the fourth, bonus-point try.  Dixon added an excellent conversion.  Dixon then had to show his defensive capabilities, firstly with an excellent last-man tackle and then with two clearing kicks that took the Reds well out of their own 22.

The Reds resumed their attacking, however, and, after an excellent break by Wood and support play from Plenderleith, Ross Martin dived over for another try, which was converted to make the score 35-5.  The wind was now knocked out of the visitors.  The Reds stole a line-out and Plenderleith was on the end of the passing move to score again.  Dixon could not convert the difficult kick for once.

Plenderleith was having a field day and he was on hand to take a pass from Euan Murray to secure his hat-trick  Dixon slotted this kick to take the score to 47-5.  The home side was completely on top and, as the game drew to a close, stand-off, John Chapman, coolly dropped a goal to make the half-century for the Reds.  The final score was 50-5.

Linlithgow XV: Matt Dixon; Euan Murray, Andy Wood, Scott Watson and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and David Martin; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Billy Edment (c); David Syme and Jake Tritton; Nicky Cowan, Euan Richardson and Ross Martin.

Subs: Scott Herdman, Neil Lockhart and Ty Watson.

Reds Turn on the Style in the Borders with Five Tries

Hawick Harlequins  20 – 35  Linlithgow

Saturday 05 October 2013

Linlithgow RFC travelled to Hawick Harlequins for the very first time.  It was, once again, a bright sunny day, perfect for rugby, as Linlithgow kicked off into a strong breeze.

The first 10 minutes were even as both sides tested each other.  The home side had the first scoring opportunity but they missed the penalty.  Linlithgow then started to dominate. They broke through with two scores in quick succession, through a Matt Dixon penalty from the 10 metre line and then a try from lock, Stuart Jamieson, after great work from John Chapman, Euan Richardson and Ross Martin.  The conversion was missed.

The home side got points on the board with a penalty straight from the restart.  Linlithgow responded with the try of the season so far.  Martin, Plenderleith and Cowan all combined well to allow John Chapman to dive over in the corner, converted by Dixon.  Both teams missed another penalty and the home side were working hard to get back into the game but the Reds’ defence was up to the task.  As the game neared half time, Linlithgow had three more chances with breaks by Plenderleith and a good kick ahead from Chapman but the only reward was another penalty, making it 18-3 at half time with a Quins player sent to the bin in the same incident.

The second half saw Quins dominate early on and, when Ross Martin was yellow carded, there were ominous signs.  Hawick scored their first try, missing the conversion.  The Reds weathered the storm and, with Martin back on, Ross Plenderleith scored, not long after he had been held up behind the line.  This time he came off his wing to support play in the centre and burst through under the posts.  Dixon slotted over the conversion.

Andrew Wood went over in the corner for the Reds’ fourth try after good play by Murray and Dixon, with the latter just missing the conversion.  With the bonus point in the bag the Reds then went to sleep, gifting Hawick two quick tries, one of them converted.

This made the points difference only 10 with 10 minutes to go.  It was Linlithgow who sealed the win, with David Martin picking the ball up in the loose.  He surprised the defence by running at them when they expected the ball to be moved along the line and he scored in the corner with the conversion missed to make the final score 35-20 in Linlithgow’s favour.

The match marked the first start for recent arrival Graeme Crow, playing alongside Stuart Jamieson in the boilerhouse, and the welcome return of recently married flying wing Andy Birrell.

Linlithgow XV: Matt Dixon; Euan Murray, Nicky Cowan, Andy Wood and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and David Martin; Adam Kelly, Stuart Cunningham and Billy Edment; Graeme Crow and Stuart Jamieson ; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Jake Tritton.

Subs: David Syme, John Smith and Andy Birrell.

Reds Edged Out at Seaside

North Berwick  20 – 17  Linlithgow

Saturday 28 September 2013

Last Saturday Linlithgow RFC travelled along the coast to North Berwick who, like the Reds, had won 2 of their 3 league games so far.  It was a bright sunny day, perfect for rugby, as the home side kicked off.

North Berwick were first to threaten and for the first ten minutes the home side looked more likely to score. It was no surprise when they did, with a penalty, and then threatened further but a swift clearance cleared the danger.  North Berwick won another penalty that they missed, as Linlithgow struggled to get to grips with the game.

Gradually Linlithgow did come more into the game and winger, Ty Watson, almost scored, being robbed on the line.  During the same attack, Ross Martin burst through the defence to score a try, Dixon slotting the conversion in off the post. Soon after Linlithgow were given another chance with a penalty, duly slotted through the uprights by Dixon from the 10 yard line.

The home side had most of the possession, but the Reds were looking the more dangerous.  As the pressure mounted, the referee took time out to speak to both front rows. As half time approached, Linlithgow gifted the home side a try when Ross Martin, running out of defence, passed to a North Berwick player who ran in unopposed to score a try that was duly converted. Linlithgow came back with a super try from Ty Watson, who was tackled again just before the line, but, this time, reached out and placed the ball over. Dixon converted to bring the half time score to 10-17.

The second half began well enough for the Reds, Dixon just missing with a penalty as Linlithgow looked to extend their lead.  As the half wore on, to say things went against Linlithgow would be an understatement.  Ally Wood received a yellow card, which put the home side in the driving seat. North Berwick missed the resultant penalty.

As the game entered the final quarter, the home side were camped on the Linlithgow try line.  The home side closed the gap with an unconverted score. The Reds were hanging on, as injuries to both of Linlithgow’s props meant that the game went to uncontested scrums.  With only a few minutes to go, North Berwick managed to drive the ball over the line.  The missed conversion did not matter as there was not enough time for the Reds to hit back..

The final score was 20-17.  This was a hard one to take. All three home tries were preventable one way or another and the bonus losing point was scant reward for a good performance.

Linlithgow XV: Matt Dixon; Ty Watson, Euan Murray, Scott Watson and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and Andrew Wood; Billy Edment, Adam Kelly and Chris Archer; Neil Lockhart and Jake Tritton; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Alistair Wood. Subs: iain Wainwright, David Martin, Stuart Jamieson and Stuart Young.

Reds Bounce Back with Try Bonanza

Linlithgow  55 – 5  Duns

Saturday 21 September 2013

Last Saturday Linlithgow RFC entertained Duns in the RBS East League One encounter.  The home side was led out by Micros mascot, Florence Cotton, who is the grand-daughter of the Reds’ first Club Captain back in the early 70s.

The Reds were the first to settle and mounted some early pressure that resulted in a successful penalty from Matt Dixon.  The visitors missed a kick two minutes later but then mounted a short series of attacks.  Linlithgow hit back and stole a line out ball which was then passed swiftly along the back division to give winger, Euan Murray, an overlap and he crashed over in the corner for the first try.  The conversion was unsuccessful.

A few minutes later, on the opposite wing, Ross Plenderleith got in on the act with his usual burst of pace to score in the opposite side.  This time Dixon converted the difficult kick to take the score to 15-0.  The Reds were definitely in control.  Centre, Scott Watson, kicked ahead and Duns were forced to concede a line-out.  Quick thinking and a quick throw resulted in flanker, Euan Richardson, scoring with Dixon adding the two points.

The Reds were launching another attack up the left wing and another home try looked certain when the final pass was intercepted.  The Duns player ran virtually the length of the field to score.  With the unsuccessful conversion, this took the half time score to 22-5.

This week there was no post-interval slump from Linlithgow.  Two minutes after the re-start Ross Martin flicked the ball off the ground and Neil Lockhart covered the ground to the try line to dive over for the fourth, bonus-point try.  Matt Dixon’s kick went in off one of the posts.

In the fiftieth minute, John Chapman went on a darting run upfield and found Euan Murray with a pass.  The winger still had some work to, as he cut inside two men to take the ball nearer to the posts, leaving Dixon with an easier task which he successfully completed.

With the score now 36-5 to the Reds, the home side was totally dominant.  Captain Billy Edment looked in the clear when the ball was kicked ahead but he was pulled back for offside.  The score was not long delayed, as Ross Plenderleith received a pass in his own half and ran round his opposite number to create space up the wing.  His speed took him all the way but Dixon’s kick this time rebounded back from the post.

All credit to Duns who then had spell of possession and pressure requiring the Reds to show their defensive capabilities.  This was ended when substitute, Ty Watson, burst through the middle of the field to score next to the posts. Dixon made no mistake from there.

As the game was drawing to a close, good handling left the Reds with an overlap but the final pass did not go to hand.  The 50-point barrier was to be broken, however, as a good passing movement again created the space for Matt Dixon to score.  He got up and converted his own try to make the final score 55-5.

Team: Matt Dixon; Euan Murray, Calum Townend, Scott Watson and Ross Plenderleith; John Chapman and Andrew Wood; Billy Edment, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Neil Lockhart and Jake Tritton; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Alistair Wood.  Subs: David Syme, Iain Wainwright and Ty Watson.

Second Half Try Blitz Finishes Off the Reds

Preston Lodge  53 – 24  Linlithgow

Saturday 14 September 2013

Linlithgow RFC travelled to Preston Lodge for last Saturday’s RBS East League 1 encounter where the game kicked off in bright sunshine.

The two sides tested each other out in midfield during the early stages before Ross Martin successfully kicked a penalty to give the Reds an early lead.  Preston Lodge replied almost at once with their inside centre running from his own half to cross the line.  The kick was converted.

Play was swinging back and forwards at this stage.  A good clearance kick by John Chapman led to a line out deep in Preston Lodge’s half.  The Reds stole the line-out and this led to a penalty which Ross Martin again kicked.  On the 24th minute Linlithgow were awarded another penalty.  This time Mark Dixon kicked the ball over and the Reds were, once again, in the lead at 9-7.

Five minutes later, the Reds turned the ball over and good handling sent the ball out to Ross Plenderleith who tore up the wing to score in the corner.  The kick was missed and soon afterwards Preston Lodge converted a penalty to keep them in touch.  Just before the interval, the ball was scooped off the ground and passed to Plenderleith who, again, used his speed to cross the line.  Dixon converted the score to give the Reds a half time lead of 21-10.

Half Time:  Preston Lodge 10 – 21 Linlithgow

Their post-interval curse hit the Reds this week once more.  Within two minutes of the restart, Preston Lodge scored a try that was converted to bring them right back into the game.  They followed this up, six minutes later, with two tries in three minutes, one of which was converted.  Just over ten minutes after the referee had begun the half, the game had swung completely with the Reds now looking at a deficit of 29-21 and they will feel that they contributed to their woes by not clearing their lines more effectively.

In their first meaningful attack of the half, however, the Reds secured a penalty which Ross Martin kicked to keep Linlithgow in touch briefly.  The momentum was, however, now definitely with the home side.  Their backs were now running at pace and with confidence, making ground every time they moved the ball along the line.  It was no surprise when another quick move resulted in a try under Linlithgow’s posts.

The Reds had their backs to the wall and for a while they resisted some consistent pressure defending three five-metre scrums in quick succession.  Running from further out, another good offload allowed Preston Lodge’s centre to score under the posts.  The conversion rebounded off the post but the score was now 41-24 to the home side.

As the game was drawing to a close, Preston Lodge had their tails very definitely up and in the closing three minutes they ran in two more tries, one of which was converted, making the final score 53-24.  This was a convincing win but the Reds will want to look at their first half performance against one of the league’s strongest sides.

Neil Richardson; Ross Plenderleith, Mark Dixon, Nicky Cowan and Euan Murray; John Chapman and David Martin; Billy Edment, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Stuart Jamieson and Jake Tritton; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson and Ally Wood. Subs: John Pauley, David Syme and Dougie Thomson.

Bonus Point Win for Reds Against Borderers

Linlithgow  33 – 7  Hawick Linden

Saturday 07 September 2013

Newly-promoted Hawick Linden were the visitors last Saturday at Mains Park for the first League game of the season.  Mascots, Cailean Vorster and Douglas Calder from the Clubs Mini Rugby Section, led the Reds out and inspired Linlithgow to a bright start.  The game was only five minutes old when winger, Ross Plenderleith, used his speed up the wing to dive over for a try.  Matt Dixon slotted the difficult conversion.

Soon after, Linlithgow won a line-out close to the visitors’ try-line and the forwards drove the ball over, with Captain, Billy Edment, securing the score.  The conversion was even further out wide but Dixon added the two points.

This prompted the visitors into a spell of pressure and the game moved into the home side’s half.  An excellent tackle by Matt Dixon stopped a dangerous-looking run but this resulted in a yellow card for the Reds full back for not releasing.  A kick from John Chapman put Linlithgow deep into the Hawick half and the Reds resumed their pressure.

The Reds pack was driving the scrum backwards when a quick pass out wide released Ross Plenderleith who scored close to the posts.  The easier kick was converted by Matt Dixon to take the half time score to 21-0.  This was Dixon’s last move in the game as he was replaced at the interval by his brother.

Half Time:  Linlithgow 21 – 0 Hawick Linden

In a return to last season’s failings the Reds were caught napping straight after the interval and Hawick Linden went on the attack.  In the 45th minute their forwards drove over the line with their Number Eight rose with the ball.  The conversion added two points and Linlithgow had to be careful not to let their visitors back into this game.

The Borderers were disrupted badly two minutes later when the scorer went down badly.  He had to be stretchered off the pitch and was taken to hospital with a dislocated knee.  The Reds, too, had to cope with an injury to Callum Townend which meant the team had to be reshuffled.

The crowd thought Ross Martin had scored but this was disallowed for a double movement but there was no doubt the home side was now in the ascendancy.  Midway through the half Chapman sent a cross-kick over but Ross Plenderleith, in the clear, just failed to gather it.  Then the Linlithgow backs produced as good a try as has been seen in recent seasons at Mains Park.  Superb handling and inter-passing by Ross Plenderleith, Euan Murray and John Chapman saw winger, Murray, crash over for a wonderful effort to bring up the bonus-point try.

The home side continued to dominate and, from another good scrum, the ball was again moved wide.  Mark Dixon burst into the line and did not need the overlap outside him as he crashed over for a try.  Ross Martin added the two points.  This finished the scoring with the final result 33-7.

After a difficult pre-season and a bad mauling the week before by RHC, this was a good win for the Reds to begin their league programme.  Jon Blundell, the Director of Rugby, said, “It is always good to begin the league programme with a win but it was pleasing to see the team play so well and confidently.  We also send our best wishes to Hawick Linden’s injured player and hope he makes a good recovery.”