Reds Match Reports for Season 2011-2012

Reds Match Reports for Season 2011-2012

Reds Slip Up in Last Minute to Lose Out at Peffermill

EU Blues  20 – 10  Linlithgow

Saturday 10th March 2012

On Saturday 10th March 2012 Linlithgow travelled to Peffermill to play Edinburgh University Blues. The Blues kicked off and quickly put the Reds line under pressure.  Reds defended well clearing their lines, often opting to kick the ball from hand only for the Blues to run it straight back at them.

The Reds managed to gain territory and move in to the Blues half.  A kickable penalty was awarded against the Blues for not rolling away, the penalty  just drifted wide. The Reds continued to pressurise the Blues line but just couldn’t convert the pressure to points.

The Blues then ran in two unconverted tries.

The Reds took the second restart and attacked the Blues line, with the match being played at a furious pace and the ball pinging between both packs.

The Reds ran the ball at the Blues, passing it through hands when Les Richardson jinked past the Blues backs to score an unconverted try.

Ten minutes later, the forwards won the ball and fed it out to Ross Martin, who drew in the Blues defence, and offloaded the ball to the advancing Ross Penderleith who sprinted for the line showing a clean pair of heals to two defenders in touching down for a try.

The Blues were desperate to get points and were making mistakes.  With 7 minutes to go the Reds kicked towards the Blues line.  Ross Penderleith chased the kick up and was unlucky not to retrieve it, the Blues took the ball, the tackle was missed. The Blues weaved the ball up the pitch and despite some valiant defending the Blues crossed the Reds line under the posts. The Reds had run themselves into the ground and were making mistakes conceding several penalties within kickable range. Neither of the teams’ kickers had converted any kicks to points, the Blues kicker finally found his boots and put the last of these penalties over denying the Reds a deserved bonus point.

Birrell, Watson, Richardson, Bennie, Penderleith, Chapman, Bredin, Archer, Cunningham, Cavana, C Black, Gillanders, L Black,  Thomson,  Martin  Subs (all used) Dobie,  Jamieson, Barnes.

(Again the selectors had been forced to call three changes to the named squad and two of the substitutes, a condition that has plagued the Reds all season.)

Reds Triumph in Fiesty Local Derby

Linlithgow  29 – 20  Livingston

Saturday 3rd March 2012

Last Saturday saw the final derby this season against local rivals Livingston with the possibility of a jump in league placing for the Reds if they got their act together. The selectors had the usual last minute difficulties but still the team that took the park was strong, and the weather was set fair with the usual wind.

Linlithgow: Andy Birrell; Ross Plenderleith, Mark Green, Donald Bennie, Tyrone Watson; John Chapman, Mikey Walker; Matthew Archer, Stuart Cunningham, Jonny Cavana; Graeme McCallum, Charlie Gillanders[c]; Logan Black, Cal Thomson, Ross Martin.

Subs [all used]: Euan Gunn, Lewis Barnes, Connall Black

There was a minutes silence for Livingston stalwart Donald Naysmith who had lost a long battle and had passed away that morning.

The game started well for the Reds with the pack creating a lot of pressure, and after a penalty was just missed, John Chapman, at stand-off, showed how slippy he can be with a run into the 5-yard scoring area and the pack took over with Matthew Archer darting over for a try, new kicker Donald Bennie adding the conversion.

As was to be expected Livvy came back and their big No 8, Reynolds scored well out leaving winger Edwards to slot a tricky conversion. 7 – 7 until the half hour when Bennie added a penalty and he sent over a cracker of a conversion a few minutes later following a great Reds rolling maul with Charlie Gillanders scoring. The Reds kept the pressure up with John Chapman putting in some good kicks with the wind, and making ground with the ball in hand. Livvy came back just before the whistle with a penalty. Half-time and Reds 17 – 10 up.

The second half had hardly started when Chapman sent the ball down the left wing and after it had been bobbled about by both sides it eventually came to Archer who took advantage of a comedy of errors to score in the corner, Bennie adding a very difficult kick.

The Reds pressure and occupation of the Livingston territory continued and big Graeme McCallum just swerved out of a couple of would-be tackles to score near the same corner, without a conversion.

Chapman showed that he is a stand-off in the making with some decent kicking, and a couple of errors, and a fine fifty-yard break outpacing his support.

At 29 – 10, and with the four-try bonus point, the Reds could have been forgiven for thinking the game was in the bag.  Well in a local derby anything can happen, and it did.  With half an hour to go the pace picked up, as did the level and type of infringements and the referee was drowning in the increasing tension, and started to make mistakes, which in turn exacerbated the situation.

Livingston’s Edwards struck a good penalty and when Reynolds added his second try and Edwards struck again the Reds comfortable margin had disappeared.  With five minutes to go, at 29 – 20, and the ball going up and down the park like a yoyo, tempers were overcoming sense on both sides and there were a few exchanges.  With five minutes left, Edwards, with probably his easiest kick, bounced the ball off the upright, it was gathered and in the next few minutes the ref dished out sin bin cards to each side.  The game went into the middle of the park, Edwards missed from long range and the whistle blew up.

Reds Get Stuck in the Mud at Langholm

Langholm  13 – 0  Linlithgow

Saturday 18th February 2012

Linlithgow travelled south to Langholm only to find the main pitch at Milntown unplayable and so the game was moved to the nearby pitch at Castleholm. Langholm kicked off with the wind advantage and quickly got 3 points on the board.  Linlithgow soaked up the pressure but couldn’t prevent Langholm building up a 13 point lead by half time.

Linlithgow started the second half and ‘swamped’ up the pitch gaining ground at scrums and lineouts this put the Langholm pack under pressure. Linlithgow failed to take advantage of scoring chances mainly due to the poor conditions under foot. Linlithgow had the majority of possession in the second half but were unable to get that all important score.  As can be seen from the pictures the players were treated to a Mud Bath Spa treatment!

Ellon  13 – 0  Linlithgow

Saturday 21st January 2012

Following a 9am pitch inspection by Ellon RFC, Linlithgow Rugby’s 1st XV headed north to Ellon, a 3 hour trip north of Aberdeen. This is not a happy hunting ground and Linlithgow made 10 squad changes from last Saturday, including one prop who only got the phonecall at 8:30am that morning.  Ross Martin made the subs bench hoping not to have to play.

For the first time, both Logan and Connall Black were in the starting line-up and with the return of David Syme, Charlie Gillanders was able to revert to his most effective position at no.8.  ‘Les’ Richardson played for the second week at centre, in the absence of Mark Green.  Andy McGown came in for Ross Plenderleith who was unable to make the journey.

Linlithgow:  Andy Birrell; Tyrone Watson, Chris Bredin, Euan Richardson, Andy McGown; John Chapman, Mikey Walker; Matthew Archer, Steven Dobie, Jonny Cavana; Connall Black, David Syme; Logan Black, Cal Thomson, Charlie Gillanders

Subs:  Nicky Cowan, John Pauley, Ross Martin (all used)

Linlithgow kicked off into a howling gale with intermittent driving rain. The pleasant sunshine experienced on the way up had made way for ominous dark clouds. However Linlithgow made a good account of themselves. Pinned back by some intelligent kicking from the Ellon stand off who was making use of the wind advantage, Linlithgow held firm. The forwards were giving as good as they were getting. It wasn’t all Ellon.

Stand off Champan made a couple of surging runs. Watson and Walker also went themselves into the opposition half with good runs. It took a full 30 minutes for the first score and it was Ellon who scored with a penalty just in front of the posts. As the half time whistle sounded Ellon headed for the sanctuary of their changing room leaving Linlithgow standing on the pitch in the driving rain. Not very sporting.

The second half was similar to the first. The Linlithgow forwards were winning ball but unable to produce the killer touch. Archer and Gillanders made runs and you got the feeling that Linlithgow were capable of getting something from the game. Dobie went off after he was hit in the face by an elbow, replaced by Pauley.

In the conditions Linlithgow were not taking advantage of the wind and inevitably Ellon scored a try from their number 12, not without controversy as the ref didn’t spot a knock on in the build up. It was converted.

McGown and Logan Black came off replaced by Martin and Cowan.  At  0-10 down Linlithgow were desperate to get something from the game. Cowan found an opening and made 40 yards before a foot went into touch. Linlithgow ended the game strongly but as the final whistle approached Ellon scored a penalty to make the final score 13-0.

The Reds can take much from this game. The forwards  held their own and the backs all had some good possession.  The Reds could have won the match.

Reds Lose Away at Second Placed Hawick YM

Saturday 14th January 2012

Linlithgow Rugby’s 1st XV made the long trip south to high flying Hawick YM who have only lost once this season. Linlithgow ran them close at Mains Park earlier in the season, but they have lost experienced players since then to injury.  The overnight frost had disappeared and although it was fresh, the conditions were fine for rugby.

Linlithgow:  Andy Birrell; Tyrone Watson, Mark Green, Euan Richardson, Andy McGown; Chris Ronalson, Russell Murdoch; Matthew Archer, Stuart Cunningham, Euan Gunn; John Brown, Charlie Gillanders; Steven Dobie, Cal Thomson, Ally Wood.

Subs: Jonny Cavana, Logan Black, Mikey Walker (all used)

Hawick YM  36 – 0  Linlithgow

Linlithgow got off to the worst possible start, losing a try to the home forwards in the first minute.  It wasn’t long until YM threatened again, the try avoided by the full back electing to pass when it might have been easier to score himself.  The home pack were dominant  and their forwards forced another try over, this time converted.

However, Linlithgow rallied and good interpassing with the backs released Watson who sidestepped 2 players and got into the opposition 22 for the first time but the defence dealt with it.  Linlithgow were not out of the game at this stage and had a fair bit of possession but most of it was inside their own half and they found it difficult to keep the ball.

Every time Hawick got the ball they threatened. The referee was playing his first game at this level and the home fans were in full voice every time the ball went to ground. It wasn’t a surprise when Gunn was the first of 3 Linlithgow players to receive a yellow card.  Towards the end of the half Hawick scored another try.

0-17 at the half, but it could have been worse.

The second half was littered with substitutions and yellow cards preventing a lot of flowing rugby. Again, most of the pressing came from the home side with wave after wave of attacks.

The Linlithgow defence held on resolutely despite Thomson and Wood receiving yellow cards. There was one yellow for the Hawick prop. This team is hard to beat but you cannot do it with one man short for almost half of the game.

Hawick scored another 3 late tries as Linlithgow tired.  It was physical at times and Linlithgow would not be bullied. The final score of 36-0 flattered the home side. From a Linlithgow point of view it was a better performance than last week but we need to be more potent in attack and start getting some points on the board.

Musselburgh  29 – 0  Linlithgow

Saturday 3rd December 2011

Linlithgow Rugby Club sent their 1st XV to Musselburgh Rugby Club’s ground at Stoneyhill for the first time in a league encounter.  The backs were the same as the previous week but the pack were missing two of the front row and lock Stu Bell, was out injured.  The selectors had their work cut out to find a front bench replacement, and had eventually warned Des Martin to find his boots, when Toby Binsted, who props for the third XV, stepped up to the plate rather than see the club let down.

Andy Birrell; Tyrone Watson, Mark Green, Chris Bredin, Ross Plenderleith; Chris Ronalson, Mikey Walker; Matthew Archer, Scott Carter, John Pauley; Stuart Jamieson, Charlie Gillanders; Euan Richardson, Callum Stevenson, Ross Martin.

Subs [all used] Russell Murdoch, David Syme, Toby Binsted.

The Reds started well, holding the league leaders comfortably for the first quarter until the home side’s stand-off, Danny Owenson, kicked a penalty, in off the upright.  Scarcely had the ball been kicked off when the ‘Burgh backs set up a fine move and sent full-back Draycott, who had scored twice in the first encounter at Mains Park, over for a try near the corner.  With the clock ticking down the Reds forwards took the ball to deep in the home 22 and pressured for five minutes, recycling and grinding forward.  It was slow to watch, but it was working, until the ball was released to the backs, fumbled, hacked on by a grateful Musselburgh back, gathered by Draycott who ran the length of the park to score at the posts, converted by Owenson. 0 – 15 down at half-time.

The selectors made a few changes, Walker was replaced by Murdoch at scrum-half, Richardson moved to replace the injured Bredin at centre and Syme came on at lock with Jamieson allowing Gillanders to revert to his favourite No 8 slot.  These changes seemed to work well but the sudden departure of the hooker, Carter, made for the call-up to duty of 46-year old veteran prop, Toby Binsted. The Linlithgow fans drew breath, as they knew that Toby was essentially a social rugby player, certainly not familiar, in recent years, to the demands of National league rugby.  However, with the move of Matthew Archer into hooker the Reds front row took on a more traditional shape, even a bit old-fashioned look, but none the less the opposition now had to contend with a united 60+ stone front row.  The Reds pack stopped going backwards and were delivering decent ball for the backs.

It must be said that the Musselburgh lads were very well drilled and the combination between backs and forwards was an indication as to why they are top of the league.  Slick running by the very elusive scrum-half, Murray, set up a move that saw flanker Bowman scoring near the posts. The Reds backs made a few individual breaks with that of winger Tyrone Watson being the best, gaining fifty yards only to be brought down by what was judged to be a high tackle on the 22. At a line-out near the Reds line a gap was given to Musselburgh No 5 Kirkland, and the big lad was unstoppable from ten yards, again converted by Owenson for the last score of the game with twenty minutes left.

Musselburgh deserved to win this game but to take only four tries from the Reds must have been well short of their expectations.  The Reds defence is good for nearly all of the time but again they lack a concerted back’s attack.

Dunfermline  17 – 0  Linlithgow

Saturday 26th November 2011


There were never 17 points in this keenly fought contest. Even the referee commented after the game that the Reds should have got something out of it.  The Reds were 0-7 down with 2 minutes to play and on the attack. A couple of mistakes later they lost 10 points and the game 17-0.  A draw would have been a fairer result.

From a Reds point of view, the highlight of the game was a try saving tackle by Ross Plenderleith who slipped on the half way line in the muddy conditions which gave the Dunfermline centre a 20 metre head start as he broke clear.  Ross caught him on the try line and turned him on his back as the Dunfermline supporters were all celebrating what they thought was a certain try.

Full Report:

Linlithgow Rugby 1st XV headed over the Forth to face 4th placed Dunfermline last Saturday looking to capitalise on their opponent’s recent loss of form.  A nightmare journey via Stirling was not ideal preparation as the Reds arrived just half an hour before kick-off.  The weather was blustery across the heavy pitch. Bredin was back in the centre allowing Richardson to return to the back row.

Linlithgow:  Andy Birrell; Ross Plenderleith, Mark Green, Chris Bredin, Tyrone Watson; Chris Ronalson, Mikey Walker; Matthew Archer, Steven Dobie, Jonny Cavana; David Syme, Stuart Bell; Ross Martin, Euan Richardson, Charlie Gillanders.

Subs [all used]: John Pauley, Callum Stevenson, Russell Murdoch.

The Dunfermline kick-off caught the wind and sailed out and at the resultant scrum the Reds went on the attack with a good touch kick from Ronalson taking the Reds into the home 22.  Despite several phases the Fifers defence held the Reds out, and when they were awarded a penalty the option for a quick tap was taken but the move broke down, a penalty awarded against and the chance was lost.  Dunfermline came back with a wind-assisted clearence kick into the Reds 22, and after a couple of rucks the home backs spotted a gap and their centre cantered through unopposed, the conversion a formality.  Later flanker Ross Martin broke through the initial defence and was dragged down 10 yards short but in the ensuing melee of arriving bodies the Reds gave away another penalty.  Linlithgow tried again and again and really dominated the possession but Dunfermline’s defence matched the Reds attack.

Half-time:  Dunfermline 7 – 0 Linlithgow

The Reds started the 2nd half applying pressure from the whistle.  Cavana and Watson broke away and took the ball into the 22.  A quick tap penalty was thwarted when the home centre infringed and was sent to the cooler.  Despite being a man down Dunfermline regrouped and kept the Reds at bay.  A dangerous moment passed when the other centre started from his own half and wrong-footed winger Ross Plenderleith who slipped.  With an open goal all the home lad had to do was coast in for a simple try.  However he did not realise that Plenderleith had an Eric Liddell moment and caught up the twenty yards, held him up on the line until the cavalry arrived, silencing the home fans who had celebrated too early.  At only 0-7 down the Reds returned to the task and despite both teams feeling the weather and the conditions underfoot, the game continued to see-saw from end to end and as the game drew to a close Dunfermline widened the gap to a cruel 10 – 0 with a penalty a few minutes from time.  In the scramble to secure a bonus point the Reds threw everything into a final effort, the ball was intercepted and Dunfermline added a converted try with the last kick of the game.

This was a real tough game to lose but what an improvement on the score just 12 weeks before.

Defences on Top in Tight Match at Mains Park

Linlithgow  6 – 9  RHC Cougars

Match report from webmaster; photos courtesy of Dave Hale and Graham Black

Ross Plenderleith on the attack (Dave Hale)

RHC Cougars visited Mains Park on Saturday for the return RBS National 1 league match.  The initial match, on the opening day of the season, had resulted in a narrow win for RHC at Barnton.  The return match at Mains Park finished the same way, with RHC running out 9-6 winners.

You might think that no tries and 5 penalties would make for a boring match, but there was much to admire defensively from both teams.  Mains Park is one of the biggest and best surfaces in the league and conditions on Saturday were perfect for rugby.  The fact that no tries were scored can be attributed to the solid defences on both sides and the work rate in the tackle was immense.

Over the piece, RHC deserved the win as, particularly in the second half, they controlled where the game was played – largely in the Linlithgow half – and their kicking from hand was probing, intelligent and well executed.

The Reds had again been forced into a number of changes, with Chris Bredin, Stuart Cunningham, Billy Edment and Callum Stevenson all injured from last week.  Cal Thomson stepped in at flanker to make his senior debut and Ross Martin started for the first time in a league match this season after a three month injury lay-off.  Steven Dobie stepped in at hooker and ‘Les’ Richardson moved out from flanker to inside centre.  It doesn’t help to have so many changes in personnel and to add to coach PJ’s problems, David Syme was off the field for nearly half the match with a shoulder injury.  He was replaced by Ben Clarke, who has been inspirational recently for the 2s.

The Reds threatened early in the match and had the bulk of the early play, converting two penalties for a 6-0 lead.  RHC came back in the second quarter and were, in turn, able to convert pressure to points through two penalties.

The second-half was largely played in the Linlithgow half and the Reds defence did well to restrict the visitors to a single penalty, albeit the score that decided the match.  Both sides had their fair share of the ball, but it was the Cougars kicking from hand that won the match.

A special mention for young Cal Thomson, making his league debut at flanker – he worked tirelessly throughout and showed his pace to good effect in the loose.

Linlithgow:  Andy Birrell; Tyrone Watson, Mark Green, Euan Richardson, Ross Plenderleith; Chris Ronalson, Mikey Walker; Matthew Archer, Steven Dobie, Jonny Cavana; David Syme, Stuart Bell (capt); Ross Martin, Cal Thomson, Charlie Gillanders.

Subs (all played):  John Pauley, Ben Clarke, Russell Murdoch.

Rugby report for Saturday 12th November 2011

Linlithgow  20 – 10  Edinburgh University Blues

After the poor performance the previous week Reds’ fans were not overly optimistic about their team’s fate against the students of Edinburgh University when they met last Saturday on Mains Park.  There was one change in the backs and two in the front row from last week with Ross Martin returning to the side on the bench after injury:

Andy Birrell; Ross Plenderleith, Mark Green, Chris Bredin, Tyrone Watson; Chris Ronalson, Mikey Walker; Matthew Archer, Stuart Cunningham, Jonny Cavana; David Syme, Stuart Bell (capt); Callum Stevenson, Euan Richardson, Charlie Gillanders.

Subs:  Steven Dobie, Ross Martin, Russell Murdoch.

Match Sponsor: GHI Contracts

Mascot: Sam McDonnell from P7.

Referee: Mike Goodman.

The Reds started off in the old style with a well-executed move: secure a line-out within ten yards, and a united rolling maul right over the line with young flanker Callum Stevenson claiming the touchdown near the corner, unconverted.  Annoyingly the students came right back with a dash up the left wing, a line-out, a clean take and a drive over, also unconverted.

After ten minutes of play Chris Ronalson popped over a penalty to take the score to 8 – 5 and there it stuck for the rest of the half although not without some very good attacks by the Uni backs.  Too regularly they managed to avoid tackles and sent the ball out to their very quick winger, Walkinshaw, and he always got past the first defender only to put his foot into touch three times, Linlithgow taking possession each time at the ensuing line-out.

There was little to pick between the packs with the Reds having the edge in the scrum, the Uni at the line-outs and each side retaining possession in the loose.

The 2nd half started as a repeat of the first until after ten minutes when the home pack managed to set up another rolling maul and this time they bundled over the line in the second phase with Stevenson claiming his second, albeit buried under a heap of bodies, near the posts leaving a simple conversion for Ronalson.

Ten minutes later the students unleashed their quick back line and helped by some woeful misses, and despite two cracking tackles, sent full-back Bryans over near the corner, unconverted.

The play stayed mainly in the middle of the field with little kicking by either side until the Reds pack managed to get near the line with about ten minutes or so to go.  For the first time in the game, and indeed this season, Linlithgow’s 1st XV took complete charge of what was happening on the park.  For ten grinding minutes with innumerable close quarter drives the pack did not give their opponents a sniff of the ball, crossing the line several times but either held up or the ref was unsighted.

This had two effects; it proved to the Reds that they could play a very solid game of nine-man rugby when it mattered, and it ran down the clock.  Eventually, to the delight of the home fans, and to an extent the relief of the Uni backs, sub hooker, Steven Dobie drove cleanly over the line to claim a well-earned pack’s try.

The students tried to come back and in fairness were throwing the ball about recklessly, but this time the Reds’ defence was having none of it and the game stalled in the middle of the park.  The students even rejected a last-minute penalty chance, which could have earned them a bonus point, in favour of a stab at the glory of a try, but it was not to be and the Reds got a big cheer when the whistle blew.

Rugby report for Saturday 5th November 2011

Match report courtesy of Dave Thomas

Remember, remember, the fifth of November; well the fans of both Linlithgow and Livingston rugby clubs, on a day just perfect for open running rugby, will be trying very hard to forget this particular local derby.  Livingston, the hosts, were without a win out of nine games although they had captured a bonus point from Garnock.  Linlithgow had one win from nine games and they had earned three bonus points.  Both clubs had been beset with injury problems and had called upon less experienced players who had stepped up to the plate and tried their best.  For the first time in ages the Reds were able to field the same starting line-up as the previous week:

Andy Birrell; Ross Plenderleith, Mark Green, Chris Bredin, Tyrone Watson; Chris Ronalson, Russell Murdoch; Jonny Cavana, Billy Edment, Michael Robertson; David Syme, Stuart Bell; Callum Stevenson, Euan Richardson, Charlie Gillanders.

Subs: [All used] Matthew Archer, Stuart Cunningham, Mikey Walker.

Livingston  3 – 13  Linlithgow

The first half reflected the usual friendly tussle of a local derby with no quarter being given or asked for, however the standard of play by both sides reflected their relative positions in the league.  The number of basic handling errors kept on growing and the turnover rate and loss of possession resulted in desperately slow play.  Rarely did either side make it into the opponent’s 22, and when they did the opportunities were spurned.  The referee made some strange decisions against both packs and when Chris Bredin was yellow-carded in injury time no-one could fathom the reasoning, although Livingston managed to score from a penalty by Cantley a minute before the whistle.  0 – 3 down.

The second half was a bit better with the Reds pressing for a win, and this turned out to be the difference between the sides.  When Cantley, the Livvy stand-off was sent, harshly, to the sin-bin just after kick-off, the Reds took advantage with Mark Green breaking through to send young winger Ross Plenderleith to score in the corner.  Ronnie Ronalson added an important penalty a quarter of an hour later and then with the game lapsing into a repeat of the first half, Plenderleith latched on to a hack through from a maul and kicked the ball towards the line from about forty yards out, then beat the defence to the ball and poked it forward over the line to touch down in the corner.  With seven or eight minutes to go the home side woke up and really tried their best to recover ten points; they came close but missed a penalty right at the end that would have earned them a consolation point.

This was the first time this reporter can remember Linlithgow actually coming away from Livingston with a league win and it was deserved, as they were the better team.

Rugby Report for Saturday 22nd October 2011

Linlithgow made several changes for the visit of Langholm. Debuts for Rolanson and Murdoch at 10 and 9 respectively. With the introduction of Watson and Jamieson for the first time this season the Reds were hoping for a first victory of the season on home soil.

Birrell, Plenderleith, Green, Bredin, Watson, Ronalson, Murdoch.

Cavana, Edment, Robertson, McCallum, Bell, Jamieson, Gillanders Richardson.

Subs: [all used]  Gunn, Cunningham, Walker.

Linlithgow  15 – 17  Langholm

Langholm had the first opportunity but missed the penalty. Then Linlithgow scored a great try with good work from Richardson and others, with Mark Green finishing in style under the posts, Ronalson with the conversion. Linlithgow were playing well at this stage, and it wasn’t a surprise when the forwards went over after sustained pressure with Richardson coming up with the ball from the bottom of the pile. The conversion was missed. Langholm came back and forced the Reds inside their own 22, and were trying to go over the line with at least 10 phases. However, the Linlithgow defence held on and they eventually cleared the danger, but not before the referee called the home captain forward twice for a lecture. Half time 12-0

Langholm started the second half brightly and almost scored when a huge kick from defence went into the Linlithgow 22. Langholm were showing that they were still looking to score, but it was Ronalson who got the next opportunity, slotting over to put Linlithgow into a comfortable lead.

What happened next will be painful to read for home fans. Firstly, Gillanders was yellow carded for a high tackle, Then the Langholm stand off scored a converted try. McCallum was taken off with a serious shoulder injury, replaced by Cunningham. Play was scrappy, Linlithgow unable to make the most of the decent possession they did have, and it didn’t come as a surprise when Langholm scrum half Irving nipped in unopposed from 8 yards to score another converted try.

In a tense last 15 minutes both teams realised that the next score would probably make the difference, and just on the final whistle Linlithgow gave away a penalty giving Langholm an easy chance, and the kick sailed through the posts giving the away side a win which seemed unlikely 20 minutes previously.

Saturday 15th October 2011

Kilmarnock  29 – 5  Linlithgow

Linlithgow travelled Ayrshire for the second week running, to play high flying Kilmarnock. Boosted by last week’s win, the Reds were in confident mood.  The pitch was very poor, but luckily the rain held off and the game commenced.

Birrell, Cunningham, Green, Bredin, Blundell, Chapman, Martin.  Archer, Edment, Robertson, McCallum, Bell, McFadyen, Stevenson, Gillanders.

Subs: [all used] Dobie, Walker, Richardson

Kilmarnock started brightly, scoring an early penalty. However, Linlithgow took the game to the home side and Chapman found touch inside the Kilmarnock 22. From a resultant free kick, Linlithgow had the ball over the line but were held up.

The Reds were still pressing and Calum Stevenson saw the gap and ran in a good try, conversion missed from out wide.

Linlithgow were holding their own but conceded another penalty before good work by Chapman put Kilmarnock under pressure. Play was scrappy. McFadyen booked himself another trip to St Johns and was replaced by Richardson.  Edment was yellow carded for a body check, and a couple of high tackles meant tempers were frayed. Dobie replaced Stevenson as a tactical move.

Kilmarnock got another penalty before the home side stand off was yellow carded for an outrageous challenge on Chapman after he had released the ball.  Linlithgow found themselves near the home goal line just before half time, but were penalised for holding.  Just on the whistle they conceded another penalty.

Half time: Kilmarnock 12 – 5 Linlithgow

Linlithgow had a scare at the start of the 2nd half as the home side made a break. They had Chapman to thank for 2 saving tackles. The upshot was another penalty to the home side. The next 10 minutes were to be crucial. Linlithgow were inside the home 22 on 3 separate occasions and each time were penalised allowing the home side to clear. This was a game Linlithgow must have thought they could win.

Walker replaced Martin. As the game opened out, Kilmarnock hit Linlithgow with 2 killer tries. The first, with more than a hint of a knock on scored by winger Milligan, the second was a good move with centre Bradford showing his pace. The game ended with Linlithgow on the opponents goal line when a brawl broke out. The referee ended the game before the 40 minutes were up.

This was a match that, for an hour Linlithgow could have won, but they brought about their own downfall by giving away penalties in the same way that allowed Hawick YM to win earlier this season.

Rugby report for Saturday 8th October 2011

Linlithgow headed across to north Ayrshire still searching for their first win of the season. Garnock were only one place above Linlithgow with one win under their belt. The Reds, still missing key players took to the field with the rain coming down steadily.

Birrell, Cunningham, Green, Bredin, Blundell, Chapman, Martin.

Archer, Edment, Robertson, Bell, Black, McFadyen, Stevenson, Gillanders.

Subs: [all used] Plenderleith, Walker, Gunn.

Garnock…………………..3  Linlithgow…………….7

Garnock kicked off with a slight wind advantage, and Linlithgow broke forward early through Black and Gillanders, however the Reds were harshly penalised for holding.  Garnock then came into the game, and were awarded a penalty out wide which was missed and Chapman cleared the danger. Play was scrappy, neither team settling in the conditions, Linlithgow, in particular were making mistakes. Chapman’s clearance was charged down and Garnock nearly scored in the corner, but Linlithgows defence was good. Garnock missed another penalty and had another opportunity minutes later but opted for touch and Linlithgow survived. Walker replaced Bredin, then Garnock missed yet another penalty close in. At last, after 30 minutes, the Reds woke up and made two good breaks into the Garnock half with Green and Blundell looking dangerous. Gillanders was also involved but the move broke down when the forwards knocked on close to the line. Half time 0-0.

As the drizzle became a downpour the rugby became more difficult. Garnock opened the scoring, with a penalty at the 4th attempt.  This seemed to galvanise Linlithgow into action and they started to play better. Edment scored under the posts, converted by Chapman. Linlithgow had more opportunities, Blundell had another excellent run down the wing.  Gunn replaced Robertson, Plenderleith replaced Cunningham, Bredin went back on and Walker ended the game at scrum half in place of Martin. Play raged from end to end, with both teams lacking the killer instinct. As the rain got heavier, the referee put everyone out of their misery. Linlithgow won, it wasn’t pretty but, as club president said after the game “any win is good at this stage”.

Rugby report for Saturday 1st October 2011

Ellon came to Linlithgow seeking to avenge last seasons defeat. With Linlithgow still searching for their first win of the season the crowd were expecting a tight game. The Reds, still missing at least 4 key players took to the field with the drizzle coming down.

Chapman, Blundell, Green, Bredin, Plenderleith, McDavid, Martin.

Archer, Edment, Robertson, McCallum, Bell, Black, Stevenson, Wood.

Subs: [all used] Cunningham, Birrell, Gunn.

Mascot:  Struan Chilton from the club’s P6 squad.

Linlithgow…………….3 Ellon………………32

The visitors were first to score when Linlithgow were penalised for holding. Ryan put the visitors in front. Linlithgow attacked through Martin who hacked the pall up inside the Ellon 22 but the penalty went against Linlithgow. Ellon then missed 2 penalties that were kickable, and when they were presented with another kickable one they opted to go for touch. Ellon were in command and scored a good try using the full width of the pitch with Elley scoring and Ryan converting. It was fully 30 minutes before the home side had their first scoring opportunity, McDavid scoring a penalty from out wide. At 3-10 down Linlithgow were looking towards half time when the visitors broke through and scored. The conversion was missed.

The second half won’t go down as a classic. However, the Reds started well, Plenderleith made progress and got Linlithgow inside the Ellon 22. From the line out, Linlithgow tried to get the ball over but, after 4 or 5 phases, they lost the ball and Ellon cleared. Linlithgow then had a let off when Ellon kicked the ball dead when going for the corner. Linlithgow were not playing well but were holding off the opposition. At this point Linlithgow lost Bell and Wood for Cunningham and Gunn. Birrell Replaced Blundell. Linlithgow started to struggle and the opposition started to get stronger. Bell came back on but powerless to prevent the visitors running in 3 more tries, only one converted.

Rugby report for Saturday 24th Sept 2011

Hawick YM came to Linlithgow last Saturday with four wins out of four in the Scottish Rugby Union’s National League.  The borderers had an unbeaten run of 26 games and indeed were still smarting from the defeat by Linlithgow costing them promotion a few years back.  The Reds were again forced to make changes in the line-up with five in the backs and two in the forwards, with two debutants in Jeff Martin and Callum Stevenson.  The game was sponsored by Bill Berridge, Linlithgow’s first  President, and Hawick born and bred.

Blundell, Plenderleith, Green, Bredin, Cunningham, McDavid, Martin.

Archer, Edment, Robertson, McCallum, Bell, Gillanders, Stevenson, Wood.

Subs: [all used] Cavana, Black, Walker.

Mascot:  Tom Lawrence from the club’s P5 squad.

Linlithgow…………….17 Hawick YM………………23

Linlithgow got off to a perfect start when, after a turnover by the pack, centre Mark Green took a ball just inside the YM half, jinked through the defence at speed and when tackled, hooker Billy Edment was right on hand to grab the ball and dive over for a try after only two minutes, converted by Euan McDavid.  The visitors replied with a penalty from stand-off Weir but McDavid widened the gap again with a well-struck kick from forty yards.  Weir missed a sitter and the Reds held their own until a fair charge up the park sent YM flanker, Robson, in at the corner on the half-hour.  The conversion was missed and McDavid missed a fairly simple chance just before the whistle leaving the Reds 10 – 8 up.

The second half had barely started when Edment was again in the right place to take an interception just inside his own half.  What followed was an epic chase with Billy, flat out, running up the touchline, hotly pursued by the young YM stand-off, Weir.  Billy dived, or rather died, over the line and had to retire nursing a muscle injury.  McDavid added the tricky conversion and the score after five minutes was a very healthy 17 – 8 lead.  YM then demonstrated why they haven’t lost a game in over a year, mounting attack after attack, and denying Linlithgow possession.  While the Reds defence was easily the best this season, keeping the try count to 2 – 1, they fell foul of some inexplicable refereeing decisions relating to infringements by the pack in the rucks and mauls.  In total the Reds suffered 22 penalties to YM’s 7 and when the players, who were genuinely puzzled by some of the decisions, sought guidance from the ref they were waved back, and on one occasion penalised ten yards.  The ref incurred further wrath from the home support for ignoring a blatant off-the-ball foul when the Reds had broken through up the left wing and a try was inevitable.

YM stand-off Weir repaid his inability to chase down a hooker with an almost faultless series of 5 penalties to take the lead and win the game.  This turned out to be a game where the referees’ decisions went against one side and the Reds were bitterly disappointed at the loss.  On the plus side this was the Red’s best performance this year and against a club that now tops the league table, and the narrow loss attracted a welcome bonus point.

Rugby report for Saturday 17th September 2011

Last Saturday was not a good weekend on the field for Linlithgow Rugby’s three adult XVs, with all losing, conceding a barrowload of tries in the process.  The 1st XV were at Murrayfield Wanderers where a minute’s silence was observed to mark the death of well-known Steve Cully at the early age of 41.  The Reds were missing Richardson and Martin but welcomed back Graeme McCallum to the second row.

Dixon [c], Birrell, Green, Bell, Cunningham, Chapman, Bredin.

Archer, Gunn, Robertson, McCallum, Gillanders, Sneddon, Black, Wood.

Subs: Cavana, McFadyen, Townend.

Murrayfield Wanderers…………..57  Linlithgow…………….6

The Reds had a good start, pressurising the home side who conceded a penalty which shaved the wrong side of the posts.  The Murrayfield centre, Cox, ran in a try from his own half scoring under the posts after 15 minutes. The Reds came back strongly with Matt Dixon and Andy Birrell going up the left wing to win a scrum five yards out and the resulting penalty was duly slotted by Dixon.   Immediately the home winger, Young, scored under the posts despite a desperate goal-line tackle.  Reds stand-off, John Chapman, had a good break to take the play inside the 22 and Dixon added another penalty.  From a knock-on at the restart the ball went to Young who scored his second try, carving through the Reds defence untouched, and Cox added his second a few minutes later. Reds flanker Sneddon came off hurt and McFadyen took over.  At the end of the half the Reds were on the home 22, conceded a penalty and missed tackles allowed the fifth try of the game taking the score, including four conversions, to 33 – 6.

After the Wanderers full-back, Harper, scored from the restart, injury to McFadyen forced a change and Bell went to his old position at lock and was replaced at centre by Callum Townend.  The rot seemed to stop and for twenty minutes the Reds defended resolutely although they were running out of players, losing Ali Wood to a head knock and Dixon seriously injuring his knee.  The subsequent adjustments did not help and Murrayfield scored three tries in the last fifteen minutes, and with two conversions it took the final score to 57 – 6.

Rugby report for Saturday 3rd September 2011

Linlithgow Rugby Club’s 1st XV were at home to Dunfermline last Saturday and the game showed up the difference between a side that had experienced Premier rugby for years and had only dropped down the leagues thanks to the curse of all ‘provincial’ clubs by losing a host of good club players to the lure of premier 1.  Dunfermline turned out to be not bigger, heavier or older but they did have a lot of confidence and their different level of experience showed through. The Reds selectors are still struggling with the lack of first pick players through injury, work commitments and non-availability.

Barnes, Cunningham, Green, McDavid, Plenderleith, Chapman, Bredin.

Archer, Edment, Robertson, Bell, Brown, McFadyen, Richardson, Wood.

Subs: Gunn, Cowan, Townend.

Reds mascot: Ross Wells [P3]

Linlithgow……………….0  Dunfermline……………….60

On a beautiful pitch, ideal for running rugby, it took the visitors just five minutes to crack the Reds defence with hooker Valentine grabbing an off load and bursting through, leaving a simple conversion for McNeish.  Ten minutes later the left winger, Harris, scored in the corner.  At 0 –12 down the Reds came into the game and held out the Dunfermline backs with some decent tackling although their own attacks were met early in the park and only rarely did they get into the Dunfermline 22.  Nevertheless it took a push-over from a line-out just before the whistle before Valentine scored again. 0 – 17 down at the turn.

Just one minute after kick-off the visitors centre, Scott Gracie, showed a clean pair of heels to the despairing tacklers and went over in the corner, McLeish sending a long conversion over from the touchline.  Gracie, who played for Livingston until he went to live in Dunfermline, scored again five minutes later after a lucky bounce.  The visitors sent the right winger, Lowe, over in the corner soon after, McLeish again slotting the touchline conversion.  There was some weak tackling by the Reds but in fairness they could not do anything about the next try where the Dunfermline pack won the ball inside their own half and just kept on going up the right wing, the ball going through ten pairs of hands before the flanker, Stewart, scored the best try of the day, McLeish again on target from the touchline.  The Reds spectators were encouraged by the Reds pack starting to get the upper hand in the set scrum, pushing their opponents off the ball, but unfortunately this possession came to nought with the visitors back row snuffing out any attacks that could have been mounted.  Dunfermline scored three more tries with Valentine getting his hat-trick, prop Murray bustling over and centre Daley taking advantage of a snap throw-in.

Ten tries and five conversions totalled a comprehensive win and even although a few of the visitors are financially supported in the ‘players flat’ the whole squad proved to be a formidable outfit.  Dunfermline were on the attack for the whole of the second half and although the Reds tried their best, one good tackle [and there were a few] did not stop the attack as the opposition support was much, much quicker to the breakdown.

Rugby report for Saturday 27th August 2011

Linlithgow Rugby Club were through at Royal High Corstorphine’s Barnton ground last Saturday and both clubs fielded two changed sides from the 36 players who were listed when they last met on the 7th May earlier this year, with 18 players meeting for the first time.  Linlithgow are still missing two locks and club skipper, fullback Matt Dixon, and flanker Ross Martin were watching from the touchline, nursing  injuries.

Barnes, Cunningham, Green, Bell[c], Plenderleith, McDavid, Bredin.

Cavana, Edment, Robinson, Black, Gillanders, Cowan, Richardson, Wood.

Subs: Archer, Chapman, Sneddon.

RHC……………26 Linlithgow………………20

The Edinburgh lads came out of their blocks with tremendous vigour and really dominated the Reds for most of the first half.  After a guddle, when a dropping ball was batted back wildly, the ball was grabbed by the RHC winger, S. Morrison, who went over to score on the seventh minute.  The conversion was missed but the kicker, E. Morrison, made certain with a penalty just two minutes later.  Just five minutes later the right winger, C. Mann, went over in the corner having avoided some very weak tackling down the right wing.  Ewan McDavid opened the Reds score with a penalty but RHC replied with one of their own five minutes later, following that with the 3rd try from powerful flanker D. Warrender just before half time, Morrison adding the conversion to take the half time score to 3 – 23.

With three tries to nil the signs were not looking promising and the visiting fans feared the worst.  However the young Reds started to fight their way into the game and were rewarded with a well taken try from a pushover from a lineout with Billy Edment claiming the touchdown after ten minutes. Ten minutes later the Reds were parked again near the line when a drive by Charlie Gillanders and Matthew Archer drove through the opposition forwards and a clever pass allowed new prop Robinson to suddenly cut from the centre of the park to the left, ignore the winger and score a good forwards try.  The Reds missed that conversion and a penalty before they scored the best try of the day.  Both forwards and backs broke up the left wing and with the RHC forwards defence breached, the ball went to new winger, Ross Plenderleith, inside his own half.  With a commendable burst of speed he left his oppo standing, stepped inside the centre, then did the same to the fullback to touch down under the posts, Chapman adding the conversion.  With less than a minute of normal time left, and at 20 – 23, the young Reds were on fire and when the ball was hacked into the arms of fullback Lewis Barnes he started up the left side of the park, feeding Plenderleith who had only one man to beat to have a clear run again at the posts, albeit from sixty yards.  However the everpresent flanker, Warrender, managed to come across and tap Ross’ ankle, broke his stride and sent him into touch.  A minute later, in injury time, the home kicker nailed a penalty and finished the game, although the Reds can claim a bonus point.

Had the Reds started out with the same fire as they finished, the score would have been different but the coaches, and more importantly the players, can take heart from a fighting second half display.  Poor tackling in the first half was the problem and my goodness the Reds missed Matt Dixon’s kicking skill.