Reds Kick Off Season with back-to-back Pre-season Matches
Linlithgow Reds kicked off their rugby season at Mains Park with pre-season matches on successive nights, with the 2nd XV playing Falkirk 2s on Thursday night, followed by the 1st XV playing Perthshire on the Friday night.
Thursday 22nd August
Linlithgow 2nd XV 28 – 15 Falkirk 2nd XV
The home squad of 21 players put in a very encouraging performance against a much bigger team from Falkirk. After the disappointing showing at East Kilbride last week, the Reds were quickly out of the blocks with aggressive defensive work and a willingness to attack from all areas of the pitch. Scrum half Struan MacLean scored the 1st try of the season which was converted by Chris Ronalson. Falkirk replied with an unconverted try and the first half ended with the Reds leading 7-5.
In the second half, the Reds continued to press and after good link up play, Stuart Somervail scored a try despite tripping up and completing a full forward roll before getting up and crossing the line. Ronalson again added the conversion. Ross Tulloch then made a strong run down the left wing and was unceremoniously bundled into touch in the act of scoring and the referee awarded a penalty try for the illegal challenge. Falkirk replied with a try before Tulloch strode under the posts for a try that was converted by Kev Wilson giving the Reds a commanding 28-10 lead. The final score came from the very speedy Falkirk winger who ran almost the whole length of the field to score in the corner.
The final score of 28-10 for the home team was well deserved and there were many very good performances in testing rain and wind conditions. In particular the Walker brothers (Ally and Cammy) led from the front ably supported by Fraser Mochrie and Andrew Archer. The whole back line handled the ball well despite the conditions and created many opportunities which was very encouraging for the season ahead.
Friday 23rd August
Linlithgow 1st XV 15 – 22 Perthshire 1st XV
This was a good test for the Reds against a National League 3 team and the match was evenly contested with the visitors just coming out on top. The Reds started quickly and Andrew Whitelaw crossed for an early try after good sustained pressure from the home team. As expected, Perthshire responded and were soon ahead and continued to add points to lead 22-5 by the middle of the second period of play. However the Reds responded well in the last part of the match to score 2 further tries from Cammy Walker and captain Euan Mochrie to make the final score 15-22 in favour of the visitors.
Overall a much better showing than at East Kilbride last week with solid performances by many of the 20 man squad. The coaches and players seemed much happier with the performance and the aim is to build on it in the coming weeks.