Injury Time Breakaway Try Leaves Reds Gutted!
Linlithgow 16 – 20 Berwick
Saturday 06 September 2014
Linlithgow welcomed newly promoted Berwick to Mains Park on Saturday after a two year absence. Berwick had a fine home win over North Berwick last week so the Reds knew that Berwick were not there just to make up the numbers.
Preparations didn’t go well for Linlithgow as they lost Billy Edment and Chris Bredin late in the week and yet again fielded a much changed side. However it was good to see Mike Walker back in a Linlithgow shirt at scrum half and home league debuts were also given to Callum McKeown and Ross Oliver, both fresh from last year’s school 1st XV.
The game was even at the start, with neither team on top but both sides trying to play rugby. The visitors had much of the possession but Linlithgow’s strong defence kept them in their own half. Chances were few but eventually the Linlithgow’s forwards came up with the first score by captain Stuart Cunningham after some good driving from the lineout. The conversion was just outside the range of Ross Martin.
Berwick came back and after an excellent kick forward which went into touch inside the Reds 22, they were thwarted by some resolute defence. Berwick kept up the pressure and only a desperate touchline tackle by Fraser Rankine prevented their winger from scoring in the corner. The visitors were not to be denied and they pulled the score back with a penalty. However, just before half time the Linlithgow forwards manufactured another try, this time it was powerfully finished by Stuart Bell, however the conversion was wide.
Half time 10-3
The second half was pretty uneventful to begin with, both teams trading penalties. Chris Archer received a yellow card for one infringement too many but the teams were still even. Euan Richardson had to go off and there was a reshuffle with Pat Bennie coming on into the second row and Stuart Bell dropping back.
Berwick were starting to build up a little pressure and they scored a try and an excellent conversion to pull level at 13-13 and give them some hope. However the Reds quickly hit back with a Ross Martin penalty to stay ahead as they had looked to do all afternoon.
At 16-13 the lead was fragile but you would have thought when the referee announced “last play” with Berwick with a scrum on their own 5 yard line, that it would be difficult for them to run the ball 100 yards to score, but it happened. Even though their scrum was going backwards, they released the ball to the stand off who chipped ahead for the full back to run on to a perfect bounce. He again kicked ahead and the rest was a blur, but 80 yards later in a race to the line, Berwick won and it was under the posts, leaving a simple conversion.
Final score 16-20
The Linlithgow players and home crowd were downhearted at the end. They know they could have defended that situation better, and the losing bonus point was scant consolation. However they have to take the positives of the first seventy nine minutes of the match, as they travel away to Duns next Saturday. Whilst at Mains Park the 2nds, fresh from a tough opening encounter away at Preston Lodge last week, have their first home match against Selkirk, kick off 3pm.
Fraser Rankine, Euan Murray, Mark Green, Andrew Wood, Ross Oliver, Dougie Thomson, Mike Walker, Callum McKeown, Stuart Cunningham, Chris Archer, Stuart Jamieson, Stuart Bell, Ross Martin, Euan Richardson, Alistair Wood. Subs (all used): Patrick Bennie, John Pauley, Garry Anderson