Fine Festive Fayre Served Up by Younger Reds
Linlithgow u19s (Reds) 19 – 27 Linlithgow u23s (Blues)
Monday 26 December 2016
On Boxing Day, the u19s took on the u23s at Mains Park in the annual Boxing Day match, played for the Academy Cup in memory of Mike Crosby. Considering the wild weather over the previous two days, the pitch was in remarkably good condition and the weather even relented with only light rain at the start and sunshine at the close, although there was a strong wind throughout whistling down the pitch!
The u19s, playing in red strips, were led by Euan Mochrie, while the older team playing in blue strips, were captained by Jack Frame.
Match officials for the day were co-referees Ken Richardson (first half) and Ally MacLennan (second half), with Neil Dori-Muir as the third official. There was an excellent turnout of players with full benches for both sides and it was good to see a number of players who were back in the Linlithgow area for the festive period.
The match was well contested throughout, with lots of open rugby despite the difficult conditions. The Blues took an early lead after a rash clearance from the Reds 22 was seized on by Ross Plenderleith who’s powerful weaving run led to a fine opening try within the first two minutes of the match.
The Reds countered and, following a period of good play from the younger team, Alexander Douglas crossed for a try which Gregor Stewart converted to give the Reds a 7-5 lead.
The Blues then took control for the rest of the first half and scored unconverted tries through Calum McKeown and Cameron Dori-Muir.
It’s worth pointing out that all the Blues’ attempted conversions were made with drop kicks by the respective try scorers, the most notable of which was Calum McKeown’s sliced grubber attempt which travelled about 10 metres in the general direction of midfield!
Early in the second half, running back Ben Milne (a convert to American Football down south) broke the defensive line and ran in for a fine try which he converted himself to pull the Reds back to 14-15 down.
However, this was as close as the Reds were to get, as the Blues began to exert pressure and scored two more tries, first through Jack Frame as he weaved his way through the Reds defence in broken play, then through the more direct Michael Robertson, who demonstrated his all-round skills with the only successful Blues’ conversion!
This took the Blues’ lead out to 13 points at 27-14 and as the game entered its closing phase, it looked like that would be the final score. However, the all-action Sean Hagerty was not for conceding and despite the efforts of several defenders, he would not be denied a deserved try to finish the scoring with a Blues’ victory of 27-19.
A fine match to close out 2016, with an opening encounter against local rivals Livingston first game up in 2017 on Monday 2nd January at Mains Park (2pm KO).
In summary, the try scorers for the u19s were Alexander Douglas, Ben Milne and Sean Hagerty, with Gregor Stewart and Ben Milne adding two conversions. For the u23s, the tries were claimed by Ross Plenderleith, Cammy Dori-Muir, Calum McKeown, Jack Frame and Michael Robertson, with Michael Robertson claiming the only conversion!