Reds v Broughton (Jan 22)

Last Gasp Broughton Grab Win

Linlithgow  22 – 26  Broughton

Saturday 22 January 2022

Report by David Mitchell

This Tennents East League 1 fixture was played in good conditions and in front of a healthy crowd including a vociferous away support. Following last week’s home defeat, the hosts were looking to get back to winning ways but Broughton had other ideas and in particular their youthful and pacy back division caused problems all afternoon for the home side.

In the early exchanges, the Reds struggled to get out of their own half and Broughton capitalised on their territorial advantage when their number 10 waltzed through some very poor tackling to score under the posts. He converted his own try to give the visitors an early lead 0-7. This setback obtained a response from the Reds and after clean line-out ball supplied by Neil Lockhart, a drive to the line was only halted by illegal interference from Broughton and the referee awarded a penalty try to bring the scores level at 7-7. 

The Reds maul closes on the Broughton try line just before it was brought down resulting in a penalty try

In the forward exchanges, the scrums were fairly even although as the game wore on, the Reds would take control of this area. Some excellent line-out work resulted from accurate throwing from Kyle Ormond and clean catching by Fraser Mochrie, Mark Caddle and in particular Neil Lockhart who was having another good game.

Neil Lockhart claims another line-out ball

The Reds edged ahead after about 20 minutes when Jack Frame kicked the first of his 5 successful penalties on the day.

Jack Frame kicked 5 penalties for the Reds

He added another soon after to give the home team a 13-7 lead with half time approaching fast. The Reds did cross the try line again but Aidan Rennison’s try was correctly disallowed when the referee adjudged that there had been crossing in midfield.

Some stout defending held Broughton out but when the Reds failed to find touch with a clearing kick, the home defence was again undone far too easily by another long distance try from the visitors. The successful conversion made the half time score 13-14.

The second half started with some good pressure from the Reds with the home forwards beginning to get on top of their opposition in the scrums and Broughton conceded a couple of penalties that Frame converted to make the score 19-14. However, as has happened far too regularly this season, the Reds almost immediately allowed another try for the visitors. From a line-out the home team were caught napping when Broughton threw in quickly and this led to the Reds’ defence being caught flat footed and eventually the ball was moved wide and then brought back infield where the scorer ran through untouched to score the try.

At 19-19, the game was always going to have a tight finish but the Reds did begin to exert territorial pressure and seemed the more likely team to score. At this stage substitutions by both sides and yellow cards for Broughton players made the game more disjointed and game management and decision making by the home team seemed to be missing with too many players displaying signs of white line fever. Even when passes were made, many were fired at the recipients or were directed behind them, all of which allowed the scrambling Broughton defence to stop any tries by the home team. As the Reds players got closer to the try line the moves seemed frantic and a number of good opportunities could have been finished successfully if only there had been more composure.

Ross Tulloch had a number of strong runs

Eventually, with only a few minutes remaining, Frame kicked a penalty to give the home team a 22-19 lead which should have been defended as they had a numerical advantage due to yellow cards. Broughton even helped with a poor restart kick which gave possession to the Reds at the uncontested scrum on halfway. Unfortunately for the expectant home crowd, the home side conceded a penalty, Broughton reacted more quickly from the resulting line-out and it was no surprise when they scored the winning try to send their players and supporters into raptures. The final action saw the Broughton number 10 kick the conversion from the touchline and the referee blew the whistle to end the match with the final score of 22-26. The Reds again got a bonus point for being within 7 points but this was small consolation for the despondent team and crowd.

Overall another strange performance highlighted by some poor basic skills e.g. tackling, erratic passing, tactical kicking and appearing to be devoid of clear structure and game management. The back division is finding it difficult to penetrate defences at present but surely this will improve over the remaining 4 games. The forwards are performing well in the set piece elements but there is still an unwillingness to move the ball with the preference being to take the tackle unnecessarily which often results in the ball being slowed down and allows defences to reset.

Next Saturday the visitors to Mains Park are Haddington and the coaches and players will be working hard this week to prepare for that challenge. Let’s hope for another big crowd and hopefully a winning performance.

Linlithgow:

Calum McKeown, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin, Neil Lockhart, Fraser Mochrie, Euan Mochrie (c), Mark Caddle, Ross Martin, Cammie Murrie, Aidan Rennison, Ross Plenderleith, Gregor Stewart, Lewis Wells, Ross Tulloch and Jack Frame. 

Subs: Euan Gunn, Andrew Archer and Cal Thomson.