Cause for Celebration –
Linlithgow RFC 50th Anniversary Invitation Match
Game Played 51 Years to Day after Reds’ First Ever Match
Linlithgow 33 – 21 Currie Chieftains
Sunday 21st November 2021
Match report by Ivor Santer (Currie)
Because of Pandemic restrictions, both clubs had been forced to put their 50th Anniversary celebrations on hold, and perhaps this Linlithgow win was a fitting result for an afternoon of memories and sporting entertainment. On the same date 51 years ago, Currie RFC entertained Linlithgow on their old Currie High School pitch, it was the occasion of the visitors’ first rugby match, the result being – Currie 19pts v Linlithgow 3pts; this was back in the days when a try was only worth 3 pts. In these early years both clubs regularly played each other in the Edinburgh District League, before Currie’s strong rise through the National League programme took them beyond the level of Linlithgow.
At lunch time Linlithgow President, Ken Richardson, welcomed a gathering of former players and officials from both clubs. After some introductions, including those who took part in the first Linlithgow/Currie match, the assembled sat down to a delightful social meal. In his presentation, Ken Richardson gave a brief history of Linlithgow RFC and presented Currie officials with several copies of their glossy 50th Anniversary Book.
Just before the 2.00pm kick off, both teams lined up for a souvenir presentation from Currie RFC. This was made by Jim Pettigrew, the former Currie Captain for that first match in November 1970.
The sunny but chilly afternoon was soon warmed up by a festival of entertaining open rugby. Both teams included a mixture of their club players from across the years, with an age range from late teens to mid-sixties, and they all played in the spirit of the occasion. Perhaps at times, the older representatives of both fifteens were a little too enthusiastic and forgot that they had been retired for a few seasons; their experience and skills were in evidence, but their pace and execution was a little rusty; several may require long hot baths for a few days, and possibly some physiotherapy!
Currie shot into an early 14 point lead with tries from James Donoghue and Ross Niven, however, the young speedy Linlithgow backs soon found gaps and by the end of the first 20 minute session they had clawed back 7 points, with a try from Ally Wood from a scrum close to the line.
The second period was quite even in terms of play, however two fine Linlithgow breakouts, one by stand-off Aidan Rennison and the other by centre Lewis Wells led to two tries for Lewis Wells, putting Linlithgow in the lead at 19-14 by the end of the second 20 minute session.
This could have been extended further were it not for the cover tackling of Mark Cairns and Neil Sneddon. The recipient of one touchline tackle from Mark Cairns certainly felt it, but the young man quickly got up and continued; unfortunately the tackler took a little time to recover! Gavin Scott, Calum Dickson, Erik Campbell and Scott Gammie all made their contributions; the latter in sweat and blood, he came off for a short while to stem a nose bleed. Currie’s legendary speed merchant, Geoff Caldwell had a couple of good touchline runs, but he was well policed. Bench replacements relieved the pain for a number of the more mature protagonists who looked a little fatigued when they came off. The referee took a wee while to notice that at one stage Currie had 16 players on the pitch. When the burly figure of ex-Currie prop Duncan Wilson hinted at an appearance, team manager Neil Bruce, and some common sense prevented any rash decisions!
In the final 20 minute session, as the rays from the afternoon sunshine lengthened, the Linlithgow team probed the wide channels with some scintillating handling; they ran in another two tries, one from Dougie Thomson after a charging run from home team captain Euan Mochrie, and the other from Jack Frame making a total of five for the Reds in the match.
Currie’s final fling was a score from fullback Arron Porteous, orchestrated by the magical touch of Andy Muir and Grant Haggart, assisted by the evergreen Brian Porteous and Andy Jones. Arron Porteous added the points to Currie’s 3 try tally. At the finish there were smiles and handshakes as players and supporters retired to the clubhouse for refreshments – a friendly match played in the true spirit of rugby football and well refereed in a empathetic manner by Ronnie Innes (Grangemouth Stags and ERRS).
|Linlithgow Reds||Currie Chieftains|
|Billy Edment||1||Gavin Scott|
|Stuart Cunningham||2||Robbie McKenzie|
|Calum McKeown||3||Callum Dickson|
|Graeme McCallum||4||Scott Gammie|
|Liam Park||5||Eric Campbell|
|Euan Mochrie (capt)||6||Neil Sneddon|
|Jamie Tulloch||7||Craig Haggart|
|Alistair Wood||8||Aidan Cleland|
|Ally Reynolds||9||Ross Nevin|
|Aidan Rennison||10||Ross Donaghue|
|Callum Miller||11||Robert Barr|
|John Smith||12||Mark Cairns|
|Lewis Wells||13||Andy Muir (capt)|
|Ross Plenderleith||14||Aaron Porteous|
|Jack Frame||15||Scott Forrest|
Subs (all played)