Reds Continue their Pre-Season Winning Run
Linlithgow 42 – 17 Dunfermline
Match Report by David Mitchell
The home side gained a clear cut victory against leading Tennents Caledonian 1 league side Dunfermline, scoring 6 tries to the visitors 3. Despite a very firm surface, both teams provided an entertaining spectacle with a lot of end to end action and many phases on good play. Both teams had large squads and rolling substitutes were made regularly and during the water breaks in each half. It was a particular pleasure to see the return to the Reds line up of Ally McLean after his career threatening injury at Hawick Linden in December 2019.
Dunfermline dominated possession in the first few minutes and scored a try when their scrum half broke through the home defence untouched. After this setback, the Reds quickly got into the game when scrum half Stephan Smith made a break and Ross Tulloch moved the ball left where after a good passing move, Jack Frame gave the scoring pass to Ross Plenderleith who beat 2 men on his way to the try line. Frame converted from wide out.
The Reds held territorial advantage for the rest of the half with Gregor McLean making several good deep kicks into the Dunfermline half. The forward exchanges were fairly even with the home pack performing well in the scrums against a bigger visiting pack. Both teams struggled to get quality ball from the lineout with some overthrowing evident on both sides.
Despite the Reds having more possession and being in the Dunfermline half for long periods, the visitors were dangerous on the break and only a fabulous tackle on their big winger by Fraser Mochrie stopped a certain try. Jamie Tulloch looked to have scored a try near the posts but the referee did not give the score and in fact awarded a penalty against the Reds. However, soon the home support were cheering a fantastic try by prop forward Adam Scott who collected the ball after good work by Ross Plenderleith and proceeded to glide through the Dunfermline defence beating 2 men in the style of the great Scottish centre of yesteryear Jim Renwick. Frame added the extra points to make the half time score 14-5.
Both teams made several changes for the second half and Ross Martin created an early score with a great 30 metre run before passing to Mark Caddle who almost reached the try line but when stopped was still able to pass to the supporting Lewis Herdman who scored under the posts. Aidan Rennison added the extra points. The visitors responded with a try of their own but almost immediately the Reds worked their way up field and when they were awarded a penalty near the goal line, quick thinking Ross Martin took a tap penalty and drove towards the line and then slipped the ball to Stephan Smith to score. Rennison added the extra points.
Smith then started the next try when he stole the ball from the base of the Dunfermline scrum and after a break, laid the ball back to be swiftly passed along the back line. David Martin made a half break and then released Eddie Beamish who set off from his own 22 metre line and stepped past the defence using his impressive pace to cover the final 60 metres for a fine individual try. Frame added the extra points.
The Reds final score came after a teasing kick ahead by David Martin which was followed up by Aidan Rennison. Aidan completed his usual text book tackle and when the home team regained possession, it was left for Ross Plenderleith to cruise through a gap in the centre of the away defence to score the try which again converted by Frame. Dunfermline did have the consolation of the final try scored to make the final score 42-17.
This was another very encouraging outing for the Reds as they build towards the first competitive game in the National Shield v Penicuik (away) on Saturday 27th August. Despite several changes of personnel from the previous week there many signs that the pre season is again proving to be valuable this year.
It is not possible to mention all of the players in the report but special mention needs to be made of the impact players who came on in the second half. Joe McKillion was a constant thorn in the side for Dunfermline particularly at the tail of the lineout but also with his reading of the game allowing him to shut down potential breaks by their forwards. Ally Walker did exactly what was needed i.e. an all action, aggressive approach including some driving runs with ball in hand. Finally it was good to see David Martin show the versatility that makes him a valuable member of the squad. He played in 3 different positions moving from full back to centre and then finishing at scrum half showing a versatility which should be a valuable asset for the coming season.
Next Saturday the final pre season outing is away at Lenzie and a repeat of last August’s winning visit there would be a great preparation for the Penicuik game.