Reds Turn on Style to Beat Duns
Linlithgow 40 – 28 Duns
Saturday 16 February 2019
Match report by Craig Young
Linlithgow showed some changes as they prepared for their first game in 3 weeks. Still missing were Jack Frame, Mark Green, Mark Caddle and Cammy Murrie. The Reds also welcomed Ross Martin for his first start of the season. The home side started the game well and were rewarded early on when a cross field kick in a free play situation was fumbled by the Duns defence and Rab Cairns was on hand to pounce on the resultant pass to score, converting his own try to give the Reds a 7-0 lead.
There then followed a long period of Duns pressure, with over 20 phases, but they were unable to cross the line and they only had one penalty to show for ten minutes hard graft. From the kick off the ball was fumbled by Linlithgow but the defence held firm and from the clearance Cammy Walker was unlucky to be brought down just short following good work by Cairns. The second try followed soon after from Colin Devlin as Linlithgow executed a perfect catch and drive from a line out. Rab Cairns converted the try to make it 14-3.
Despite leading, Linlithgow were giving away a number of penalties and fortunately Duns only scored from one of them. As the half wore on, despite having little possession, Stuart Cunningham burst through the defence to score, giving Rab Cairns another simple conversion. As half time approached, not for the first time this season Linlithgow lost concentration and a couple of missed tackles in midfield allowed Duns two unconverted tries. However, just on the stroke of half-time Rab Cairns broke through, diving in at the posts for his second try, which he converted to make it 28-16 in favour of the Reds at the break, with a try bonus point in the bag.
The home side started the second half well but came away with nothing to show for it. Duns came back into it and after some pressure, they scored another unconverted try after Ross Martin had thwarted their first effort with some excellent defensive work. With a seven point lead Linlithgow tried to increase it with a penalty but it went wide.
As the game entered the final phase, Ross Plenderleith effectively put the result beyond the visitors with an excellent try, again converted by Rab Cairns. The icing on the cake was provided by man-of-the-match Rab Cairns with a try in the corner for his hat-trick, after a strong run from Ross Plenderleith. The difficult conversion went wide, however the Reds now had a commanding 40-21 lead at the game entered its final few minutes.
Right at the end, the Duns scrum half showed some moves as he got a consolation try (converted) to make the final score 40-28 and claim a try bonus for his team. The win moves Linlithgow up the league table to 6th on 35 points.
In the clubhouse everyone agreed that this was a very entertaining game and perhaps Linlithgow’s best display of the season so far. In a game where Linlithgow had less than 40% possession, their attack was on fire, and the defence held up, particularly when pinned back inside their own 22. Although still missing a few players from injury, the Reds are benefitting from consistency of selection brought about by consistency of availability. The team is playing a better and much stronger brand of rugby as a result and this proved in good stead against a Duns’ team who are no mugs in this league.
This weekend the Reds travel across to France to play AS Minorange before taking in the France v Scotland 6 Nations’ match. The following weekend, the Reds are at home to Broughton in Tennents East 1.
John Chapman; Cammy Walker, Rab Cairns, Ross Tulloch, Ross Plenderleith; Chris Ronalson, Jeff Martin; Ally McLean, Stuart Cunningham, Colin Devlin; Neil Lockhart, Ross Martin; Kieran Cochrane, Cal Thomson and Euan Mochrie (captain).
Subs – Calum McKeown, Finbar Conway, Andrew Archer, Lewis Herdman.