Hat-Trick Debut Does for Duns
Linlithgow 25 – 19 Duns
Saturday 23 January 2016
With their last two BT East 1 league games postponed because of weather, it had been six weeks since Linlithgow RFC had played any competitive rugby. It was, therefore, a welcome return to action when Wee Reds mascot, Ruan Vorster, led the Firsts out last Saturday at Mains Park. The “Reds” were playing in their change strip of blue to avoid a clash with visitors, Duns.
After some early Linlithgow pressure, the visitors showed that they could be dangerous when, in their first attack in the fifth minute, Linlithgow conceded a penalty. Luckily for the home side this was missed. The balance of play continued in Linlithgow’s favour and, in the 12th minute, full back, Jack Frame made a superb break up the middle. He was well supported by Mark Green and Fraser Rankine who took the ball close to the Duns try line. The ball was recycled and a pass was floated out left to Billy Edment who, in turn, gave the short pass to Cameron Walker who dived over to score his first try for the Firsts. This was also Walker’s first game for the First XV after a spell in which he has been scoring freely for Linlithgow’s Seconds. Jack Frame added the conversion.
Linlithgow continued to press and, although Duns were looking dangerous in isolated breaks, the home defence looked equal to the task. After the half-four mark, however, Duns had their longest spell of continuous pressure and forced a series of scrums on the home side’s try line. Eventually, in the 35th minute the visitors found their way through to score a try that was also converted.
Linlithgow returned to the attack immediately but missed a two-man overlap when a try looked on the cards. The clock was ticking towards half time when Linlithgow pressure forced a penalty. Right on the stroke of half time, Jack Frame kicked this over to give Linlithgow a narrow 10-7 lead.
The second half was only three minutes old when, in a Linlithgow attack, Cameron Walker was held up over the line. Soon afterwards the ball was held up again when the Linlithgow forwards had carried it over the line. In the 55th minute Linlithgow opted for a line-out at a penalty. Having won the ball, the forwards once again drove over the line but this time Chris Archer secured the vital touch to score a try that was unconverted.
A minor fracas resulted in a player from each side going to the bin for ten minutes to cool off. In the 65th minute Andrew Whitelaw cut through the defence. His pass found Mark Green who passed out to Cameron Walker who touched down to score. The conversion went wide. Within a couple of minutes, Walker looked certain to score again but his mazy run took him behind his own teammate, Billy Edment, resulting in an obstruction penalty against the Reds.
The hat-trick, and bonus-point, try was not long delayed’ however. In the very next minute Walker had the ball in hand again and, this time, his direct run took him over in the corner. Frame’s conversion missed narrowly.
When Linlithgow substitute, John Pauley, was sent to the sin bin, there were only five minutes left on the clock and everyone might have thought that at 25 – 7, the action was over for the day but Duns had other ideas. From the resulting penalty, Duns kicked for a line-out. The visiting forwards secured the ball and drove it over the line for a try which was converted. Literally, in the dying minutes of the game, Duns took advantage of some missed tackles to score a third try. The conversion was missed and that ended the game. Duns determined efforts at the end secured them a losing bonus, the match finishing 25-19 to Linlithgow.
After a lengthy lay-off, the result was more important than the performance but the Reds will be disappointed that the twelve points they conceded in the last five minutes took the shine off an otherwise comfortable-looking victory.
Linlithgow RFC: Jack Frame; Fraser Rankine, Euan Richardson, Mark Green and Cameron Walker; Andrew Whitelaw and Jamie Livingstone; Calum McKeown, Billy Edment and Chris Archer; Steven Grant and Craig Scott; Euan Mochrie, Stuart Bell, and Ross Martin.
Subs: John Pauley, Graeme McCallum, Cal Thomson and Euan Murray.