Reds Leave it Late to Secure the Win
Linlithgow 42 – 21 Duns
Saturday 26 March 2022
Report by David Mitchell
The Reds welcomed Duns to Mains Park on a beautiful sunny afternoon spectators were treated to a high scoring game. This was the last game of the season for the Duns team and they presented a stiff challenge, despite being at the bottom of Tennents East 1, with a stronger side than had played in the reverse fixture only 3 weeks ago.
The game started in a similar manner to the game at Duns with the Reds struggling to gain good possession in the first 10 minutes. Duns had a simple but effective tactic that worked well for them throughout the whole game using their 2 main ball carriers to run straight and hard at the home defence. Gradually the Reds gained better field position and opened the scoring with an excellent try from Andrew Whitelaw after Aidan Rennison sent Mark Green thundering through the Duns backline before passing to his fellow centre who touched down near the posts. Jack Frame added the conversion. (7-0)
Duns responded well and battered the home defence with their large forwards carrying the ball deep into the Reds defence aided by some passive defence. It was no surprise when they eventually scored a try wide out on the right wing and they added the conversion to bring the scores level at 7-7. The home side were stung into action and from a solid scrum in front of the posts, the ball was moved left for a virtual carbon copy of the first try with Mark Green again the provider for Andrew Whitelaw to score his second try. (12-7)
Lewis Wells then added a trademark try when he came from the left wing to join the backline and ran between defenders before handing off the last tackler and cruising over for a fine individual try. Frame added the extra points to make the score 19-7. However all credit to Duns who hit back hard and their forwards wore down the home defence with some aggressive driving play to score a well deserved converted try to make the score 19-12 at half time.
The Reds were in control of the forward set-piece action with Mark Caddle taking a lot of lineout ball and the scrum being in the ascendency and regularly disrupting the visiting scrum put-ins. However the Reds were only effective in short spells despite a lot of possession. Lewis Wells opened the scoring in the second half with a 50 metre run down the left touchline and he did well to evade quite a few tacklers and to stay inside the touch line as the crowd roared him on his way to score a try in the corner. However the pattern of the game was repeated with Duns fighting back upfield and deservedly adding to their try tally again after robust forward play. They added the conversion to make the score 24-21 with about 20 minutes to go.
At this stage the Reds began to play for territory and pinned the Duns team in their own 22 metre area and managed to win a couple of penalties and Jack Frame kicked both to stretch the lead to a barely comfortable 30-21.
The game was finally put to bed with a fine interception from Cammy Murrie who ran about 60 metres to dive over in the left corner to give the home side a decisive lead of 35-21 with only a few minutes to play.
Lewis Wells ended the scoring when he scored his hat trick try after a strong hand off and a nice inside swerve allowed him to run round behind the posts and Frame added the conversion to make the final score Reds 42 Duns 21.
In a game that had a distinct end of season feel to it, the Reds did score 6 tries and overcame a very stuffy Duns team who should be praised for keeping going right to the end of the game. The Duns squad were playing their last game of the season and donned some startling fancy dress shirts in preparation for a social tour of Linlithgow before heading back to the Borders. Elsewhere, Royal High defeated Portobello to clinch the Tennents East 1 title and deservedly gain promotion to National league 3 for season 2022/23.
The Reds have their final game on Friday 1st April at Lower Mains Park against Haddington and it would be good to see a large crowd there to cheer the boys on to victory.
Jack Frame; Ross Tulloch, Andy Whitelaw, Mark Green, Lewis Wells; Aidan Rennison, Cammy Murrie; Calum McKeown, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin; Kieran Cochrane, Ally Walker; Euan Mochrie (c), Cal Thomson and Mark Caddle.
Replacements: Euan Gunn (played) and Dougie Thomson (not used)