Reds End the League Season in Style
Linlithgow 54 – 17 Haddington
Friday 01 April 2022
Match report by David Mitchell
The Reds hosted Haddington under the lights at Lower Mans Park in the final home game of the East League 1 season. Haddington won the previous game narrowly by 17-12 so the Reds were looking for revenge and to finish the season on a high note. There were only 2 changes from last week’s winning team against Duns with Euan Gunn replacing Calum McKeown and Ross Plenderleith taking over from Lewis Wells.
A good size crowd were in attendance including a healthy representation from the Haddington club and all were treated to a high scoring encounter and one of the best displays of the season by the home team. Conditions were almost perfect for both teams with virtually no wind to speak of and a dry, firm pitch to play on.
The home team kicked off and quickly put the visitors under pressure with the result being a couple of early penalties being conceded by Haddington which full back Jack Frame successfully converted for an early 6-0 lead.
The next few minutes were played in midfield with neither team taking control but this changed when the Mark Caddle fed Cammy Murrie from a lineout and the ball was swiftly passed wide to Frame who made about 30 metres before switching the ball inside to Ross Plenderleith who showed great composure and awareness of his supporting players and provided a well timed return pass to Frame who sprinted around behind the posts for a fine try which he converted to make the score 13-0.
The home side were playing some excellent rugby with fine inter-passing between forwards and backs. After a number of drives at the visitors’ line, Ross Plenderleith used his power to break through a tackle and touched down at the posts for a try converted by Frame.
The home side were rampant at this point and a great break by Aidan Rennison almost led to another try but the ball failed to stick in the ever supporting Cal Thomson’s hands. However the score was only delayed for about a minute as Ross Tulloch caught a clearance kick just outside the Haddington 22 metre line and sold an outrageous dummy to his opposite number and his dash for the line was only thwarted by a good tackle but he was able to ship the ball inside for Rennison to score the try.
Haddington eventually got on the scoreboard following a lineout move and a driving run by the hooker. The try was converted but the home side responded immediately with yet another fine try after the ball was moved quickly along the line and Ross Plenderleith rounded his man and drew the final defender before passing inside to Jack Frame to score the try.
Just before half time, Ross Martin replaced the injured Ally Walker who had contributed his usual boisterous approach to the game.
Half time – Reds 32 Haddington 7
Haddington exerted some early pressure in the second half but when a move broke down in front of the Reds’ posts, Mark Green emerged with the ball and it was speedily moved to the right wing where Man of the Match Ross Plenderleith carried the ball about 50 metres beating 2 or 3 defenders before providing Jack Frame with his 3rd try of the night.
The home forwards continued to get on top of their opposite numbers and it was no surprise when captain Euan Mochrie burst clear from a breakdown 10 metres short of the Haddington line and dived over for a popular try. Frame added the 2 points to take the score to 44 -7. During this period, the Reds emptied the bench with Ewan Mitchell, Jamie Tulloch and Gregor Stewart all getting game time.
To their credit, the visitors continued to take the game to the Linlithgow side and were rewarded with another forwards’ try. Mark Green replied with a try of his own on the wide right after a prolonged period of pressure. Haddington did score one final try after Frame tried a fancy flip pass that was intercepted for a run in try by their centre.
The final score of the night was greeted with great delight by players and supporters alike as Jamie ‘Pooch’ Tulloch took off into the visitors’ 22 metre area and despite the attentions of a few tacklers, he managed to weave his way over the line for his first try for the Reds 1st XV.
Final score – Reds 54 Haddington 17
This was a very good display from the home side. The front row all contributed in tight and loose play and the second row combination worked well with Kieran Cochrane showing up well particularly in defence with some strong tackling. The back row played well as a unit and Mark Caddle continued his good recent form with very competent line out play and some electric bursts in open play.
The half backs were very effective at pinning the Haddington team back and also contributed some excellent breaks. Both centres performed well with Mark Green delivering another very solid game and Andrew Whitelaw delivering some fantastic long flat passes to send the dangerous outside backs marauding into the Haddington back field. Both wingers ran strongly, defended well and were always willing to make the hard yards. Ross Tulloch was again unlucky in that the ball went right most of the night where Ross Plenderleith made a dream return by scoring a try and making all of full back Frame’s tries, deservedly being awarded Man of the Match. Jack Frame completed a 29 point personal haul and it was good to see him back in try scoring form, even if he did ask his parents if they had any money for jugs as he ran past them after scoring his final try.
Overall it was good that the team got onto the front foot early in the game, scored early points and used the full width of the park to engage their back 3 runners to good effect. This is only possible if the forwards deliver good ball and they did as they have done most of the season. The Club finished 4th in East 1 with a total of 43 points from 8 wins and 6 losses. Next season it looks like a 9 team league will be in place but this has yet to be confirmed.
Jack Frame; Ross Plenderleith, Andy Whitelaw, Mark Green, Ross Tulloch; Aidan Rennison, Cammy Murrie; Euan Gunn, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin; Keiran Cochrane, Ally Walker; Euan Mochrie (c), Cal Thomson and Mark Caddle.
Replacements (all used): Ross Martin, Euan Mitchell, Gregor Stewart and Jamie Tulloch.
The Reds now embark on a series of 7 a side tournaments scheduled for April and early May:
9th April (Portobello), 16th April (Edinburgh Northern), 30th April (Leith), 7th May (Selkirk)