Late Try Secures Win for Reds
Linlithgow 29 – 27 Hawick Harlequins
Saturday 28th September 2019
Match report by David Mitchell
In perfect conditions at Mains Park, home prop forward Euan Gunn was the first player to have an impact on the game. Unfortunately for him it was when he damaged a leg muscle in the warm up and had to be replaced by Steven Grant for the start of the match. Ally Walker, who thought that he had the afternoon off, was called into action on the replacements bench and luckily he had his kit in the car!
Quins had the upper hand in the opening few minutes and kicked well to keep the home side pinned back in their own half. The visiting number 10 kicked a penalty and then converted a try awarded when the player seemed to be short of reaching the try line but the referee decided that the score was a valid one. With the score 0-10 and remembering last week’s poor performance at Portobello, it was important that the Reds reacted to the challenge positively and thankfully they did just that. Within the next 5 minutes Jack Frame kicked 2 penalties to make the score 6-10 and with strong scrummaging and Struan Maclean’s rapid service providing ball for the backs, the home team started the fight back. Kieran Cochrane took some great restart ball, an area that cost the Reds dear the previous week, and, following one such take, Mark Green fed fellow centre David Goudie who ran a brilliant angled line to break the Quins defence only to pull up sharply with a leg injury. He had to leave the field and was replaced by Ross Plenderleith with Ross Tulloch moving from wing to centre.
Jack Frame had a fine run from his own line up to half way and his run lifted the home crowd and his team mates. The forward pack continued their early season performances in the scrum with Ally McLean in particular having his opposite number in trouble. Despite appearing to be gaining the upper hand, the home side allowed the Quins to score another converted try just before half time. The half ended with Jack Frame kicking his 3rd penalty. Half time score 9-17.
The 2nd half was just minutes old when the Quins scrum half failed to catch a high ball. Cammy Murrie gathered the loose ball and fed Aidan Rennison who made about 30 metres before being over-hauled by the cover defence but he was able to off load to the excellent support runner that is Cal Thomson and he sprinted over the line for an excellent opportunist try. Frame added the extra points to make the score 16-17. However credit is due to Quins who created a fine try wide out on the right wing to go 6 points ahead with 30 minutes to play. Again the Reds responded well to the setback and they fought their way up field to give Jack Frame yet another successful penalty.
The visitors eventually engineered a 4th try and a bonus point when their very experienced number 13 spotted a gap in the defence and crossed for a try making the score 19-27 with about 20 minutes remaining. The Reds introduced replacements Neil Lockhart and Ally Walker for Kieran Cochrane and Euan Mochrie respectively. Both replacements made an immediate impact with some hard and direct ball carrying at the Quins defence with Walker in particular rampaging about the field with real purpose. Jack Frame closed the points gap with yet another penalty before Colin Devlin was replaced by the returning Euan Mochrie as the home team pushed for a winning score. The Reds were rewarded with just 2 minutes to go when Aidan Rennison created a gap for Cammy Murrie to slice through the Quins defence to cross for a try to make the score 27-27. Jack Frame pumped the conversion through the posts to complete 7 out of 7 successful kicks to give the home side the lead for the first time.
With the winning post in sight, the home crowd had to suffer in injury time as the visitors were awarded a penalty that, if successful, would have won the game. Thankfully, the kick slid just wide of the posts and the referee brought the game to a close for a 29-27 home win.
A hard fought contest with both sides having the chance to win right up to the last minute. The Reds now have 3 wins out of 4 in Tennents East League 1 and next week visit Broughton in Edinburgh with a 3pm kick off.