Livi Edge Reds in Derby Cracker
Linlithgow 20 – 27 Livingston
Saturday 28 October 2017
On what was a very windy day, a huge crowd showed up early at Mains Park for this local derby match between Linlithgow and Livingston in BT East 1, however nobody told the Linlithgow players, as they took a full 15 minutes to turn up, by which time Livingston were 12-0 up with 2 tries. During that period the only time the home side were out their own half was at the kick off.
Gradually, Linlithgow came back into the game and got a try back with good work from Rab Cairns, converted by Frame. Linlithgow were on top at this point and were pressing the Livingston try line. 4 penalties against Livingston later, the game boiled over, with several players lucky not to see yellow. Referee Iain Young lectured both captains. It wasn’t long until the referee had to produce a yellow as Livingston kept on infringing to stop the Linlithgow attack. The only reward for the home side was a Jack Frame penalty. Linlithgow made the extra man count as great play by Ross Martin allowed Rab Cairns to go over for his second try, however the conversion was missed in the strong wind. As half time approached Livingston stole a try, their number 9 going in unopposed on the blind side from a 5 metre scrum. Half time 15-17.
The home side started the second half with intent. Livingston knocked on from the kick off, and several phases later Mark Caddle went over for the Reds to regain the lead, Frame missing the conversion. Livingston came back immediately with a converted try to get their noses back in front at 24-20.
With the home side struggling to win the scrums, the game flowed from end to end, with either team likely to score. During this period, the Reds backs looked dangerous with ball in hand, in particular full back Rab Cairns and winger Gregor Stewart.
In the end, there were 25 minutes without a score but a lot of sore bodies. Linlithgow probably had the best chance to win the game when Cairns broke free, and made an ambitious pass to Frame who would have scored if he had caught the ball, but the wind took the ball behind him. As the game drew to a close, Livingston added another penalty and there was no time for the home side to come back.
This was an entertaining, if somewhat error strewn match, especially considering the gale force wind that was swirling down the park and both teams should take great credit in that. The lead changed hands four times over the piece and the match always looked destined to come down to the wire. According to their supporters this was Livingston’s best performance of the season and, certainly two periods of play stood out – their whirlwind start to the game when they pinned the Reds back from the opening kick off, denying them the ball and putting 12 points on the board and then their brave and, at times, desperate defence in the second half holding out against wave after wave of Linlithgow attacks.
On the whole Livingston deserved to win. They stuck to their game plan better and showed great spirit and courage. The Reds were disappointed in their own performance and, after the dizzy heights of last week’s emphatic win, it was back to earth with a bump.
Rab Cairns; Jack Frame, Andrew Whitelaw, Mark Green, Gregor Stewart; John Chapman, Jamie March; Chris Archer, Stuart Cunningham, Michael Robertson; Neil Lockhart, Craig Scott (captain); Mark Caddle, Lauchlan McCall and Ross Martin.
Subs: Ally McLean, Euan Mochrie, Cal Thomson, Peter Millar.