Reds Leave it Too Late as Murrayfield Wanderers Run in Five Tries
Linlithgow 22 – 32 Murrayfield Wanderers
Saturday 26 September 2015
Linlithgow RFC entertained Murrayfield Wanderers at Mains Park last Saturday in a BT East League One encounter and the Reds probably knew from early on that it was going to be one of those days. Full back, Fraser Rankine, pulled up in the warm-up and withdrew from the side. Dougie Thomson came off the bench to replace Rankine in a side that had already been beset by injuries.
There was an early exchange of penalties between the two sides with Reds’ debutante at stand-off, Andrew Whitelaw, slotting his first points for the Club. The game was as balanced as the score when Murrayfield broke through the home side midfield and raced through to score under the posts leaving an easy conversion. Soon after, a kick ahead by Murrayfield looked harmless but the Reds’ defenders got themselves in a pickle allowing the visitors’ winger to collect the ball and dive over in the corner. This conversion too was successful, with a superb kick from wide out.
Murrayfield followed this up with another score when Linlithgow found themselves outnumbered in defence, although this time the conversion went wide. The Reds were kicking themselves as certainly two of the scores were rather soft. The game looked to be drifting away when the home forwards began to punch holes in the visitors’ defence. Following a spell of pressure, Scott Watson dived over and the referee judged that he had managed enough downward pressure to award the score. Whitelaw added the two points and this brought the half time score to 22-10 for the Edinburgh side.
Linlithgow continued to press after the restart and Whitelaw chipped the ball ahead and ran forward to collect his own kick and touched down under the posts for a fine individual score. As he took a knock in the process, Jamie Livingstone added the conversion to bring the Reds to within five points of the visitors.
Linlithgow were caught napping again when the Murrayfield winger ran from a long way out through the defence to score the fourth bonus-point try. The visiting forwards then drove the ball over for a fifth try. Neither was converted but Linlithgow were now fifteen points adrift.
The Reds had used all their substitutes as injury continued to disrupt the home side. Flanker Josh Hares was playing on the wing and there was a debut for Euan Mochrie, last season’s Academy First XV captain. The Reds began to dig deep and poured forward to try to rescue something from the game. Winger Euan Murray barged over in the corner to score for Linlithgow. The kick was unsuccessful.
Although this had been the last play, Murrayfield were penalised for back chat to the referee and Linlithgow were awarded a penalty to restart the game in overtime. The Reds threw everything forward and with some skilful, disciplined and controlled play they tried to force the score that would bring them a losing bonus point. The culmination of many phases of play was once again Murray diving over in the same corner as he had scored minutes before but desperate defence pushed him into touch in goal and the game was over.
The Reds therefore lost 32-22 but will feel that they could have taken more from the game, especially if they had shown for the whole match the endeavour and concentration they showed in the last ten minutes.
Linlithgow RFC: Dougie Thomson; Euan Murray, Chris Bredin, Scott Watson and Russell Murdoch; Andrew Whitelaw and Jamie Livingstone; Calum McKeown, Stuart Cunningham and Chris Archer; Charlie Gillanders and Graeme McCallum; Josh Hares, Craig Scott and Stuart Bell. Subs: John Pauley, Garry Anderson and Euan Mochrie.