Late Flourish by Visitors Edges Reds in Season Opener
Linlithgow 14 – 19 North Berwick
Saturday 26 August 2017
The Reds kicked off their BT East 1 league season against North Berwick at a sunny Mains Park on Saturday. North Berwick have shown themselves to be one of the league’s strongest and most consistent teams over the last few seasons, so the Reds knew that this would be a tough opening day challenge.
Kicking off into the wind, the Reds were soon on the attack and established a strong set-piece against the visitors. Although generating a fair amount of possession and pressure, the Reds were generally too flat in attack and not able to generate enough support runners. In addition they gave away a succession of silly penalties, losing points, territory and releasing hard gained pressure.
The Reds led for most of the match, taking the lead with a Jack Frame penalty, followed up by a Calum McKeown try to go further ahead at 8-0. North Berwick replied with a penalty of their own, before a further Jack Frame penalty extended the Reds lead to 11-3. North Berwick came back with two penalties of their own, either side of half-time, to reduce the Reds lead 11-9 as the game wound towards its latter stages. A couple of injuries to key players didn’t help the Reds cause, however Jack Frame was again on hand to slot a penalty giving the Reds a 14-9 lead with less than 15 minutes to go.
North Berwick seemed to sense that the match was there for the taking and stepped up their efforts. Playing expansive rugby they were able to breach the Reds defence twice out wide, scoring two late unconverted tries to pip the Reds 19-14 at the final whistle.
This was a very frustrating result for the Reds, who could and probably should have got more out of this game. There was no lack of effort throughout the team, however the execution and decision making let the Reds down at times. Fair play to North Berwick who took their chances when they got them.
Next week the Reds are away to Duns (3pm KO), with the 2s hoping for another friendly match before their league season kicks off the following weekend.
Rab Cairns; Lewis Herdman, Mark Green, Chris Ronalson, Jack Frame; John Chapman, Murray Smith; Calum McKeown, Stuart Cunningham, Michael Robertson; Craig Scott (capt), Neil Lockhart; Euan Mochrie, Andrew Archer, Ross Martin.
Subs (all played): Chris Archer, Steven Grant, Cal Thomson, Cammy Murrie.