Reds v Portobello (Mar 15)

REDS VICTORY MAKES IT A HAT-TRICK OF HOME WINS

Linlithgow  35 – 0  Portobello

Saturday 07 March 2015

Wee Reds, Aidan McCavish and Lewis Cairns, led Linlithgow Firsts out at Mains Park last Saturday to face Portobello in the last home BT East League One fixture that had been brought forward to avoid a clash with the England-Scotland international a week later.  There was a strong wind blowing down the pitch at the back of Linlithgow in the first half.

From the kick off, the Reds immediately launched an attack that was disrupted by a deliberate knock on from Portobello.  Jack Frame lined up the ball in front of the posts but only about eight yards inside the Portobello half. Nevertheless he struck the ball through the posts to give an early lead to the home side.  Frame repeated the feat with a second penalty in the 10th minute from closer in.

The Reds’ forwards were exerting pressure on their opposite numbers, winning the first two scrums comfortably.  Then, from a line-out just inside the visitors’ 22, the forwards unrelentingly drove the Portobello pack over their own try line, with Stuart Bell rising with the ball to claim the try.  The conversion was missed but the Reds now had a lead of 11 points.

They continued to attack and hooker, Billy Edment, burst forward towards the Portobello line.  He off-loaded the ball to Pat Bennie who ran a great line to touch down almost unopposed.  Frame added the conversion.  Minutes later, a flowing Linlithgow attack up the right saw Scott Herdman grab the ball and set off for the try line, hoping to add to the score he had the previous week.  Herdman was stopped but winger, Jack Frame, was on hand to collect the ball and round his opposite number to ground the ball.

As play was nearing half-time Portobello had their first spell of pressure.  They surged into the Reds’ 22.  Their forwards began to recover some poise and won two scrums against the head.  Linlithgow defended well, however, and held the visitors out until the referee blew for the interval with the score at 23-0.

Linlithgow had to be careful to make sure Portobello had no hope of forcing their way back into the game now they had the strong wind at their back.  Six minutes after the interval, veteran lock, Stuart Jamieson, did just that when he won the ball at a line-out, saw that no one was close to him and ran straight for the visitors’ try line to score the fourth, bonus-point try.

Linlithgow maintained their pressure playing into the wind but lost a little composure when they missed a three-man overlap and an opportunity to score again.  in the next attack, however, the ball  was moving along the back division when centre, Andrew Wood, stepped inside his man and scored under the posts.  Frame added the conversion.

The game was now comfortably in the bag and Linlithgow relaxed a bit.  In fairness, too, Portobello picked up their game and with the strong wind still at their backs they pressed forward and played most of the last quarter of the game in the Reds’ half.  The home side might no longer be pressing but they defended well, determined to keep a clean sheet.

As time ran out Alistair Wood led a break out and another Linlithgow try looked inevitable but the pass did not go to hand.  Portobello broke back and chased the ball that had been kicked towards the try line.  Amazingly, it was Alistair Wood who was first to the ball to secure the ball.

This was the last meaningful action of a game, with a final score of 35-0.  After a spell of defeats on the road, Linlithgow have capitalised on their recent run of three home games by taking maximum points from each of them.  This has consolidated their fourth place in the league; however, they will have a testing final game in three weeks when they visit Dunbar who are one place below them.

Linlithgow RFC:

Fraser Rankine; Jack Frame, Stuart Cunningham, Andrew Wood and Keiron Faulds; John Strachan and Dougie Thomson; Chris Archer, Billy Edment and Scott Herdman; Pat Bennie and Stuart Jameison; Stuart Bell, Cameron Dori-Muir and Alistair Wood.

Replacements: Calum McKeown, Ross Martin and Russell Murdoch