Five Try Reds Claim First League Win of Season
Linlithgow 31 – 19 Portobello
Saturday 30 September 2017
The Reds came into this match still looking for their first league win of the season, while Portobello travelled through to Mains Park with some hope after a home win the previous weekend. Reds welcomed back captain Craig Scott and full back Rab Cairns, who’d missed the last three matches, with Jack Frame moving out to the wing.
The Reds started this match with a real intensity and purpose, rocking Portobello back with wave after wave of attack. Some direct running and great support play drove the visitors back and twice Jack Frame made incisive breaks to claim two early tries which he converted himself.
At 14-0 up with less than a quarter of the game gone, the Reds were looking good for a big score. However, a combination of the Reds taking their foot off the gas and Portobello’s determination to keep running the ball, enabled the visitors to find a way back into the game. Their effective loose structured game, keeping the ball alive, paid dividends as they pulled back 7 points through a converted try to close the first half out at 14-7 to Linlithgow.
The Reds started the second half, where they left off the first, kicking away hard won possession and from one such poor kick, Portobello created an overlap out wide on the halfway line, with their left winger outpacing the cover defence to score in the corner. With the touchline conversion, the visitors tied the game at 14-14.
Reds captain Craig Scott was clear and brief, as he rallied his troops “keep the ball in hand and don’t kick it – period!” he was heard to shout. Straight from the kick off a magnificent leap and gather by Sean Hagerty got the Reds back on the offensive and for much of the remaining 30 minutes they did exactly what their captain had exhorted, keeping ball in hand, playing good structured rugby and driving Portobello back, pinning them deep in their half for the rest of the game.
With such controlled pressure, the tries were bound to come and it was young and greatly improving No.8 Mark Caddle, who got things back on track, when he reacted to a wayward tap by Portobello at the line-out to gather and crash through the cover defence from 15 metres to claim a fine try near the corner.
Once again Sean Hagerty leapt to gather the ensuing kick off and the Reds were back on the attack in the Portobello half. After two chances went a begging, the Reds drove into the visitors’ 22 and when the ball came out it was moved swiftly along the line for Rab Cairns to claim his first try for the Reds, crashing through the defence near the posts. Frame converted to give the Reds a 26-14 lead and, with a bonus point now in the bag, the Reds moved back on to the attack to put the game away with a fifth try, this time from powerful centre Mark Green.
Full credit to Portobello, who continued to chase the game and scored a good try in the corner with the final play of the match to make the final score 31-19.
It was good for the Reds to get a win and to get the monkey off their backs and, while there’s plenty room for improvement, there was also much encouraging to take away from this match. The coaching team is now looking for the squad to kick on and continue to improve while developing a belief in themselves and their abilities. Next week the Reds travel through to Union Park, Corstorphine to play RHC, while the 2s are at home to Edinburgh Northern.
Rab Cairns; Peter Millar, Mark Green, Chris Ronalson, Jack Frame; John Chapman, Jamie March; Chris Archer, Stuart Cunningham, Michael Robertson; Sean Hagerty, Neil Lockhart; Euan Mochrie, Craig Scott (capt) and Mark Caddle.
Subs – Ally McLean, Andrew Archer, Gregor Stewart and Cal Thomson.