Reds v Ross High (Oct 16)

LAST-GASP TRY DENIES REDS 

Linlithgow  24 – 24  Ross High

Saturday 22 October 2016

Last Saturday, the Reds entertained Ross High at Mains Park and, as the visitors were lying bottom of BT East League One, the Reds were hoping to return to winning ways.  The home side started more brightly and took the game into the Ross High 22, following a quick tap penalty by debutant scrum half, Cammy Murrie.  Linlithgow conceded a penalty, however, that allowed the defence to clear the danger.

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Eric Williams’ try

As play moved into their half, Linlithgow were penalised in the middle of the field for a high tackle and this gave the visitors an early chance to take the lead.  The kick came up short.  Another sniping run from Murrie was followed by a pass out to Stuart Cunningham running up the left wing but he was bundled into touch.  Linlithgow’s early pressure bore fruit in the 8th minute, when centre, Eric Williams, brushed through several tackles to touch down, Jack Frame adding the conversion.

Soon after that, Linlithgow lost Stuart Bell to injury with Cameron Dori-Muir coming on to replace him. Play continued mainly in the Ross High half and, when the visitors won a scrum in the Reds half from a home side knock on, there seemed no danger.  The ball was passed out to the winger who, too easily, cut through the home defence and barged over the line with a couple of defenders vainly trying to stop him.  The conversion tied the score at 7-7 with the game twenty minutes old.

Six minutes later, a quick throw-in from Linlithgow in their own half allowed the Reds to mount an attack deep in the visitors half.  Ross High conceded a penalty in stopping this which Jack Frame converted.  Once again the score was followed by an injury with Euan Mochrie replacing Mark Caddle.

The game was heading towards half time when Ross High suffered a series of setbacks.  They were the architects of their own misfortune when, in quick succession, they had two players sent to the sin bin.  Immediately after, Linlithgow won an attacking line-out and, with their numbers depleted, Ross High had no answer to Linlithgow’s move that saw Ross Plenderleith darting in under the post.  Frame once again added the two points.

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Jack Frame’s try

The visitors tried to take the ball into Linlithgow’s half to run down the clock but Jack Frame collected the ball just inside his own half and went on a superb run, evading several defenders to score.  He rose and converted his own try to take the half time score to a healthy 24-7 lead for Linlithgow.

The home support were feeling confident and the talk was of Linlithgow scoring a fourth try and earning a bonus point as well as a win. The Reds began well and there was an early burst forward from Euan Gunn, well supported by fellow prop, Steven Grant.  Josh Hares came on for Stuart Cunningham for Linlithgow’s final substitution.

The Reds held the advantage in possession at this stage but were not retaining possession and composure, allowing Ross High to ride out the storm.  The visitors came back in the 55th minute when, after a spell of pressure, they scored on the right.  The conversion was missed and Linlithgow still held a cushion of 12 points.  The Reds were not managing any sustained pressure on the line when Ross High broke up the left.  Following an interchange of passes among two of their backs, the referee spotted a Linlithgow infringement.  He considered that it had been sufficient to prevent a certain try and raced under the posts to award a penalty try. It was the second week in a row that this had happened to the Reds and the easy kick was converted to narrow Linlithgow’s lead to 24-19.

Linlithgow continued to press through a blistering run up the left wing from Plenderleith, followed by a slick move involving Plenderleith again along with Jack Frame and Eric Williams, but the cutting edge was missing.  The crowd were growing worried and, when Linlithgow were awarded a kickable penalty in the dying minutes, the support were hoping that an attempt at goal might settle everyone’s nerves.  The Reds opted to kick for a line-out, ambitiously hoping to squeeze a try from the game.

The line-out came to nothing and there was an air of inevitability when the ball was flung out to the Ross High right wing.  The lung-bursting run took him to the corner where he dived over to secure the fourth, bonus-point try for the visitors.  The difficult kick was missed but this score meant that when the referee blew for time the scores were tied at 24-24.

All credit to Ross High who kept plugging away, literally, to the last minute to try to secure the points but Linlithgow will want to look closely at how they failed to convert a winning position into an actual victory.

Linlithgow

Jack Frame; Euan Murray, Chris Bredin, Eric Williams, and Ross Plenderleith; Chris Ronalson and Cammy Murrie; Steven Grant, Stuart Cunningham and Euan Gunn; Sean Hagerty and Stuart Bell; Mark Caddle, Craig Scott and Ross Martin.  Substitutes (all used): Cameron Dori-Muir, Euan Mochrie and Josh Hares.

Match photos courtesy of Graham Black