Seven Try Reds’ Impressive Performance
Linlithgow 45 – 12 Ross High
Saturday 14 September 2019
Match Report by David Mitchell
The Reds took the field for their first home league match in Tennents East 1 hoping to build on a good start the previous week at Forrester. There were 3 changes to last week’s line up with starts for Euan Gunn in the front row, Joe McKillion in the back row and David Goudie at full back.
The home team made a fast start against a traditionally tough opponent and despite an early penalty miss, Aidan Rennison made a very positive thrust at the Ross High line and just managed to place the ball down for a try.
However the away team responded well, helped by some indecision in the home ranks, and scored a try in the right corner to make the score 5-5. At this point Kieran Cochrane clashed heavily with the Ross High number 7 and both left the field injured, with Cal Thomson replaced Kieran for the Reds. The home team were struggling to get their crisp passing game going but as soon as it clicked the result was a try finished off by Ross Tulloch after a well timed final pass by Michael Doneghan who again showed up very well throughout the game. Ross Martin assumed the kicking duties and converted Tulloch’s try to make the score 12-5.
Almost immediately, Doneghan scored a fine individual try from the half way line, where he left his opposite number for dead with great foot movement and then ran round the last 2 defenders to score near the posts. Ross Martin added the extra points and the Reds led 19-5.
However, some slack play in their own 22 metre area allowed Ross High to snatch another try which was converted to make the score 19-12, reflecting some rather loose play by both sides. Just before half time, after a sustained amount of pressure on their opponents’ line, Mark Green battered his way over for a welcome try which Ross Martin again converted to give the home side a 26-12 lead and a try bonus point at half time.
With the very strong wind favouring Ross High in the second half, the large crowd expected a tough battle for the Reds, but an early score for Stuart ‘Chunk’ Cunningham following a typical Joe McKillion burst through visitors’ defence put clear daylight between the 2 sides. Ross Martin’s conversation gave the home team a 33-12 lead which was never threatened.
With the Reds pack dominating the scrums, the home side capitalised on a huge shove to take the ball right and an excellent break by Green and great linking play by Doneghan resulted in Cammy Murrie racing under the posts for a superb team try. Martin popped over the conversion to give the home side a 40-12 lead.
All credit to Ross High who tried to respond but the defence of the Reds was very solid and the visitors failed to score a point in the second half, despite having to play into a near gale force wind. The coaching staff took the opportunity to make a few changes as the half continued and Ally Walker showed an abrasive quality in taking the ball up hard to the opposition. Calum McKeown and Cammy Walker also got into the action in the latter stages and this showed the current strength in depth at the Club.
The final try came after Mark Green was adjudged to have been held up over the line and, from the resulting 5 metre scrum, the ball was moved wide right to allow man of the match Ross Tulloch to cross for the try to complete the scoring.
Final score 45-12.
David Goudie; Ross Tulloch, Michael Doneghan, Ross Plenderleith; Aiden Rennison, Cammy Murrie; Euan Gunn, Stuart Cunningham, Colin Devlin; Ross Martin, Kieran Cochrane; Euan Mochrie (Capt), Joe McKillion and Mark Caddle.
Subs – Cal Thomson, Calum McKeown, Ally Walker and Cammy Walker.
The crowd were royally entertained and several comments were made about this being one of the best home team performances for quite a few years. The team is playing with increasing confidence as a result of hard pre-season work, good coaching, good numbers at training and improved player availability have all contributed to a cracking start to the season. Keep it up lads! Next week the Reds travel to Portobello in the league and the Reds 2ndXV are at home to Kelso ‘A’.
The only dark cloud over the weekend was the late cancellation of the Reds’ 2ndXV league fixture away at Gala 2nds. It showed the very fragile state of lower league rugby in Scotland when a club with the illustrious past of Gala cannot field a 2ndXV team at home against a provincial club willing to take a bus and 17 players to Gala. There is currently a review of domestic rugby in Scotland and the lack of players and high number of unfulfilled fixtures must be addressed.