DISAPPOINTING DEFEAT FOR THE REDS
Linlithgow 10 – 29 Strathmore
Saturday 23 August 2014
Linlithgow RFC entertained Strathmore in the last of their pre-season games last Saturday with a game played on Lower Mains Park. The team from Angus arrived looking for revenge for their defeat at the hands of Linlithgow two weeks previously whereas Linlithgow was hoping to reproduce the form of the first hour against Kilmarnock, the week before.
The Reds lost their first scrum against the head and, from this, Strathmore broke up through midfield leading to a try out wide. The conversion hit the post. Strathmore had settled well and were playing more fluently and it was no surprise when, after fifteen minutes, they scored again, although the Reds defence will feel they had chances to prevent this.
The Reds were coming more into the game but their play, even on the attack, remained disjointed. Matt Dixon kicked ahead and chased the ball. The Reds kept up the pressure through Stuart Bell and Alistair Wood but the passing was still a bit too careless for there to be any sustained attack.
Then the Reds suffered a blow for the game and for the season. Matt Dixon burst though in possession but was tackled by two players. He had to leave the pitch and go to hospital, where it was discovered he had broken his leg.
Strathmore kept up the pressure and, on the half hour, a dummy pass left their centre with a path to score under the posts, leaving an easy conversion. This at last stung the Reds into reply and a kick ahead was missed by two Strathmore defenders and Ross Plenderleith pounced on the loose ball to make the half time score 5-17.
The second half was only two minutes old when Strathmore once again took advantage of missed tackles to score again. Although the Reds backs kept trying, they could not match the crisp passing of the visitors that led to Strathmore’s fifth try, which was converted to bring the score to 5-29.
As the clock ran down, the Reds had their most sustained spell of pressure on the Strathmore try line but they were still struggling to get the ball over until Ross Plenderleith split the defence and touched down for his second try to make the final score a 10-29 defeat.
This was a major disappointment for the players and coaching staff, as the Reds had already won two of their pre-season games and led in the third for most of the game. They will be hoping that this performance is out of their system now before they travel down to the Borders this Saturday to open the league campaign, away against Hawick Linden.
Fraser Rankine; Euan Murray, Mark Green, Andrew Wood and Ross Plenderleith; Matt Dixon and Mike Walker; Calum McKeown, Stuart Cunningham (c) and Hugh Cochrane; Conall Black and Cameron Dori-Muir; Kyle Flucker, Stuart Bell and Alistair Wood. Subs: John Pauley, Nick Chadwick, Cal Thomson, Dougie Thomson, Steven Sim, Russell Murdoch and Ronnie Coventry.