Young Reds at Berwick (Sep22)

Young Reds on 24th September

Conference Matches

Berwick u16  19 – 36  Linlithgow u16
Berwick S2  10 – 43  Linlithgow S2
Berwick S1  5 – 55  Linlithgow S1

Friendly Matches

Peebles u18  24 – 21  Linlithgow u18
Clifton Hall U16  29 – 21  Linlithgow S3

Action from Young Reds S2 Match at Berwick

Border Raid by S2s Brings Fine Win

Berwick S2  10 – 43  Linlithgow S2

Match report by Nick Smith

Arising at 6.50 (some even earlier) on a Saturday morning is something that no teenager should have to endure, unless of course there’s a game of rugby to be played against a new rival – Berwick. With everyone present and correct the bus departed on time and we set off for our first ever cross-border skirmish.  It has to be said it was a quiet journey down.

On arrival our hosts were very hospitable and the word soon went round about the size of the pies that were going into the oven, ready for us once the game was done.  This was incentive enough for us to get on with things and the boys showed real focus in warm up.  All the boys from the S2s and S4s then stood together for a minute’s silence out of respect for the queen.

With Ewan as captain this week, we won the toss and elected to kick off.  For the first 10 minutes it felt like both teams were sizing each other up.  Berwick went at us hard up front but couldn’t get their backs firing while our boys skilfully moved the ball through the hands probing for gaps.

Berwick possessed some large forwards who put pressure on us at the set piece and at the breakdown.  This was coupled with a referee committed to playing free flowing rugby, and with slightly different set of rules around the ruck (and occasionally mauls), as well as the offside line, than we are used to.  We lost a couple scrums by being pushed off the ball and found ourselves under pressure at our own lineouts by their blitz defence.  Rory took a few more hits than is befitting for his position at fly half.

However the boys weathered this well, showing some maturity by speaking to the ref and getting a bit tighter in the scrums and going for quick ball, so that we held our own.  Eventually our pressure began to tell and we moved the ball through hands off the back of a ruck and Matthew (one of two players borrowed from S3 for the morning) rounded the defence at pace to score our first try.  Berwick came back at us hard but our defence held.  Our second try looked a bit like something we had worked on.  Chris drove up the middle making good ground, from the resulting ruck Ollie moved the ball away quickly and it worked its way to Alfie who gratefully grounded the ball for his 5 points.

Our next try came from a quickly taken tap penalty from Aiden (another of one of our borrowed S3 players), following a high tackle from one of Berwick’s bigger forwards.  At half time we were three tries to the good despite being the huge pressure which continued to be applied on our own set piece.

After the half time interval, with the stiffening breeze behind us, we put two more tries on the board before Berwick started to come back at us.  The first try came Chris as he made a typical bullocking break down the middle of the pitch, none of the Berwick defenders could get hold of him well enough to bring him down and before we/he knew it he was over the line with the ball grounded.  The second came from a turnover at the ruck that Scott was quick to capitalise on, going on a zigzagging run towards the line and touching down.  Berwick then put two tries on the board themselves. One from a break which started on their own try line, and the second coming a scrum at close quarters following some stiff tackling from Elliot and Hugh.

Our remaining two tries came from kicks, the first was a kick through from Ewan, which he then deftly side tapped over the line before diving on it marginally before an incoming Berwick defender.  The second was a beautiful cross kick from Mathew which dropped lovingly into Fraser W’s arms for him to finish off the move unopposed.

Overall the boys should be pleased with their performance.  They were put under real pressure by Berwick by their sheer physicality and ability to put us under pressure on our own set piece. But no one panicked and they trusted in each other that it would come good.  We were also helped by Matthew and Aiden who kindly gave up playing for the S3s this week to help us out with their partnership in the centres.  

Again this was a team performance but to note a few highlights: Finlay had a great debut playing across the back and second rows, running well with the ball in hand.  Daniel, Tom, Angus and Elliot were busy in the rucks.  Ewan put himself about with this usual aplomb and Jay and Hugh tackled well from full back and wing respectively. Ollie and Rory combined well and got the ball moving well along the backline.

Man of the match this week was decided by Berwick who awarded it to Aiden.  He had a great game at outside centre, running hard and was quick to see when a kick or break was on.  He also made his fair share of the tackles needed to keep a tough Berwick team at bay.  It will be equally tough at Marr next weekend. 

S3 Match Report

Clifton Hall U16  29 – 21  Linlithgow S3

Match Report by Alastair McGrath

On a holiday weekend a friendly was organised for the S3s away against Clifton Hall U16s. Although the Young Reds U16s had travelled down to Berwick, where they recorded a fine 36-19 win, they were able to provide 4 players to make up for the S3 shortfall in numbers due to it being the holiday weekend.

Clifton Hall were a big team with a home advantage. Once the mole hills were flattened down, the pitch set to the correct width and the warm-ups completed, the game started with Linlithgow literally playing up-hill. It was a physical and tough game but the Young Reds were up for all the challenges facing them. The Young Reds took a little  while to adapt to their opposition’s size and style of play and contact, but by then had gone down by two tries, with one converted.

Linlithgow fought back with Aiden P taking the ball over the line and then taking the successful conversion. This made the half time score 12-7 to the home side.

Lifted by their resolute attitude and team spirit, the Young Reds started the second half playing downhill and soon added to their score with Connor M taking the ball over the line for another 5 points and Angus M kicking the conversion. This took the score to 12-14 in the visitor’s favour. 

Clifton Hall then responded with a try, but again missed the conversation, taking them back in the lead at 17-14. Responding swiftly, the Young Reds moved the ball well and, after a number of phases, Angus touched the ball over the line for a try which  Aiden successfully converted, giving the lead back to Linlithgow at 17-21. 

At this point Clifton Hall had an injury and the referee asked if we could drop down to 14 players on the field to level the numbers, to which we agreed. Play resumed and after a while and some pressure from the home side, Clifton Hall scored an unconverted try to regain the lead at 22-21.

It was at this point that the coaches noted that Clifton Hall had returned their injured  player to the pitch and somehow the referee had overlooked informing the Linlithgow coaches of this fact, which meant that the Young Reds had played with only 14 players against 15 for nearly 10 minutes, during which time the home side had scored their try! 

The Young Reds fought back but Clifton Hall, having been encouraged by retaking the lead, scored a final try which they then converted. The final whistle was blown with the score at Clifton Hall 29 Linlithgow 21.

This was an excellent performance by the Young Reds S3s against an older team and, given the standard of play and the fact that they were playing against at U16 team, the boys were outstanding and should be proud of themselves. They played the game fairly, as a team and with honour and dignity. They did not at any time lower their standard of play or sportsmanship. As coaches, both Malcom and I applaud their performance, attitude, and spirit. 

A special thanks goes to S4s Jacob, Miller, Matthew and Ethan who joined our S3 team on Saturday. Thank you and well played.

S1 Match Report

Berwick S1 5 – 55 Linlithgow S1

Match report by Stuart Ritchie

A slightly sleepy S1 group set off from Linlithgow to Berwick on Saturday morning. With good playing numbers we were excited for our trip over the border.

Both teams and supporters carried out a well-respected 1-minute silence for the Queen prior to kick-off. There was a fresh North Sea breeze and playing conditions were excellent.

This was our second conference game and the experience of having a few competitive games on a full-size pitch was evident, and this is a steep learning curve for S1 rugby. This was Berwick’s first game on a full-size pitch and soon the Reds began to pull away with some strong direct running and good passing through the hands. 

By the second ‘third’ Linlithgow offered to play a development game but credit to the Berwick team who wanted to work on team structure and utilise their squad, and they improved during each third.

It’s always good to have the morale boost of a victory but the teamwork, passing, counter rucking and ability to listen and execute instructions particularly pleased the coaches.

Tries were shared around the team with Rory, Fergus, Callum, Blair, Finlay, Archie, Fraser, Euan, Oscar, Ethan and Marshall all scoring. However, this was a true team effort and everyone made a significant contribution. Congratulations to Zac and Archie on their first games for the Young Reds.

Berwick were excellent hosts and even helped out with a pair of boots for one of our players. Thanks to our travelling support – always greatly appreciated!

Some of the boys now have the game day bus experience under their belts, and I am sure none of them will forget to bring a tie this season for fear of the singing forfeit!