Reds lose out in tough tussle at North Berwick
North Berwick 14 – 3 Linlithgow
Saturday 22 October 2022
Report by David Mitchell
After a morning of heavy rain, North Berwick was relatively dry for this East 1 League encounter on a heavily sloping pitch. North Berwick came into the game with a 100% record so far this campaign having been promoted from East 2 at the end of last season. They have recently introduced a new coaching team and recruited a couple of players who have experience at a higher level as they showed during this hard fought fixture.
The Reds gave a starting debut to Andrew Graham and he performed very creditably. The visitors elected to take advantage of the slope in the first half and in the opening 20 minutes had good field position but were unable to breach the home defence. The game always looked like a low scoring one and so it turned out with only 3 scores over the whole game. Neither side had much of an advantage throughout the game but the home side’s experienced number 10 did exert significant control with his choice of kicking options in particular. The opening score resulted from a lineout catch and drive which the Reds failed to resist without illegal intervention although the crowd were surprised that the referee awarded a penalty try to North Berwick as it was a first offence and would normally have resulted in a warning.
On the stroke of half time the Reds won a penalty and Jack Frame kicked the goal to get the visitors on the scoreboard. Half time 7-3.
The home team made a confident start to the second half pinning the Reds into their own 22 for long periods without looking like scoring against some solid defence from the visitors. At this stage the Reds began to be penalised on a regular basis and this stopped them from gaining any good field position. Eventually North Berwick scored a forwards try out wide which was followed by an excellent touchline conversion to make the score 14-3.
Stuart Cunningham, Euan Mochrie and David Martin replaced Kyle Ormond, Kieran Cochrane and Eddie Beamish and in the last quarter of the game, the Reds began to get better field position following good runs by Ross Tulloch and Lewis Herdman.
However they home defence was solid and managed to resist the final thrusts by the visiting team. A losing bonus point was still on offer with the last attack by the Reds but the final pass to David Martin was wild and the game ended tamely with a 14-3 defeat.
This was a hard fought match with North Berwick deserving their narrow win. There was little to choose between the 2 teams and the experience of a couple of the home backs made the crucial difference. There was still a tendency for the Reds to overplay in their own half and also not to run as hard and straight as they should have, especially on a narrower pitch where a direct approach is required before moving the ball wide to the space on the outside.. The effort of the guys cannot be faulted in such an even game but a more positive approach to decision making and tactical awareness would surely bring more rewards.
Next week the 1sts are at home to Livingston in the National Shield competition. Please note that there is an early kick off at 12-30pm to fit in with the Scotland v Australia game starting at 5-30pm.
The 2nds are due to play an East 2 Reserve league fixture away at Edinburgh Accies 2s with a 1-30pm kick off.
Andrew Graham, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin; K Cochrane, Ross Martin; Joe McKillion, Jamie Tulloch, Mark Caddle; Stephan Smith, Jack Frame (c); Lewis Herdman, Freddie Adcock, Ross Tulloch, Eddie Beamish; Ross Plenderleith.
Replacement: Stuart Cunningham, Euan Mochrie and David Martin.