Reds Do the Double Over Dunbar
Linlithgow 27 – 10 Dunbar
Saturday 12 December 2015
The postponement of the Forrester game the previous week meant that visitors, Dunbar, were the first side Linlithgow RFC had already played in the BT East League One this season. The Reds had won through in East Lothian in a tight encounter earlier in the season. Wee Reds mascot, Elliott Muir, led the Reds on to Mains Park in a match sponsored by TGIF.
Linlithgow RFC settled more quickly and the crowd were sure that an early score was on the cards when, in the sixth minute, Mark Green burst through but a despairing tackle brought him down. The Reds attacks continued and they turned down a chance of a kick at goal by going for the line out. The home side kept up the pressure before conceding a penalty that allowed Dunbar to kick the ball out of their 22 for the first time.
As can happen, this foray into Linlithgow’s half led to a penalty opportunity for the visitors. The Dunbar scrum half took the long-range effort well to give his side a 3-0 lead against the run of play in the tenth minute. Five minutes later, the Reds were on the attack again when centre, Euan Richardson, sent a grubber kick behind the Dunbar defence. Young lock, Steven Grant, was first in the chase to the ball that had bobbled over the try line to score his first try for the Reds. Jack Frame comfortably added the conversion.
Linlithgow were on top in most aspects of the game. In the line-out Charlie Gillanders stole two Dunbar throw-ins in a row and the Reds forwards were dominating the scrum. On several occasions, they looked as if they would manage a pushover try from their many five-metre scrums but, to the frustration of onlookers, the control was never quite there. The score came, however, when Mark Green was not to be denied crashing through for a try which Frame was unable to convert on this occasion.
In the 23rd minute Dunbar had a rare break upfield. A speculative kick ahead was not tidied up by the home defence and Dunbar managed to touch down for a try. The conversion meant that the Reds were leading by only two points in a game that they were dominating.
The Reds returned to the attack and a promising drive was halted when the referee stopped play because of fracas that resulted in a player from each side being sent to the sin bin to cool down. Jack Frame then added a penalty to stretch the lead but, on the stroke of half time, in their third visit to the Linlithgow half, Dunbar missed a kick that would have brought them close again to the Linlithgow’s score. Even so, the half-time lead of 15-10 did not reflect the territory and possession of the home side.
The pattern of the game did not change in the second half and it took only five minutes for the Reds to score again, with Fraser Rankine diving over in the corner. Frame could not add the points from the kick out wide, although the kick did not miss by much.
Flanker, Stuart Bell, who was later named as man of the match then went on a lung-bursting run before being scragged short of the try line. The Reds pack continued their domination and again forced a series of five-metre scrums back towards the visitors’ try line. Almost inevitably, on one occasion the referee decided that Dunbar had illegally prevented a certain try and ran beneath the posts to award a penalty try. Jack Frame added the conversion.
This fourth try meant that Linlithgow had picked up a bonus point as well as securing victory with only fifteen minutes to go. They relaxed a bit and for the last period of the game allowed Dunbar the most concentrated spell of possession that the visitors had managed all afternoon. Nevertheless, the Reds kept Dunbar out of their 22 with some strong midfield defence, meaning that the visitors did not manage to score at all in the second half.
The game rather petered out, with the only incident in the last ten minutes involving a flare-up which saw one Linlithgow player being sent to the bin and one Dunbar player lucky to escape any punishment at all. There was time for a final yellow card to be shown to another of the visiting players before the referee blew for time, the game ending in a 27-10 victory to the Reds.
This result meant that Linlithgow had the comfort of a bonus-point victory to take into the Festive Season.
Jack Frame; Scott Watson, Euan Richardson, Mark Green and Chris Bredin; Andrew Whitelaw and Jamie Livingstone; Calum McKeown, Euan Mochrie and Chris Archer; Charlie Gillanders and Steven Grant; Stuart Bell, Craig Scott and Ross Martin. Subs: John Pauley, Graeme McCallum, Fraser Rankine and Mikey Walker.