Reds Make Hard Work of it but Prevail in the End
Linlithgow 24 – 16 Haddington
Saturday 15 October 2022
Match report by David Mitchell
The Reds put in one of their more disjointed performances against Haddington in this East 1 league fixture but did manage to get the win to take them into the top half of the table. At least the early morning rain had gone by kick off time but there was a troublesome swirling wind that caused problems for the lineouts throughout the match.
The Reds showed a few changes from last week including Mark Caddle moving back into the pack after his run out in the centre at Forrester and the return of scrum half Stephan Smith from South Africa after a home break.
The home team made a quick start when after only a few minutes Joe McKillion took a tap penalty and made ground before releasing Mark Caddle on his left and he timed a nice pass to Ross Plenderleith who covered the final 20 metres to score a try to the left of the posts. Jack Frame added the conversion (7-0). The Reds continued to take the attack to their opponents and it was no surprise when they won a penalty which was converted by Frame (10-0).
At this point the home team looked comfortable but they began to be less accurate and careful with their passing, offloading and picking up the ball from the ground and in both loose and set play and this was combined with quite a few penalties awarded against them which allowed Haddington to gain a foothold in the game. The usually reliable source of ball from the lineout was difficult to come by and even the much vaunted scrum was not able to dominate at least in the first half.
It was no surprise when eventually Haddington won 2 kickable penalties both of which they converted to make the score 10-6. Mark Caddle was yellow carded just before half time and it seemed likely that the visitors might score but the Reds came to life and after good work by Cammy Murrie, Adam Scott and Ross Martin in particular, scrum half Stephan Scott burst clear inside the visitors’ 22 metre area and scuttled in under the posts for his first try for Linlithgow in a competitive game. Frame again added the extra points to make the half time score 17-6.
Just when we needed a period of consolidation, Haddington scored a good try early in the 2nd half when after a neat switch pass, their big winger went through the home defence to score and they added the extra points to make the score an uncomfortably close 17-13. They then added a further penalty kick to take them within 1 point of the home team total and a grandstand finish seemed to be on the cards.
The Reds replaced Adam Scott and Kyle Ormond with Stuart Cunningham and Andrew Graham. As Haddington sustained a couple of injuries, the home side began to exert more control in the scrums and regularly disrupted the Haddington eight. A period of home pressure should have resulted in a pushover try but on the first occasion the ball was knocked on and then next the referee awarded a penalty against the Reds when it looked more likely that a penalty try might have been awarded in their favour. However the pressure was sustained and eventually Jack Frame passed to Ross Martin who capped a good display by going round the defender and running round to score at the posts. Frame added the 2 points to make the score 24-16 to the home side with only a few minutes to play.
The bonus point try eluded the home side although it looked like Cammy Walker had scored it in the left hand corner only for the referee to judge that the final pass to him had been forward. The game ended with a bit of a stramash near to the Reds’ goal line as they managed to deny a losing bonus point to Haddington much to the visitor’s annoyance.
Final score 24-16
A winning performance but not really a very convincing one and improvements will be required for the visit to league leaders North Berwick next Saturday. There was a distinct lack of concentration displayed in many aspects of the game and this needs to be addressed quickly as when they are switched on properly, the Reds are a match for any of the other teams in the league. The defence was effective especially in the goal line area but in open play there were still quite a few missed tackles.
Next week sees the 1st XV at North Berwick and the 2nd XV at Leith both games kicking off at 3pm.
Adam Scott, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin; Kieran Cochrane, Ross Martin; Joe McKillion, Jamie Tulloch and Mark Caddle; Stephan Smith, Jack Frame; Cammy Walker, Ross Plenderleith, Ross Tulloch, Lewis Herdman; Cammy Murrie.
Replacements (all used): Stuart Cunningham, Andrew Graham and Dougie Thomson.