Young Reds Round-Up (Mar 22)

Young Reds Round-Up

Saturday 26 March 2022

Young Reds U16 Beaten in Semi-Final at Gala

Report by Graeme Miller

The U16′ travelled down to Galashiels to play the semi-final of the East Cup Competition and relied on the U15 game being called off to draw on extra players. With 8 of our team not playing through injury, not well or unavailable we would not have been able to field a team, so a big shout out thanks go to the five boys who totally stepped up for us at short notice.

It was a really competitive game although the final score of 33-19 to our opponents allows Gala to progress to the final.

The first half saw Linlithgow have all the field position and possession, but lacking the penetration to score, until we threw a loose pass which was intercepted and Gala scored under the posts. Straight from the KO we didn’t deal with the ball and Gala quickly gathered and scored again under the sticks with both being converted. It stayed 14-0 until half time.

Our team talk obviously didn’t work and 2 minutes into the second half again, a loose pass from our backs resulted in them scoring and converting, 26-0.

Gala were very good at moving the ball wide, which we struggled to cope with, and they started to play at this stage with some excellent movement and ran in a further two tries after 7 and 12 minutes through there centre and winger who where excellent runners throughout. 

At 33-0 our boys started to see some results from our pressure and scored 3 tries and two conversions. The first was a brilliant cross field kick from Ruairi (our U15 stand off) and Calum (our U15) winger gathered and beat two players to score in the corner – a brilliant worked move from them both. Fergus one of our back row forwards had a few great strong runs and he was rewarded when he crashed over at short distance with 3 Gala players hanging off him! Ruairi converted. Finally on the during the last play, our Jack who seemed to be playing every position in the backs gathered a kick through from Gala and ran from our own half, beating 4 of their players, to score in the corner. Fraser  converted from the touch line. 33-19. 

Congratulations to Gala and good luck to them in the final. 

S2s Finish Season in Style

Linlithgow 32 – 10 Howe of Fife

Report by Phil McCavish

The last scheduled game of the season was a home game on Linlithgow’s top pitch. The ground was firm and the sun was shining in a clear blue sky. It was a good day to play rugby.

Linlithgow had a near full complement of players and Howe presented a strong team with some big players. 

The game kicked off with lots of Howe possession and a strong attack, but Linlithgow started with a solid defence and strong tackling kept the play in Howe’s half. It was a fast and well played start to the game but a turnover in possession resulted in Ali B scoring a try on the 4 minute mark, which was then converted to another point by Jack.

Howe fought back with fast play and strong rucking, but Linlithgow maintained a strong defence forcing handling errors from Howe’s backs. An excellent Linlithgow pack dominated the scrum, allowing quick ball along the back line which Howe defended strongly. It was another 15 minutes before Linlithgow crossed the line again with a try from Matthew. The conversion for this one was short of the mark. Howe restarted but Linlithgow now had their game heads on and scored 2 more tries in quick succession: the first from Jack, converted by Aiden, and the next taken over and touched down by Hamish and kicked over by Jack

Howe, however, picked themselves up and with a sustained attack, went through a series of phases and fought back with a well scored converted try just before the half time whistle was blown, giving a half time score of Linlithgow 15 Howe 4.

Action from S2 game

The second half picked up exactly as the first had ended with energy and commitment and both teams playing well. Howe defended on their 5-metre line and Linlithgow gave away a penalty which Howe aimed to kick for touch, however quick thinking from Connor had him covering the line and caught the ball, with his feet just a few centimetres from the touch line, before it could land into touch. Howe’s defence was not prepared and Connor’s run resulted in him scoring the try for another 3 points which Angus then kicked to add another point.

The Linlithgow boys kept the pressure on and soon after Ali scored a well run try and Aiden put this between the posts for the additional point. Howe responded with a strong attacking period of play which resulted in Linlithgow having to defend on their 5-metre line conceding a penalty. Howe took the quick tap but were held inches short of their try line before Howe moved the ball left then quickly snapped it to their right and scored a try, missing the conversion. On the restart, Linlithgow kept possession worked through their phases resulting in another try from Ali B, soon followed by Aiden crossing the line driving hard and breaking through the Howe tackles. Both conversions were missed but Linlithgow had consolidated their lead.

Howe again pushed back and after a sustained attack scored their third and final try of the game, which was unfortunately not converted to the extra point.

More action from the S2 game

On the last play, a penalty resulted in a line out for Linlithgow on the Howe’s 10 metre line. The Linlithgow forwards noticed that the Howe hooker had stepped out of position and the throw in was swiftly returned from the 5 metre mark to the thrower who then attacked the Howes’ open position. Howe covered off too late and Liam crossed the line for the last score of the game.

The game finished with Linlithgow scoring 32 points to Howe’s 10 points. The game was well played by both teams and rugby was the winner. 

Young Reds S2 Team

Congratulations also go to Alan on his playing debut in the red shirt, getting stuck in and contributing to the teams’ well-deserved win.

Morale-Boosting Blow-out Win for S1 Young Reds

Young Reds S1 Team

Under the clear blue skies of a perfect spring morning, the Linlithgow Young Reds S1s welcomed Howe of Fife to Lower Mains Park.  A good turnout saw the S1s able to field a full team with a couple of subs which was ideal in the unfamiliar warm conditions, as everyone was able to have a five minute breather for water and a cool down at some point in the game.

There was an air of intent about the team during warm-up, with an edge of nerves as they looked to put on a good performance. The S1s have become a bit notorious for slow starts of late but there was no such luck for Howe, who began the game in possession but immediately found themselves pressured by a red wall of defence, with fierce tackling and remorseless rucking pushing them backwards on their own ball. That’s very hard to deal with – you have to find someone behind you to pass to – and often leads to the ball being spilt, and so it was here. Max was quick to pounce on the loose ball and raced through for an early try under the posts.

Howe would have hoped to get back into the game from the restart, but that wasn’t to be as once again the Linlithgow boys rushed to tackle Howe’s biggest runners, with Elliot and Daniel at the forefront of some brilliant Reds defence, which they turned into attack by turning the ball over; and this was to be the story of the day, with stifling defensive pressure generating turnover ball and some strong running and really smart passing into space resulting in tries for Ewan, Rory and Thomas J in the first 15 minute spell. 

The second spell began with a little more possession and territory for Howe of Fife but they still couldn’t find a way through the Linlithgow defence. With the ball won back, Joe was set free in space for a scorching run up the right wing and another score. More pressure from the Young Reds soon afterwards saw a great run from Daniel sucking in defenders to stop him and some wonderful hands through the backs put Thomas M in for a try in the opposite corner. Champagne rugby!

Howe’s effort was eventually rewarded when they finally broke the Red line for a score in the corner; but the Young Reds would have the last word with another score for Joe closing the half. 

With the match more or less secure, the Linlithgow players opened up their box of tricks in the third and final 15 minute session. Not everything worked but it was brilliant to see an array of chips, cross-field kicks, miss-passes and (possibly unintentional) dummy runs as the game progressed. It was all backed up with great defensive effort -with Alfie, Jay and both Anguses (Angi?) getting stuck right in and a sky-high tackle count that meant Howe couldn’t generate go-forward and Linlithgow snapped up the ball from the resulting pressure. More tries were shared around the team and the final score was recorded as 43-3 though I have to admit I personally had lost count by that stage!

It was a brilliant, morale-boosting win on what might be the last game of the season for the S1s (watch this space to see if we can arrange any more post-Easter). 

It was a great all-round performance, with significant contributions from every single player. Collectively and individually it was one of the best performances of the season. It was lot of fun in the sun and Howe of Fife -who are a decent team and certainly no mugs- just couldn’t live with a  Young Reds team with their tails up. 

After such a team performance, it’s very hard to pick out just one man-of-the-match but that’s the gig when you write the match report. Thomas J gets a special mention – he must have been a nightmare to defend all day, with strong direct running and some great passing to put teammates in space. But among a host of great performances, one player stood out for his all round influence on the game. On top of a couple of fine solo tries, he pulled the strings in attack and was terrific at finding teammates in space; he carried his weight in a great defensive team effort and he enjoyed showing off a wide repertoire of creative and experimental plays in the final section in which it was terrific fun to see the players expressing themselves. This week’s MoM is Rory!

A big well done to all the players on a great game, with lots of positives to take forward for this super group of boys.