Young Reds v Lasswade
Saturday 29 October 2022
U18s Dominate in Low Scoring Game
Lasswade 0 – 14 Linlithgow
Match Report by Phil Findlater
It was a fresh, autumn morning when the U18 squad of 20 arrived at Lasswade for their penultimate match of this season;’s Conference. We knew that this would be a tough match, as they always are with Lasswade, and this one was no exception!
Lasswade kicked off and on receipt of the ball we made our way up into their “22” and, as we have been prone to do in some matches, started attacking in 1s, and sometimes 2s, but were making no headway as their defence was resolute.
Our play was very tight and single minded with little or no ball being played out to the wide channels for variation or opportunities out in these channels. It was as if we had forgotten our structure, set plays and game plan and we were, maybe, caught up in the excitement of playing against Lasswade and trying too hard!?
We were, ‘literally”, camped in the opposition’s half for around 95% of the first half with very little attacking threat shown from them, though it was always there as they were dangerous on the counter, but we managed to nullify any attempt that they made. What also did not help us was the referee’s interpretation of the lineout laws where he seemed to penalise both teams for an early jump at the lineout which then made it a very hesitant and non productive source of attacking ball for us.
We turned around at half time, a remarkable 0-0 and this had all of the hallmarks of the friendly match that we played at the start of the season which finished with only one score being made.
We maintained our pressure, possession and territory in the second half. We again had the elements of 1s and 2s trying to breach the Lasswade line with instances of “white line fever” being apparent within the team! Something that we shall need to find the cure for!!
On one of the numerous attacks to the try line, Alex managed to borrow over from 5 yards out to break our duck which Conor duly converted to give us a well earned 0-7 lead.
Lasswade were still maintaining their strong defence, but eventually they went down to 14 men with a yellow card for a high tackle, but when they went down to 13 due to an injury we did the honourable thing and pulled one of the boys off to save a miss match! We love a gamble!
All of the Linlithgow boys were giving 110% in the close fought battles that were taking place and this was rewarded when, again, Alex crossed over for his second try under the posts for Conor then to convert for a lead of 0-14.
Lasswade were tired at this point and tempers were starting to fray, but the Linlithgow boys kept their heads, and cool, to see the match out without any yellow cards, penalties or points conceded of any kind. This showed great fortitude and maturity in game management to close the game off as the danger was always there for a break away try, but our tackling and defence was fantastic! We now need to show the same approach in our attack!
U16s Win at Lasswade
Lasswade 0 – 22 Linlithgow
No report sent…
S3s Run in 6 Tries in Blistering Performance
Lasswade 0 – 34 Linlithgow (Match abandoned after 35 minutes)
Match Report by Phil McCavish
The S3 team travelled through to face Lasswade in only our second competitive game of the year – a combination of state occasions and an absence of teams to face has meant that competitive fixtures have been few and far between. So the Young Reds were looking to build upon their resounding win against Watson’s in the first conference game.
Conditions were good – the pitch was in excellent condition and with only the morning dew making giving any reason for concern. The Young Reds had worked hard on defence in the run up to the game, but it was their attacking strengths that was on display first up.
After a good start to the game where the forwards controlled possession and created a good position on the pitch which the backs took full advantage of with Jack providing a great offload to Ali B to score the first try. Jack then followed up with a try of his own to make the early score 10-0 as the Young Reds raced into an early lead.
The most pleasing moment of the game was when the Young Reds forwards defended a Lasswade penalty on the 5m line winning back possession and denying Lasswade their one real scoring opportunity in the first half. Whilst this was the highlight of a great defensive performance by the whole team – special mention goes to Lewis who put in a great covering tackle, typifying the effort and application of all of the players.
The Reds worked their way back up the field and Ali B found himself in space on the wing but with plenty of work still to do, Lewis provided great support which enabled Ali B to finish off his second try of the day.
A cross field kick from Aiden exploited the narrow Lasswade defence after a penalty to create an opportunity which Cammy took advantage after a typically direct run. Jack followed up with extra points from the conversion.
Indiscipline by Lasswade at the breakdown 5m out from their own line created a gap in their defensive line at the edge of a ruck, this was an opportunity that Liam was never going to turn down, despite it being much further out than the other tries that he has scored this year. This meant hat the Young Reds finished 27-0 up after their best half of Rugby so far this year.
The Young Reds started the second half intent on picking up exactly where they had left off. After 3 minutes a cross field kick found Alex E on the wing 25m out but with plenty of defenders between him and the try line. Alex made short work of leaving 3 defenders floundering in his wake having failed to lay a hand on him before he scored the Young Reds 6th try with an acrobatic finish. Jack added the extra points.
This turned out to be the final meaningful action of the game after Aiden was injured by a dangerous tackle. The duration of the treatment required meant that unfortunately the game was unable to be restarted – our hopes are that Aiden makes a swift recovery, who was as ever making a great contribution to the team.
So, it was a bittersweet end to a game which saw the Young Reds defence restrict Lasswade to only one meaningful opportunity in 35 minutes rugby whilst scoring 6 tries of their own, but understandably the focus was on their injured team mate.
S2s Show Great Heart in Strong Performance
Match Report by Malcolm Dunn
In some games the result is not important, it’s about the excitement, good rugby spirit, the level of skill on show and the overall commitment – with all of this giving us the thrill. This was certainly one of these games (I might offer that to Townsend for Monday’s press conference). We do realise that as the boys get older the result becomes all the more important – and that’s understandable – but at this stage lets focus on the performance.
It was a very different Lasswade team that turned up from the beginning of the season. Big hard runners and some sizeable units in the pack. However we had confidence in our pack and our strike runners to give them a decent game.
Unfortunately though we made one of our trade mark slow starts letting Lasswade score the first try. This came from a break down the left with their large full-back piling through a few of our players. However in came Jay with one of his classic “never give up” tackles, first grabbing a piece of shirt, then a leg and finally a good chunk of body forcing him to topple. It was from the following ruck that they got the ball over the line.
We woke up a bit after this and Ewan scored the first of his three tries touching down following cross field kick from Joe. At this point the forwards started to get more stuck into the rucks and we began to win more of our own ball. Our handling skills let us down at times and we spilt the ball – this was partly due the wet but at times we uncharacteristically threw the ball away putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves and letting the bigger units from Lasswade hammer into us on the backfoot.
Following a restart from one of the Lasswade tries, we lost Daniel to suspected sprained knee. This was a big blow, particularly as we needed both size and experience on the pitch. However we shuffled the deck a little and ploughed on.
In the later parts of the first half we began to come into our own and brought some structure to our game. Some rumbles up the middle from our forwards – based on the pod play we had practiced in training – meant that we sucked in the larger units amongst the Lasswade defence. This gave space out wide which we then exploited. From one of these moves, the ball came to Ewan who rounded the Lasswade defence and touched down near the touchline.
The half time break was a chance to take stock and think about what was needed. Turning on the power within our own forwards was going help as well as countering Lasswade’s heavy traffic in the middle of the pitch. Joe switched from fly half to scrum half, Thomas shifted sideways to fly half and Max stood in at the 13 channel. This gave us more ball playing ability further out wide. This soon showed and some nice passing moves saw both Max and Scott drawing their man with some well-timed passing to release Angus on some swerving and aggressive runs from the wing.
Then disaster struct and Fraser W was forced off with a sore arm. This left us bereft of our two largest and aggressive runners. Cameron slotted into the front row alongside Connor with Angus T took on the unenviable position of hooker taking on the brunt of the vice like Lasswade front row. All three did an amazing job despite their lack of experience in these positions and the pressure they were put under. Indeed for Connor and Cameron to play the full game (or almost all of it in Cameron’s case) was simply incredible given that they have only being playing rugby for a matter of weeks.
Next saw Elliot leave the field which meant we lost another of our giant slayer tacklers. We knew were going to be in for a tough final 15 minutes of the game. But our team- play and fighting spirit showed through.
Following a Lasswade try, Ewan repeated his feat from Stewarts Melville by catching the ball in his own 22 from the kick off, looking up and rounding the defence to touch the ball down for a try. Not wanting to be left off the score sheet, Thomas got in on the action. From a ruck outside their 22 the ball came to Chris who set off on one off his recognisable gallops but across the pitch. “Run straight” came the cry from the crowd but Chris knew better and found space before charging forwards. From a scrum just after this Thomas crashed over, put simply, nothing was going to stop him.
Our final try came from another move where we got the ball wide following a turnover and again Ewan found himself in the right place at the right time. He took off down the right hand side with Angus C in such close support that they almost tripled over each other. But this close support played off as the Lasswade defenders covered and Ewan found himself felled before the line and Angus C collected the ball and scored.
The boys should be pleased with their performance. It showed a lot of heart and team spirit. Even as we lost key players to injury. Everyone should be very proud – particularly as we are seeing the best laid plans in training starting to bear fruit on the pitch.
Strong tackling was evident across the team, particularly from Hugh – who at full back was kept busy and often had the sense to come into the line to help contain the larger Lasswade backs – also from Alfie – as he switched from the wing to a more familiar position at wing forward. However the accolade for highest number of tackles must go to Thomas who was quite simply relentless and never gave up. He was an example to the rest of us. Tom and Elliot also put in their usual hard shift in the rucks. Often this work goes unnoticed but not this week.
Man of the match this week has to Ewan this week. His three tries kept us in the game and he was often the first person in the ruck looking for that turn over. But more importantly this was a team game with the boys knowing that sticking together was the only way to get Lasswade on the back foot and for the scores to follow.
S1s Remain Unbeaten in Conference Matches
Linlithgow 41 – 12 Lasswade
Match report by Stuart Ritchie
The S1 team were delighted to be able to play at Mains Park on Saturday morning against Lasswade in the U13 conference. Both squads had strong playing numbers and conditions were good.
Linlithgow started strongly from the outset with James scoring a try almost directly from kick-off. Linlithgow continued the good form with a further try shortly after with a with good team move with plenty of ball through the hands with Blair scoring in the corner and Euan converting excellently.
Lasswade were very well organised in defence and even on the ‘ big pitch’ we were unable to get our flying wingers space on the flanks but the team showed adventure in trying to play an expansive game.
Linlithgow finished the first third with a further try from James whose strong running was too much for the Lasswade defence. Archie converted to make it 19-0 to Linlithgow.
We started the second third strongly with a great finish from Blair following a lovely looping pass from Archie. The same move nearly resulted in a second try but an excellent defensive tackle stopped the score.
Lasswade fought back to get a try on the board which was superbly converted. Fergus crossed the line for the teams fifth try and we were 29-7 up at the end of the 2nd third.
The talk at the break was about staying switched on and not becoming complacent. This must have been ringing in the players ears as Lasswade scored almost immediately! However we regained composure with James completing his hat-trick and Marshall weaving through the defence to get our final score, which was converted by Fergus.
Final score 41-12. Another good team performance and still unbeaten in the conference!
As always there were things we can take to training; taking conversions nearer the posts, cutting out the loose passes, ensuring we support runners, and maintaining good body positions in the ruck and tackle. There were many more positives with a real attempt at playing an expansive game with passing down the line, which on a different day would have been 2-3 more tries.
We had our largest ever playing squad (22 players) with everyone getting game time. Congratulations to Harry on his first game for the Reds and special mention to Ali and Zac N who had their best games of the season so far and to Rory who was commended by the coaching team for his leadership. Well done to our refs too!