Hills Fall Away After Bright Opening

A bright opening quarter from “Hills”, playing down the Hughenden slope, promised much given the quality scrummage possession their front row produced, but lack of composure close to the St. Boswells try line was to cost the home side dearly. As it was, the visitors stole away upfield and, in one of the their few visits to the “Hills “ twenty two, picked and drove with good effect to score near the posts to allow an easy conversion. To their credit, under the forceful direction of captain Owen Gemmell, the “HiIls” came back into it and camped in the visitors danger area. After some “heavy lifting “ and “hard yards” with second rower, Chris Warnock, very prominent, sufficient space was found on the blind side to allow scrum half Conor Duignan to scamper over from close range. The conversion was missed and the lack of a first choice goal kicker was to return later to compromise the “Hills” all round efforts with four kickable penalties being turned down for scrummages. St. Boswells proved adept, however, at turning defence quickly into attack, and their quick thinking stand-off, David Cassidy, found space to fashion a second try for the visitors. The half time score found St. Boswells ahead by twelve points to five, but given the territorial advantage and pressure “Hills” had produced, many felt that the score flattered the visitors.

The third quarter saw the visitors consolidate their lead through a smartly taken drop goal from Cassidy, although “Hills” should have done better when Graham Davidson threatened after a mazy forty metre run. The start of the final quarter found “Hills” pressing hard in the opposition half and, after a series of penalties given against the visitors for transgressions at the breakdown, referee Ramsay stirred himself to issue yellow cards in quick succession to two of the Borderers. “Hills” immediately took advantage by driving over from a close range scrummage, captain Owen Gemmell being credited with the score. But lack of game awareness and an unwillingness to take the option of kicking for the corner to allow their line out to drive and maul, was to prove the “Hills” achilles heel. Poor ball retention handed possession back to St. Boswells and the final few minutes were played in the home half. Any hope of a last hurrah was dashed when home no. 8 Ryan Reilly was yellow carded for persistent offences at the breakdown.

The final outcome was disappointing given the scrummage dominance “Hills” held throughout. But the squad can consider the overall improvements in the intensity of their performance compared to season 2016/2017 as being the basis for taking matters forward in their next few games. “Hills” play next at Murrayfield on FRIDAY the 8th September with a 20.00 KO . The game has been moved as Hearts FC play at the national stadium on the Saturday.

Hillhead/Jordanhill 1st XV 10 points St. Boswells 1st XV 25pts

“Hills” 1st XV – Craig Colvin, Jamie Maddox, James Reekie, Scott Busby (Scott McMillan), Graham Davidson, Robbie Williamson, Conor Duignan, Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston, Blair MacKenzie (Maurice Adams), Chris Warnock, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson (Jonny Kinniburgh), Ryan Reilly, Owen Gemmell (C).

Report by Bernie Mitchell
Photos by Hamish Adamson