Hillhead/Jordanhill 24 points Perthshire 15 points
This was a closely contested game against a tenacious hardworking Perthshire side, who would feel justifiably aggrieved that they left the field without a bonus point which their play deserved. As it was, the Hills outscored their visitors by four tries to two, and enjoyed the bulk of the territorial possession, but could not finish as often as their lead up play would have suggested.
Hills had to thank again their scrummage, who collectively were technically superior to a much bigger and heavier Perthshire pack, for some go forward ball ; but their line out stuttered badly throughout the whole game, and was a far from reliable source of first phase possession. The fine line kicking of stand –off, Rory “Finn” Harte, which regularly produced gains of some fifty metres from penalties, was not followed with the retention of possession to allow the Hills to build continuity via repeated phases of play. The Hills therefore had to rely on quick thinking of Rory Harte and the finishing skills and twinkling feet of Arnaud Bauchet on the right wing to make progress, despite the fact both centres, Scott Halliday and Robbie Williamson, ran hard.
Rory Harte linked well from short range with his captain, Owen Gemmell, to score his first try which he converted. Hills’s second try came from his inch perfect kick in open play from left of the posts to the open wing, where Arnaud Bauchet caught the ball and plunged over the line: a wonderful piece of skill from the Hills no.10. Hills third try was franked by Bauchet’s Gallic trickery where he mesmerised the visiting defence to touch down.
Perthshire, for their part, when they put pressure on the home defence, scored two fine tries of their own when playing down hill and reached the half time whistle only five points adrift from the Hills. The second half was altogether a much dourer affair than the first with neither side being able to prise open their opponents, although the visitors edged closer with a well struck Bowater penalty. It took Hills well into the final quarter of the game to make sure of victory when Rory Harte pounced on a Perthshire mistake when they suicidally tried to run from within the shadow of their own posts only to lose the ball. Harte’s conversion took his side nine points ahead with only five minutes left, and despite the visitors valiant efforts they were unable to get closer for a losing bonus point. Unfortunately in the last frantic few minutes Hills no.8, Ryan Reilly received his second yellow card of the game and his presence on the field may well now be restricted for a few weeks.
This was Hills third consecutive National league win, a feat which the Club have not managed since season 2009-2010 when they were promoted from the “old” Premier 3 division. Their next game is in the far South West at the Bladnock pitches of Newton Stewart. Four in a row is possible but all components of Hills game will require to be in good order to prosper at this difficult venue.
Hills 1st XV: Ciaran Callaghan, Arnaud Bauchet, Robbie Williamson, Scott Halliday, Jamie Maddox, Rory Harte, Darren Knox (James Reekie), Mark Barrowman, Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Blair Mackenzie (Ross Fergusson), James Acheson, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson (Martin Malone), Ryan Reilly, Owen Gemmell (C) Subs all used.