Improved Performance Doesn’t Shake League Points from Highland

Hillhead Jordanhill 17 pts Highland 28 pts

Coming off a sixty point thumping at New Anniesland the previous Saturday, the Hills supporters could have been forgiven for a lack of enthusiasm for their team’s chances against the high flying Highland, but by the end of an enthralling contest they adjourned to the warmth of the Clubhouse in better spirits, although they had seen their side defeated by twenty eight points, four goals, to seventeen, two goals and a penalty goal.

Hills struggled all day to contain the visiting forwards’ driving maul which was well orchestrated and rumbled mercilessly and uncontrollably on, and paved the way to Highland’s opening two scores. For their part, Hills looked good in breakaway from their talented midfield backs, Euan Brown and Rory Harte, and it was from the former’s mazy run through the Highland defence that led to the first home score. Quick possession from a ruck in the visiting twenty two allowed the fleet footed, Arnaud Bauchet, to scamper across the line for a try which Brown converted to take the score to fourteen points to seven for Highland at half time.

The third quarter saw Hills in a more aggressive mode with no.8 and captain Owen Gemmell, powerful in ball carrying chores and Conor Ferguson proving a reliable source of line out ball. Euan Brown banged over a forty meter penalty goal, but the Hills were unable to profit from meandering break outs by Rory Harte. The visitors showed their opponents how, with a patient build up, it is possible to score tries by working their way up the field collectively to touch down to the left of the posts.

Highland were now twenty one points to ten up with the game is its final quarter, but the Hills had not given up and scored the try of the day. Its genesis lay in Rory Harte’s quick thinking and wonderfully long spun pass to the left flank where Owen Gemmell and Jamie Maddox made impressive yards. Quick ball from the breakdown allowed Euan Brown to copy Harte’s sleight of hand by spin passing some twenty metres to his right to find the quicksilver Arnaud Bauchet in space to run over unopposed to dot down his second try of the afternoon and his fourth National league try in two games. Brown’s successful touch line conversion brought the scores to within four points with ten minutes left. But the denouement saw Hills at their lowest in the game. Failure to secure loose ball allowed Highland to move quickly up the field to score a converted try but there was still time left to draw closer to gain a well deserved losing bonus point. Chances presented themselves a plenty to score, but poorish execution and a lack of patience to grind through the hard yards cost Hills dear at the conclusion of what had been a fine advert from both teams for National League rugby.

Weather permitting, Hills now travel to the Clelland estate to play Dalziel next Saturday the 20th January, kick off is at 14.00.

Hills 1st XV :  Jimmy Griffith, Matt Murray, Arnaud Bauchet, Rory Harte, Graham Davidson (James Maddox), Euan Brown, Dan Williams, Ross Jackson (Mark Barrowman), Harry Perston (Harry Singh) Maurice Adams, James Acheson, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell(C), Alex Armstrong (Charlie Smillie), Subs all used.