The 2As went into their Saturday fixture hoping to set a marker after two disappointing defeats, however, they were out played by a talented Marr 3rd XV. The 2As set off for Ayshire slightly earlier than usual at the request of a 1:30pm by Marr RFC – however, kick off was delayed to closer to 1:50pm as Marr were late to show.
Andy Bolster, utility back, marked a return to Hills starting at scrum half after heading out to New Zealand for the Lions tour, only to find out he was 6 months too late. Don’t worry though he took plenty of selfies and fell off a bridge with a helmet cam. Sean Smith was also making a return after a friendly fixture at his former club (Clydebank RFC) ended in a nasty ankle injury. Yet more returns, this time Dr David Webster (congratulations on passing your VIVA) and Jake Hayden returning to his usual role at centre. Last, but not least. Fergus Denton returns from suspension after receiving a red card in the early year success against Accies reserves.
Back to business – the team began their warm up familiarising themselves with the 3G surface and enjoying some touch, utilising their new found ability to run without running the risk of loosing a boot in the mud! Team Managers and club stalwarts Ian Mclennaghan and Hector MacIntrye then began running the team through their routine. Hector took the back to work on some set pieces while Ian and Sean worked the forward through their lineouts and drills. The team came together for their team runs, which ran with ease that the team were pumped and ready to go, high on confidence. However, kick off was then delayed by 20 mins.
It was remarked at how pivotal the strong winds would play in the first 40 minutes, noting that starting with the ball and playing down wind would set the foundations for a victory. Fergus Denton, Captain for the day, lost the toss and Marr opted to play down wind. Marr immediately put the wind to their advantage and ran in a few tries with their 7 and 8 catching the attention of all Hills attendees with the sharp running, physicality and strategy. Tragedy then struck after a string on high tackles by Marr led to Jake Hayden having to leave the pitch and be taken to hospital by Hector (rumour has it that he is a nurse and his wife is an engineer) our would be ambulance driver – to later find he had sustained a broken nose. The ball struggled to make it through the hands in the loose with the wind playing havoc on any kind of open play. Marr were unrelenting with their kicking game. Blair Johnston, fullback, made a great run from a retrieved kick, making a good 40 metres before another high tackle left him being taken off the pitch due to a concussion worry – he was replaced by Sean Smith. The referee did not reach for his pocket, but would soon be forced to do so minutes before half time for yet another high tackle by Marr. Peter Davidson, wing, was subbed for William Murphy shortly after the showing of card. Grant Payne then sustained a big hit, landing on the firm 3G and injuring his back, he continued on until half time where he was subbed off for Graeme Cannell who went to outside centre with NIck Watson moving to flanker.
Half time and Hills were down 28-0. Despite a well functioning scrum, the pressure set by Marr and the wind battered the squad.
Hills hoped the change in playing direction (now with the wind) would also change their fortunes. Sadly this wasn’t the case, Marr’s forward continued to carry well and their backs made a nuisance of themselves. Soon a try followed, without conversion, and Hills were on the back foot. Toby came off the wing in place of Iain Stewart. Marr continued to press and another 2 tries followed soon after. Grant Payne returned to the field to sure up the leaky wing, soon after Nick Watson made an inspired run, carving up Marr and dotting down between the cross. Bolster made sure not to miss this one like the Lions tour and slotted it between the post – shortly after the referee called time on Hills windy and down trodden day out.
Marr RFC 3XV 47 – HJRFC 2AXV 7
Report: Grant Payne
Photo: Courtesy of www.marrrugby.com