Category: All Club News

HillJills’ Relentless Display

Hillhead/Jordanhill 64 Murrayfield Wanderers 5

For anyone not attending the game at Hughenden on Sunday 8th of October, the final score would indicate a one-sided game. The reality, however, for the sizeable crowd who were entertained for the full eighty minutes was of a Wandies side who ran, tackled hard and never gave up but were ultimately overwhelmed by the Hilljills squad who all played as if their lives depended on defeating their long time domestic rivals from Edinburgh. For the record, the Hilljills scored ten tries with seven converted with Wandies touching down in the first half.

The early injury to stand-off, Sarah Smith, might have upset some sides but it seemed to galvanise Louise McMillan and her squad who wasted no time in running at the opposition, offloading and always seeking to use the ball in the wider channels. Coaches Thomas Davidson, Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov must have been delighted to see how well the ball was passed and this incessant pressure ultimately produced gaps in the visitors’ defence which were quickly exploited by the ruthless Hilljills. First half tries came from Nicole Pike, Louise McMillan, Abi Evans and Amanda Moore with full back Amanda converting two. Wandies scored their only try in a rare break out in this half. Six further tries were recorded in the second forty minutes with Louise McMillan adding a further four (five in total-outstanding), her sister Siobhan with one and Abi Evans crossing for her second. Five of these were converted.

In what was a wonderful team performance it would be invidious to pick out any individuals for special mention but it would be remiss not to mention one or two of the home squad. Discretion might persuade the report not to use the term “veteran” but returning scrum half Rachael Whyte on her contribution to the squad reminded all watching of her distribution skills; second rower Jenny Johnston set up go forward ball to very good effect and tight head prop, Heather Lockhart, displayed all the skills which her long career in the women’s game have honed. Birthday girl Aimee Watson did everything but score a try such was her determination to be involved in everything that was good about her side’s performance.

Hilljills now remain unbeaten after their first six league games. A wonderful afternoon of women’s rugby completing a great weekend for the club with 4 wins from 4 for the men’s and women’s senior teams over the weekend.

Hillhead/Jordanhill 64 Murrayfield Wanderers 5
Scorers: Tries-Louise McMillan 5, Abi Evans 2, Nicole Pike, Siobhan McMillan and Amanda Moore
Conversions-Amanda Moore 7

Hillhead/Jordanhill Squad: Siobhan McMillan, Lindsey Smith, Heather Lockhart, Georgie Keys, Jemmy Johnston, Hannah Telling. Kirsty McConnell, Louise McMillan (c), Rachael Whyte, Sarah Smith, Nicole Pike, Abi Evans, Andrea Gaffney, Aimee Watson, Amanda Moore, Marta Estelles Chaparro, Stella Kyalikunda, Fiona Dorman, Emma Barlow, Hannah McHugh.

More photographs by the excellent @craigwatsonpix HERE

The remaining fixture in Premier League Round 1 before the split is away against Ayr on Sunday 22nd October.

Hills Dim the Northern Lights

Gordonians 27 points Hillhead/Jordanhill 31 points

This was a tremendous advert for National League 3 rugby, played on the well manicured open spaces of Countesswells in Aberdeen. It could be described fairly as a classic game of two halves, with Hills, initially playing with the breeze, racing to a twenty-four to ten points margin at halftime, and then defending desperately in the final quarter, as Gordonians fought their way back from a thirty-one points to ten score line after fifty minutes to take it to the wire at no side in this enervating watch. The four points margin of Hills success came down to one fact : Rory Harte, who enjoyed a commanding game for Hills in the pivot slot, kicked all his conversions while Gordonian’s left sided goal kicker failed narrowly from the extreme left side pitch positions where his forwards had heaved themselves over the line.

Both sides expressed their attacking intent from the start with the ball being moved into the open field, and it took a tremendous tackle from Hills no 8, Ryan Reilly, to present the visitors with their first opportunity. The ball, dislodged from the tackle, was scooped up by Rory Harte who hared for the try line some eighty metres distant, and just made it to touch down between the posts. The conversion from in front of the posts just staggered across the crossbar, but the stand off’s second kick, a penalty from thirty metres out, was more convincing and Hills were up and running, the tiredness of their bus journey behind them. Left winger, Ciaran Callaghan, finished well from fifteen metres – his fourth National League try in three games – and Rory Harte benefitted from some unusual Aberdonian generosity when he was passed the ball by a Gordonian in open space. The quick thinking stand-off required no further invitation, and he raced in unopposed to touch down for his second try of the game. Both these tries were converted, and Hills had a healthy half time lead.

This was extended in the third quarter when open side wing forward, Conor Ferguson, plunged over from close range with Harte again adding his goal points. But from then, the whole momentum of the game changed. Hills were clearly disrupted by injuries – Blair Mackenzie left with leg damage, Captain Owen Gemmell experienced shoulder issues and scrum half Conor Duignan, who had a fine all round game, was concussed. Gordonians wisely played a territorial game based on thunderous clearances from their own half into the Hills twenty two. These disruptions caused Hills to lose their way on the touchline and Gordonians were ruthless in driving the lineout maul which, when stopped, allowed their front row to showcase their pick and drive drills. Trying hard to play the game in the Gordonians half, the Hills just managed to hold on for the final fifteen minutes to record a famous away win. This was a fine performance by the nineteen who travelled, and enjoyed thoroughly by the small group of supporters and much more widely by the Hills diaspora via social media.

Hills now play Perthshire at home on Saturday the 14th with a 15.00 KO. There is the pre-match lunch with tickets via events@hjrfc.com . It is hoped this recent return to form will generate a good support. A close game is in prospect with Perthshire also showing some good form.

Hills 1st XV Scott Busby, Darren Knox (Arnaud Bauchet), Robbie Williamson, Scott Halliday, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Conor Duignan (Darren Knox), Ross Jackson (Blair Mackenzie), Blair Mackenzie (Harry Singh), Mark Barrowman, James Acheson (Chris Warnock), Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson, Ryan Reilly, Owen Gemmell (C) (Scott McMillan) Subs all used.

2XV Take 5 Points from Physical Encounter

Hills 2nd XV emerge victorious with 5 point after physical encounter away to Carrick 2nd XV. In a match that had two red cards and one penalty try it would be fair to say there were some fiery moments. Hills kept there cool and saved all their tries for the second half to win 31 points to 7.

The first half had no scores but plenty of action for the medium sized crowd to enjoy. Carrick brought a physical game plan which was met with equally strong defence. Big tackles close to fringes from Charlie Smillie and captain James Reekie stifled Carrick’s attacking options. With Hills misfiring at lineout time they were unable to build the pressure on the home team. Before the first half was over Chris Kelly was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle. Unfortunately video technology was not available at Rozelle park as the card was very suprising.

The second half saw the second red card being produced. This time Carrick’s number ten was sent off with 35 minutes or rugby left to play. Then Hills decide to step up a gear. The first try scored by the Graham Davidson, running from deep after a quick turnover. The standoff Angus Lauder converted easily and Hills had their tails up. Hills had now fixed the lineout problems and were playing further up the pitch. A penalty kick thirty meters out cooly sloted by the up and coming number ten built the lead again. The second try was another long range effort. This was scored by substitute Rory Wilson who galloped down the wing untouched to dot down under the posts. Seventeen points in front and Hills turned it on again. Pressuring Carrick’s line the ball found its way to Graham Davidson again who lived up to the name “Bambi” and skipped over to score. The infallible Angus Lauder again added the extras.

Discipline became an issue for both teams in the second half. Both not willing to give an inch. Carrick kicked a penalty to touch to attempt to get some foothold back in the game. After a well set driving lineout was taken down two meters from the line the referee had little choice but to award a penalty try.

With time running out and Hills on the last attack of the game there was a feeling the bonus point would be a bridge too far. Back row Loïs Legendre had other ideas! A sneaky pick and go on the oppositions 22 meter line resulted in the flying French man sliding over the line. Angus was handed another easy kick and the game and maximum points went to the boys from Hughenden Road.

Final score Carrick 7 – Hills 31.

2XV Squad: Darryl Elvin, Callum Kettles, Francisco Gomez Acuña, Charlie Smillie, Graeme Milloy, Loïs Legendre, Sam Bancroft, Hélian Bourrel, James Reekie, Angus Lauder, Graham Davidson, Chris Crome, Ruaraidh Mayes, Padraig Cuthbertson, Gaëtan Boyer, Tom Primrose, Chris Kelly, Rory Wilson, Grahame Cannell.

Coaching: Stuart Irvine, assisted by Ryan Williamson
Report: Stuart Irvine

A Braveheart Victory

Sunday morning saw the Hilljills’ heavies throwback their curtains and jump for rugby joy. A howler had blown in from the Atlantic overnight; rain, wind, and plummeting temperatures would be manifesting swamp conditions at Bridgehaugh. Praise be to the rugby gods – it was a game for the big guns! A prop pummelling, tub thumbing, dirt digesting forward fest!

However, it was not to be…

Hillhead/Jordanhill’s 43-10 victory against Stirling County on Sunday was a testament to every player on the pitch. An enigmatic flow of forward and back plays that eventually saw a plethora of tries across a variety of positions.

It was not a simple start. To the contrary the girls faced their most challenging opposition this year as County instantly showed up with some smart plays off their 9- who made it clear we had a game of rugby on our muddy paws. Almost over-hyped by the challenge, Hilljills took a while to embrace the concept that they would have to set up several patient phases then earn the rights to utilise the weapons that be on the wing.

It was not until the 22nd minute that the experienced Lockhart bowled over her victim and bounced to the try line. Her first of the season!

This eased the pressure and within the next ten minutes Smith (of the Sarah variety) snaked up the blind side in a display of her positional fusion. Smith demonstrated she is more than a pivotal link player and whipped up the side-line like a greyhound at the races. County answered back with fury proving they were not going to be victim to a big score line. They provided a well worked try out on their left wing as a result of a penalty. In previous seasons being scored against could be said to be the Achilles of the team. However, Captain McMillan did not lose her Kilbarchan mojo. She gathered her squaddies under the posts and insisted all would be well if we do not panic, retain composure and play our systems.

Consequently, the prize for composure arrived in the sparkling form of Evans who sliced her defensive line with her sevens inspired side step and raced to the line.

Holding onto the win would require effort. The conditions were now swampesque and the underfoot terrain caused players to look as if they were playing in the black boots era of 90s rugby. Rising to the challenge the forwards put in some big carries led by veteran Lindsay Smith who inspired her pack to carry forward at all costs.

Unfortunately, in their haste, Hilljills’ penalty count was creeping alarmingly high: they began to dive into rucks like salmon in the Spey and tacklers were not being released for love nor toffee. At half time, big constructive words from a small constructed man ensured the team were aware this statistic was indeed real. His motivational rhetoric was gospel and he challenged the girls to abolish this weakness.

To which they rose! The first quarter of this half was perhaps the most aesthetic of rugby Hilljills had displayed this season. At times they looked like they were playing on a dry summer’s day.Cook and Smith at 9/10 proved integral: the brains to the brawn. Smith’s vision set up several stunning plays and Cook’s strikingly skilful handling sent the soap bar wide. Within minutes, Evans was through for her second. The team moved with grace and pace up the field. Ironic- as they had started to look disturbingly similar to the Moto Moto Hippos in scenes from animated movie Madagascar. It was not long before McMillan showed her international flair and picked up a bobbling loose ball, shook free of the nuisance defenders and danced her way to the line.

Stirling again retaliated and were met with Braveheart defence and solid tackling across the board. Most notably in this area was Andrea Gaffney. Unusually, Gaffney was featuring in the centre (in place of the injured, effervescent Hannah Smith) and it was not long before she made herself heard. Time after time Gaffney used her speed to get off the line and knock back her opposite number –all.day.long. It was almost frightening to watch and an incredible effort for a position debut. Similar Tongan style hits from Jennifer Johnson were made as part of an organised defence.

The sixty third minute saw Gaffney take the hit for the team and was sent to the bin for ten minutes following a repeated error at the breakdown.

Later than usual, Hilljills began to look their comfortable selves and pulled away in the latter stages to record a good victory. Their flow only tempered by a yellow card to Ally Cook (the first of her career), who was penalised for not rolling away despite being a distance away- perhaps a case of mistaken number identity!

Squad: Siobhan McMillan, Lindsey Smith, Heather Lockhart, Georgie Keys, Jenny Johnston, Kirsty McConnell, Hannah Telling, Louise McMillan(C), Saran Smith, Ally Cook, Aimee Watson, Abi Evans, Andrea Gaffney, Emma Barlow, Amanda Moore, Marta Estelles Chaparro, Fiona Dorman, Hannah McHugh, Lucy Mills

Hills will face Murrayfield Wanderers at home this weekend where they intend to hold fort.

Next match v Murrayfield Wanderers, Sunday 8th Oct 2pm kick off at Hughenden

Report: Kirsty McConnell

2018 6 Nations Away Game Tickets: ACT NOW!

The application deadline for 2018 RBS 6 Nations Away tickets is less than three weeks away (Friday 20th October), so get your ticket allocation forms in NOW to avoid disappointment.

Scotland travel to Ireland, Wales and Italy for three exciting games in legendary touring locations, and tickets for these games will sell out fast, so don’t miss out!

Apply for your tickets TODAY!! (link opens application form)

McCrea’s and HJRFC Renew Partnership

As announced today, Hillhead Jordanhill RFC are delighted to share the news of the sponsorship renewal from long standing partners McCrea Financial Services.

McCrea’s support throughout the years have benefited rugby development for all our teams at Hughenden. The continuation of this partnership is a fantastic news for all Hills players and supporters.

Hills President Andy Scott commented: ‘I am delighted we are renewing our ongoing partnership with McCreas who have been a great supporter of HJRFC. Everyone at the club is looking forward to developing our relationship further through imaginative activity.’

Freshers: Play Rugby at HJRFC!

New students are welcome to play rugby at Hillhead Jordanhill RFC!

We operate three senior men’s and a women’s team and we welcome all new members. New student members benefit from our special student membership rates along with access to our excellent training facilities and recently refurbished members bar.

Our club has a long association with Glasgow’s colleges and universities, so if you’re new to the city and would like to join an open, friendly and ambitious club, head for the HIlls!

Students are welcome at Hillhead Jordanhill RFC

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

Hills Turn the Corner In New Season

Hillhead/Jordanhill RFC 16pts Ardrossan Accies 8pts

This first round National  Cup win against old foes Ardrossan was one which was  savoured by the many home spectators who packed into the Fraser Stand to shelter from the monsoon weather which saturated the Hughenden turf. For those who would care not to be reminded, it was back in February 2016 when Hills defeated Lasswade ten points to seven at Hawthorndean in NL2 that a win was last enjoyed. This result should therefore provide a welcome tonic to those hardy souls who have continued to support their club during the barren times, and those players who have trudged the highways and byways of Scotland and suffered some twenty six consecutive National league defeats for their troubles.

This first round national league cup tie certainly lacked nothing in feistiness with both sets of forwards tearing into each other at the breakdowns with no quarter given or asked.  Fortunately  “Hills” had the balance of power in the set scrum where loose head  prop Mark Barrowman enjoyed a fine debut and tight head Blair Mackenzie troubled his opposite number.  Chris  Warnock  as front jumper and Ryan Reilly  at the tail also enjoyed a profitable return on the touch line.  Security in first phase possession  therefore allowed the Hills  half backs, Conor Duignan and Rory Harte, to spread the play,  but poor handling on occasion with the greasy ball  was their undoing, and the best periods of play came when stand off Rory Harte kicked long with good follow up from another debut boy, Craig Colvin,    on the left wing. It was a somewhat farcical situation, however, which produced Hills first score. Rory Harte  opted to kick at goal,  but then remembered he had left his kicking tee in the dressing rooms. He then tried to drop  a goal from the mark, but succeeded in shanking it badly to such a devastating effect  that Ardrossan knocked the ball on in their in goal area.    A succession of scrums then produced Hills opening score, when, from good ruck possession, the powerful Owen Gemmell, Hills captain, offloaded to Bill Kenny, debuting in the second row, to touch down in the corner. Some five minutes later, Conor Duignan was first to react when Ardrossan failed to protect a ball heeled from their scrum.  Although Rory Harte was kicking well from hand, his skills  as a goal kicker were kept well hidden, until he finally converted a short range penalty to nudge his side thirteen points  ahead with some thirty  five  minutes played.  Ardrossan, who had been on the back foot for most of the first half and had suffered some bad injuries to two of their forwards, came back into it and pressurised Hills into  conceding  a penalty which the visitors converted. The half time score of thirteen points  to three  was a fair  reflection on the balance of play.

The visitors were now kicking down the Hughenden slope and the game took on a different shape with Ardrossan in the ascendancy. Certainly Harte kicked another penalty goal to take his side thirteen points up, but the story  of the second  half was “Hills” solid defence in the centre with James Reekie and Scott Busby very sound and full back Robbie Williamson a dependable  final line of defence. Although tiredness set in, the bench came to the rescue  and “Hills ”managed  to halt several promising  Ardrossan attacks particularly out wide. But the visitors  deserved  their score after seventy four minutes and it could hardly be described as a consolation, such was their endeavour and contribution to a fast flowing second half.

The game then finished with “Hills” victors by sixteen points to eight. There was no dancing  in the streets of Hughenden after this result,  but a quiet determination among the players and new coaches, Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall,  that the result will be the catalyst for a rebuilding process of the Club at Hughenden.

“Hlls” 1st XV – Robbie Williamson, Jamie Maddox, (Graham Davidson), Scott Busby, James Reekie, Craig Colvin, Rory Harte, Conor Duignan, (Matt Murray), Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston, Blair Mackenzie, (Maurice Adams), Chris Warnock, Bill Kenny, Owen Gemmell(C), (Jonny Kinniburgh), Ryan Reilly and Conor Fergusson (Conor Duignan)

Bernie Mitchell

Hilljills Appoint New Coaching Team

Hillhead/Jordanhill RFC are proud to announce the appointment of a new women’s coaching team for season 2017/18. Thomas Davidson has taken up the helm alongside assistant coaches Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov.

Thomas Davidson was the Head Coach for Jordanhill School for season 2016/17 and is currently the Head Coach for the BT Academy Glasgow North U16. Thomas ordinarily plays for Cartha QP RFC however he is unable to play this season due to injury.

Morgan Martin, who hails from Lanarkshire, has previously coached women’s rugby abroad, most notably in Australia. His last role was Assistant Coach to the NSW State Junior Women. He is currently playing 1st XV rugby for Hamilton RFC.

Tonci Buzov is the current Head Coach for Strathclyde University Men and is also a junior boys’ coach at Whitecraigs RFC. He is a Croatian International and is in the process of obtaining a degree in rugby coaching. He was the Hills Men’s 1st XV Captain for season 2015/16.

Fiona Dorman, Vice President for Women’s Rugby, said, “These are really exciting appointments for us as a club. All three of the coaches have played for Hills in the past and it is pleasing to have them come back home to Hughenden. The women will shortly begin a dedicated strength and conditioning programme to supplement their Wednesday and Thursday nights’ training. We aim to have the most comprehensive and supportive club programme for women’s rugby in Scotland.”

Pre-season for the junior girls and women started on 26 July 2017. Training will be on Wednesday and Thursday nights at Hughenden (Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, Glasgow, G12 9XP).

Training for the junior girls commences at 5:30pm and the women’s training commences at 7pm- all welcome. Pre-season fixtures are still to be announced.

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