Category: Men’s 1st XV News

A Strong Second Half and a Bonus Point

After forty minutes of this game played in the wide open undulating space of the Inverness High School pitch – Highland open their new Canal Park facility soon – the Hills found themselves forty points to seven adrift and looking at the wrong end of a severe hiding. Matters quickly righted themselves, however, in a much better second forty minutes with Hills responding in fine fashion by scoring five tries, four of which were converted to put a much better shine on the outcome. Hills therefore gathered their first point of the 2017 /2018 league programme with their try bonus point.

One reason for the half time differential was the overhead conditions with a stiff wind blowing down the pitch which Highland used to their considerable advantage by kicking high and wide from penalties and first phase possession to the corners from where their physical pack outmauled the lighter Hills pack. Additionally the Hills took far too long to raise the intensity of their game, based on quick recycling, and allowed Highland to boss the proceedings for most of the first half. When Hills did take it to their hosts, they did not look too convincing with stand off Rory Harte inspiring his team and the thin travelling support by dancing over a for a fine try which he converted.

The second half finally allowed Hills to reveal some of their running skills and understanding of the coaches game plan, when they found the intensity required in the adversity of the half time score. Offloading at speed coupled with close backing up produced tries for Scott McMillan and Rory Harte, while in the wider left wing channel, youngster Ciaran Callaghan showed good finishing instincts by touching down twice. Hills,however, did not get full marks for their second half showing, as poor game management when “Highland” had fourteen men – the home team had two players yellow carded on separate occasions – let them in for two soft tries. A more focused performance for the full eighty minutes would have produced a much closer final scoreline. But all associated with the Hills, committee, players and supporters, should take considerable comfort from the second forty minutes played in Inverness, and hope that form can be taken forward to the next few games.

Next Saturday the 30th September finds Hills playing at home against their rivals from Lanarkshire, Dalziel, in game 5 of the NL3 programme. Kick off at Hughenden is 15:00. Please try to support the club in what will be a tight, tense game.

Highland 50pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 33pts

Hills 1st XV Squad: Craig Colvin, Jamie Maddox, Scott Busby(C), Scott Halliday, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Graham Morton (Darren Knox), Ross Jackson (Blair Mackenzie), Harry Perston (Harry Singh) Maurice Adams, Jonny Kinniburgh, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson (Martin Malone), Ryan Reilly and Scott McMillan

Next Saturday the 30th September finds Hills playing at home against their rivals from Lanarkshire, Dalziel, in game 5 of the NL3 programme. Kick off at Hughenden is 15.00. Please try to support the club in what will be a tight, tense game

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.’

West End Derby First Leg to Accies

Hillhead/Jordanhill 15pts Glasgow Academicals 25pts

The minute’s silence to mark the sad passing of former “Accie” and “Hawk” Steve Begley had been dutifully observed by the goodish crowd for this west end derby game before hostilities broke out on the field.

The visitors came at the Hills with such attacking fury that referee Rab McHendry was required to penalise four separate home players in the first five minutes for defensive transgressions. Accies were rewarded for their opening burst with a well struck penalty goal, but then the game settled down to a format which lasted for the rest of the fixture:  Accies with their attacking flair trying to play a high octane game but being compromised ultimately by poorish final handling, while Hills adopted a much more pragmatic approach via limited movement of first phase ball and quick recycling. Their main attacking weapon was left winger, Jimmy Griffith, whose explosive pace and power, was Hills principal attacking force all game. The Hills had the bulk of territorial pressure in the first half and second rower, Bill Kenny, scored a fine try by running in unopposed from the twenty two after dummying everyone including his own team. Rory Harte converted and were looking good for their seven points to three lead but a lapse of concentration on the stroke of half time allowed Accies their way back with an unconverted try to lead by the one point at the interval.

The next score would be critical to the final outcome and it went the way of the visitors who now had an eight point lead. But stirring, driving play from both Hills second rowers, Bill Kenny and Chris “Warlock” Warnock, brought the home team back into it with a good penalty goal from Rory Harte. But injuries to Conor Duignan, a harsh carding of Jimmy Griffith for a technical offence and increasing frailty on the touch line with three attacking line outs lost in the opposition twenty two, all conspired to deflate the Hills. Accies attacked as they had done all game and scored two further tries to lead by twenty five points to ten into the final quarter. Hills had their chances, however, with both wingers, Jimmy Griffith and Graham Davidson, prominent in two fast counter attacking individual moves, but neither could be finished with a try. As it was, Hills spirited play kept them going to the final move of the game when Davidson finished off a fine left to right move with a try.  Accies then left Hughenden with five points from this National league 3 fixture, while Hills have yet to gather in any from their first three games.

Next Saturday the 23rd September finds Hills taking to the M9 for a trip to Inverness to play Highland, KO 15.00. The team bus will leave Hughenden at 10.00 prompt.

Hills 1st XV Squad: Scott Busby, Jamie Maddox (Graham Davidson), Robbie Williamson, James Lowry, Jimmy Griffith, Rory Harte, Conor Duignan (Jamie Maddox), Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston, (Blair Mackenzie) Maurice Adams (Ross Jackson), Chris Warnock(C), Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson (Martin Malone), Ryan Reilly and Owen Gemmell.

1st XV Provide Better Performance Despite Loss

Murrayfield Wanderers 57pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 12pts

The casual media observer might see the above and conclude that Hills were once again soundly beaten and any promised resurgence is a mere pipe dream. Well to them and others, this “scribbler” would like to report that quantitatively (re: the scoreline) that would be true, but on evidence viewed from the touchline, it would be unfair. The Wanderers were quite the best, well organised and fit team that the Hills have played since they faced a rampant Marr back in the heady days of Premier 2 rugby. The game was set up for MW with fine overhead playing conditions and underfoot, the lush Murrayfield turf, which allowed for a jet paced game that the Hills fully embraced in counter, but just could not quite contain.

Murrayfield were fast, resourceful, direct and importantly, very experienced. This was a relevant fact given the youthful nature of some of the Hills squad, yet the visitors kept their defensive formation and line speed, tackled hard throughout and when able, took the game to the opposition. Specific mention should be made of the rumbustious wing play of Jimmy Griffiths and the driving play in the loose of Chris “Warlock” Warnock, the captain for the night who set a fine example. Another player to catch the eye was last season’s Jordanhill School boy, Ciaran Callaghan, who showed good footballing skills throughout, converting Mo Adams short range try from the left hand touch line. This was no mean feat for a left sided player. He also scored a last minute try for Hills when Murrayfield had been reduced to thirteen players.

Although the half time score was 31-0 to the home side, there was never any chance of a capitulation or rout, since the Hills spirit in the squad kept them going well throughout, and indeed the second half score line of 26-12 speaks well of their resilience and resolve in the face of significant odds. This was some game, and a hard shift for all the visiting squad. One player remarked: “Last week’s game against St. Boswells was a stroll in the park compared to this.”

Next Saturday at Hughenden there is the only Glasgow derby in National League 3 when Hills play their old rivals Glasgow Accies, with a 15:00 KO. The Hills are worthy of support. There is a pre-match lunch at 13:00 for 13:15 and all are invited. To book a place please contact us at

Hills 1st XV Squad: Craig Colvin (Ciaran Callaghan), Ciaran Callaghan (Jonny Kinniburgh), Scott Busby, James Lowry, Jimmy Griffith (Conor Duignan), Robbie Williamson, Conor Duignan (Darren Knox), Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston, Blair Mackenzie (Maurice Adams), Chris Warnock (C), Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson, Ryan Reilly (Jonny Kinniburgh) and Scott McMillan.

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

Match Preview: Hillhead Jordanhill RFC Vs. Ardrossan Academicals RFC

KO 7:45pm at the Hillhead Sports Club, Friday 25th August 2017

In a repeat of last year’s opening cup tie, Ardrossan Academicals RFC travel up to Glasgow to take on Hillhead Jordanhill RFC in the opening round of the BT Cup.

Last year’s game was a tense affair with Hills struggling to integrate new coaches and new playing systems. In the end, Ardrossan ran out 24-17 winners to claim victory in a match that could have gone either way.

However, this year feels different.

The Hills have enjoyed a full pre-season under new coaches Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall. Fitness and skills are both up on where they were last year and the team has returned to a simpler, fast-flowing brand of rugby.

Returning players will remember last year’s cup game well and know that the result stood on a knife edge. A single moment of Rory Harte magic or a lone break from Owen Gemmell could have changed the momentum — and the result — of the match.


Head to Head

During the 2016/17 season, Hillhead Jordanhill and Ardrossan Accies met a total of three times — twice in the league and once in the cup.

Ardrossan ran out winners in all three fixtures.

However, it’s worth noting that two of Ardrossan’s wins came by one score or less. The opening cup game ended 24 points to 17 and the league fixture finished at 13 points to 7. Both games were there to be won.


Team Announcement

Official team announcement by Thursday 24th August.


Match Details

🏉 Hillhead Jordanhill RFC Vs. Ardrossan Academicals RFC

🏆 BT Cup

📍 Hillhead Sports Club

🗓 25th August

🕐 7:45pm

💌 RSVP on Facebook

Fire Starter

Hills ignite new season with a strong first pre-season session

Last night was a perfect Scottish summer evening to start preparation for the new season. 56 senior players attended the club’s first session to prepare for Season 2017-18 and many faces are still to appear. Players were welcomed with a Mo’Farah fitness test to measure everyone’ work baseline; followed by an intense session including fitness work, skills development and a lot of game action. Overall a good effort in a great atmosphere.

Dean Kelbrick commented: “there was a huge effort from everyone, which was good to see. It gives us a benchmark as to how we want to work on our development this season” and added “The club fields 3 male and 1 female senior team through the season, so it’s great to see that we have started with this kind of turnout”

Pre-season for seniors will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 18:45 sharp, with Saturday sessions from the 29th July (Club’s Day) and pre-season fixtures on the 5th and 12th of August.


Hills Stumble to Defeat in Last Home Game

Hillhead/Jordanhill 15 pts West of Scotland 39 pts

On a wonderfully sunny and warm day for flowing rugby, this was a disappointing outcome to end “Hills” home fixtures in National league 2 for season 2016/2017. As in previous games, there were periods when “Hills” won good first phase possession, retained the ball and worked through the phases to gain territorial advantage. But on too many occasions, visitors West were able to make easy inroads through the home defence to score some relatively straightforward  tries.

“Hills” had a good first quarter initially containing a lively opening from their visitors and then working their way forward for second rower, Calum Stove, to burst through from twenty five metres to score an unconverted try. This stung West into action and they quickly rattled on three tries by utilising quick passing to and fro across the field to exploit gaps in the home defensive line. But the livewire Ross Thomson at scrum half for the “Hills” made a fine individual break from some thirty metres out to score just to the left of the posts to bring “Hills” closer to their visitors. Unfortunately Darren Knox’s conversion was charged down, leaving the half time score seventeen points to ten in West’s favour.

For the first ten minutes of the third quarter, West looked as if they were going to overwhelm “Hills” by adding another two tries. It was left again however, to scrum half Ross Thompson to shake the “Hills” out of their second half torpor by breaking well from his own half, evading several defenders and then passing onto centre Scott Halliday who made good ground to the West try line where he was tackled despairingly; but just managed to get the ball away to Chris Tulloch who supported well to touch down. That took “Hills” to fifteen points to West’s twenty nine and, for a moment, the home support felt they were back in the hunt. But that was illusory, and West then took full advantage of “Hills” mistakes and poor defensive efforts to add a further uncontested ten points to finish deserved winners by thirty nine points to fifteen.

All of the “Hills” squad can be commended for their hard work and effort to keep going for another eighty minutes of ultimately unrewarding rugby. If there had been a “Hills” man of the match, it would have been awarded to left winger Jamie Maddox, who enjoyed an exemplary afternoon both in defence and attack.

“Hills” conclude Season 2016/2017 with an away fixture at Memorial field, Ardrossan, on Saturday the 1st April. Kick off is 15.00. All supporters very welcome.

“Hills” 1st XV – Darren Knox, Dan Williams, Scott Busby (Graham Davidson), Scott Halliday, Jamie Maddox, Rory Harte, Ross Thomson, Ryan Williamson (Jonny Urquhart), Harry Perston, George Stephenson (Blair Mackenzie), Alec Cameron (Chris Tulloch), Callum Stove, Owen Gemmell (C), Harry Cordner, Ryan Reilly (Alec Cameron). All subs used.

Bernie Mitchell