Category: The Bunnet

Hills take five valuable points

Hillhead Jordanhill 33 points | Caithness 6 points

IN A MUST-WIN GAME for the home team, Hills responded to poor weather conditions and a stuffy visiting Caithness side to record a fine thirty-three points to six victory and thereby secure five valuable league points in their quest to maintain national league rugby status at Hughenden. The first half found Hills playing up the slope and they were quickly into their stride with captain and full back Craig Colvin showing the way with some excellent broken play running. Bill “The Ballyclare Bruiser” Kenny drove play into the visitors twenty-two where, after three quick recycling activities, Captain Colvin crossed for the opening try with right winger Rory Harte converting.

The dynamic opening, combining hard running with ball in hand and quick repossession from the breakdown, was a prominent feature of Hills play for most of the opening forty minutes and little scope was available to Caithness to counter-attack. When they did, Hills’ first up tackling, particularly around the fringes of the breakdown, was imperious with Alec Cameron the chief defensive enforcer. Scott Halliday added a second close-range try with Rory Harte converting and the mercurial right winger added a third when he ghosted through an all-but-invisible gap in the Caithness defence to score between the posts. The conversion was a formality and Hills were twenty-one points up and seemingly cruising, but Caithness, in a very rare excursion to the Hills’ danger area, opened their score with a well-struck penalty goal on the stroke of half time.

The third quarter saw Hills lose two players to the bin and subsequently assume a siege mentality to keep the visitors out. Once again Hills defended wilfully, but Caithness kicked another penalty goal and tensions began to mount on the field and among the animated home support. The return to a full complement and a change in the shape of the midfield engineered by deputy coach Douglas Grove restored equilibrium. Rory Harte took over the pivotal role at 10 and Jonny Hamilton-Potter added direction to the HIlls attack. The fourth try relied exclusively on Rory Harte’s field craft. An attacking play took the game into the Caithness twenty two when the stand-off looked up, saw a gap in the visitors cover, chipped ahead into the space and beat the defenders to the touch down. His magnificent conversion, across the face of the wind from the right hand touch line, was an impressive further contribution to his personal triumph. Hills then saw out the rest of the final quarter in some degree of comfort. Caithness were by now visibly tiring, and Hills held on to the ball well. Some excellent box kicking from scrum half Alex Gibbons kept the visitors in their twenty-two and from a series of rucks in which replacement Moncere was prominent, Gibbons scored the teams fifth try in the corner.

This game produced the first four try bonus point for Hills since the 16th November, some seven national league fixtures ago. Hills winter of discontent is, however, far from over. Three games remain and the situation is so tight at the foot of NL3 (three clubs are relegated) that two of these three games carry the same significance as this in being must-win fixtures. Hills next game is against ARDROSSAN ACADEMICALS at Memorial Field, Ardrossan, on the 16th March with a 14.00 KO.

Hills 1st XV

15 Craig Colvin (C)

14 Rory Harte (Ash Rajasooriya)

13 Scott Halliday

12 Damien Gennochio (James Hamilton-Potter)

11 Albain De Chaille (Damien Gennochio)

10 Hugo Gesta (Rory Harte)

9 Alex Gibbons

1 Adam Eakin

2 Harry Perston

3 Martyn Low (Mylo Connell)

4 Alec Cameron (Hy Moncere)

5 Bill Kenny

6 Conor Ferguson

7 Scott McMillan

8 Preston McGoldrick

(Subs all used)

HJRFC v West of Scotland 18th Jan 2019

Hills’ struggle to kick-start 2019 continues with West reverse

Hillhead Jordanhill 7 points | West of Scotland 61 points

THIS WAS NOT A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE for either the players or supporters of Hillhead Jordanhill RFC. Three Hills players received head knocks forcing their retirement from the game and one of these, right winger Ash Rajasooriya, required hospitalisation. Happily he was discharged at 18.00 on Saturday evening from hospital but, like his two other colleagues, he is now subject to return to play protocols. Even allowing for all the disruptions to the Hills, local visitors West were stronger in most facets of the game with the only area where Hills achieved any parity being on the touchlines, where lock James Acheson and back-row Conor Ferguson retained all their own ball. West seemed to be able to employ higher gears to spread the play and always seemed able to put men into space on the outside channels which Hills could not cope with.

In a very one-sided first half, West raced to a 34 points lead scoring six tries, one a penalty try, before Rory Harte with a wonderful sense of timing intercepted another West attack to race eighty metres unchallenged to score. A half time margin of 34-7 in favour of West was, frustratingly for Hills, a fair refection of the flow of the game.

In the second half, Hills showed much more spirit with second rower Bill Kenny at the heart of most of the attacking plays. Some continuity of phases was put together but the West defence held firm. It was left to James Hamilton-Potter to show the way across the gain line but his two fine breaks fizzled out due to lack of support. Certainly West had to work a bit harder for their second half tries, but only a myopic Hills supporter could deny the visitors their success in finishing sixty one points to seven ahead.

It is to be hoped that there will be a huge turnaround collectively for the next league game against PERTHSHIRE at the NORTH INCH on SATURDAY 26th JANUARY. Hills are now edging uncomfortably close to the basement trap door to Regional Rugby, which a win next week would help the team avoid.

HJRFC 1XV

# Player Position YC RC T C P DG
15Craig ColvinFull Back  0000
14Ash Rajasooriya 19Wing  0000
13Scott HallidayCentre  0000
12James Hamilton-PotterCentre  0000
11Rory HarteWing  0000
10Hugo GestaFly-half  0000
9Alex GibbonsScrum-half  0000
1Daryll Elvin 17Loosehead prop  0000
2Preston McGoldrick 16Hooker  0000
3Martyn LowTighthead prop  0000
4James AchesonLock  0000
5Bill KennyLock  0000
6Conor FergusonFlanker  0000
8Alec CameronNo. 8  0000
7David Vallance 18Flanker  0000
16Harry Perston 2Hooker  0000
17Adam Eakin 1Prop  0000
18Fergus Denton 7Flanker  0000
19Ciaran Callaghan 14Wing  0000

No shiny start to 2019

Newton Stewart 53 points | Hillhead Jordanhill 7 points

AS FIRST FOOTS in the rural fastness of Bladnoch in Galloway, Hills made little impression on a lively Newton Stewart side in this rearranged National League 3 league game. A half time deficit of twenty four points was exacerbated by a further concession of scores in the second period of play with the visitors conceding nine tries in total in the game. The solitary counter for Hills came from a well worked miss move involving stand off Ewen Brown and centre, Rory Harte, which resulted in Brown scoring and then converting his own try. That took the score to 36 points to 7 in favour of the ‘Sons’. Any hope of a resurgence for the Hills was dashed however, and Newton returned to their fast counter attacking game in the loose to which the visitors had no answer.

Hills play in general matched the grey, cold day in Galloway with only a few bright spots. The scrummage was sound and in fact pushed the Newton pack around, but little could be made of what go forward ball was delivered. Scott McMillan played well as an emergency centre and Craig Colvin tackled well at the back, while Chris Crome was whole hearted in his efforts. Collectively, however, Hills chose the first start in 2019 to produce a well below par performance.

It is to be hoped that there will be a huge turnaround collectively for the next league game against GORDONIANS in ABERDEEN when they visit Counteswells on SATURDAY 12th JANUARY.

HJRFC 1XV

# Player Position YC RC T C P DG
15Craig ColvinFull Back  0000
14Ash RajasooriyaWing  0000
13Rory HarteCentre  0000
12Scott McMillanCentre  0000
11Tiam SahaireWing  0000
10Euan BrownFly-half  0000
9Andy BlairScrum-half  0000
1Ross JacksonLoosehead prop  0000
2Harry PerstonHooker  0000
3Daryll ElvinTighthead prop  0000
4Blair McKenzie 16Lock  0000
5Alec CameronLock  0000
6Bill KennyFlanker  0000
8Conor FergusonNo. 8  0000
7James AchesonFlanker  0000
16Chris Crome 4Lock  0000

Report & Picture: BBM

HJRFC v Haddington - 8th Dec 2018

Hills come good in the final against a game Haddington

Hillhead Jordanhill 24 points | Haddington 10 points

THIS GAME CAME TO LIFE for the home side and players only in the final quarter. at which time a plucky Haddington side had neutralised all that the Hills had thrown at them and had taken a ten points to three lead. The first forty minutes were played in continuous heavy rain and a penalty goal aside was all that troubled the scoreboard operator. Mistakes were aplenty with the greasy ball, but Hills should have made more of quality ball provided by second rower Chris Warnock, which made frequent inroads through the opposition ranks. But quick ball from the breakdown was as elusive as the sight of any of Santa’s reindeer on the adjacent Great Western Road, and the momentum was lost.

The visitors enjoyed a good third quarter when they monopolised all the close quarter ball in Hills half, and deservedly scored a try through their player/coach Kieran Cooney which was converted by their full back Alec Ferguson. Hills were beginning to look ragged and devoid of ideas as to how to break down the visitors defence when serendipity played a key part in the proceedings. The Haddington inside centre suffered a bad knee injury which necessitated his being stretchered off the field. Immediately from the restart scrum Hills no. 12 Johnny Hamilton-Potter scuttled through a gap in the visitors’ defence, straightened his line of running and went in unopposed beneath the posts for a fine individual try. Stand-off Euan Brown converted and, all of a sudden, Hills body language improved. Some sixty seconds later, a speculative kick ahead from Hills flying left winger Ciaran Callaghan was missed at the back by Haddington and back row sub Alec Cameron dribbled the loose ball to the line. Unfortunately in his enthusiasm to score he ran into the post, but the quick thinking Rory Harte pounced to secure the try. Fortunately, Alec Cameron appeared to be none the worse for his impact; the post was also undamaged. Euan Brown kicked the conversion and Hills had now nudged ahead.

The next and final score was a belter, and it was all down to the running speed and determination of the home stand–off, Euan Brown. He ran diagonally to the left wing from his own ten metre line, chipped the opposition and then hacked and chased to the line for a try which had come from nowhere. He himself converted from the left touchline and the score had reached twenty four points to ten, the home XV having added twenty one unanswered points in ten minutes of play. The final five minutes were played out with midfield mauling, which regrettably erupted in some unseasonal pugilism. The outcome was a Hills player saw red, his opponent yellow. This was not the outcome which either side had wanted or indeed any of the spectators had anticipated, as the temper of the game had been very even up till then. Barely a minute later the final whistle was blown, and both sides trooped from the field exchanging handshakes.

By virtue of their final quarter Hills deserved their victory, but Haddington did not play like a side holding up the rest of the table and will be disappointed they took nothing away from this game.

Hills play NEWTON STEWART next at the BLADNOCH in the final game of 2018 on Saturday the 15th December with a 14.00 KO. The team will travel by bus, leaving at 10.30; spectators are welcome.

HJRFC 1XV

# Player Position YC RC T C P DG
15Craig ColvinFull Back  0000
14Damien Genocchio 19Wing  0000
13Rory HarteCentre  0000
12James Hamilton-PotterCentre  0000
11Ciaran CallaghanWing  0000
10Euan BrownFly-half  0000
9Alex GibbonsScrum-half  0000
1Ross JacksonLoosehead prop  0000
2Harry Perston 16Hooker  0000
3Daryll ElvinTighthead prop  0000
4Chris WarnockLock  0000
5Charlie SmillieLock  0000
6Conor FergusonFlanker  0000
8Bill Kenny 17No. 8  0000
7David Vallance 18Flanker  0000
16Harry Singh 2Hooker  0000
17Alec Cameron 8Lock  0000
18Preston McGoldrick 7Flanker  0000
19Ash Rajasooriya 14Wing  0000
SPOT THE BALL AT CARRICK 1st DECEMBER 2018

Disappointing single point outcome in South Ayrshire

Carrick 29 points | Hillhead Jordanhill 22 points

IT IS A TRUSIM that a game of rugby lasts for eighty minutes and that what takes place in the first quarter is not necessarily a perfect indicator of the eventual outcome. Thus it was at Maybole on Saturday where Hills gave the impression they would sweep Carrick aside thanks to their opening burst. Their first phase, both line out and scrum, were secure, and they moved the ball with purpose, scoring a fine try from Rory Harte who ran some seventy metres to score, profiting from a well executed miss move in the centre, initiated by stand-off Euan Brown. The no. 10 converted and then added a penalty to place the Hills ten points ahead after the opening exchanges. Thereafter Carrick came more into the game, proving more powerful at the breakdown, despite some solid defence from all the visiting players. After forty minutes, the home side had edged marginally in front by eighteen points to seventeen. Rory Harte had scored from close range and his try had been converted, but it was still game-on with Carrick having to play into the low sun for the second half.

Injures to loose-head prop Ross Jackson and second row Charlie Smillie shortly after the break necessitated a much earlier introduction of bench replacements than intended; this resulted in disruptions, particularly to the front row. An increasing fragility seeped into the Hills’ second half performance and their first half sparkle faded badly. Certainly a yellow card did not help, but the game fell away into a struggle for territory and good go-forward ball. Hills came out second best on both counts and the score mounted inexorably in favour of Carrick. With one minute left Hills were looking at taking nothing from the game, until some belated continuity play released Chris Warnock on the burst in the home twenty two. His thunderous charge fell just short, but some determined recycling allowed Rory Harte sufficient space to cross the line unopposed for his third try of the afternoon. The fact his conversion fell short was of limited importance, as the losing bonus point had been secured. The final whistle sounded and the Hills players were left to reflect on how a game which had started full of promise ended so disappointingly.

Next up, Hills Men’s 1st XV play HADDINGTON on Saturday 8th December at Hughenden with a 14.30 KO. This game will be played under the main pitch floodlights.

HJRFC 1XV

# Player Position YC RC T C P DG
15Craig ColvinFull Back  0000
14Albain de Chaille 19Wing  0000
13Rory HarteCentre  3210
12James Hamilton-PotterCentre  0000
11Ciaran CallaghanWing  0000
10Euan Brown 18Fly-half  0000
9Alex GibbonsScrum-half  0000
1Ross Jackson 16Loosehead prop  0000
2Harry PerstonHooker  0000
3Daryll ElvinTighthead prop  0000
4Chris WarnockLock  0000
5Charlie Smillie 17Lock  0000
6Preston McGoldrickFlanker  0000
7David VallanceFlanker  0000
8Conor FergusonNo. 8  0000
16Harry Singh 1Hooker  0000
17Alec Cameron 5Lock  0000
18Hugo Gesta 10Fly-half  0000
19Damien Genocchio 14Wing  0000

Honours Even for 2XV at Hughenden

Hillhead Jordanhill 2XV 19 points Hamilton 3XV 19 points

This was a fine advert for West Reserve league 1 rugby with both sides showing a willingness to play running rugby on the very firm surface of the Great Western Road pitch at Hughenden. Hills were given a stirring lead both in the line out and in open play by captain and second rower, Toby Mitchell. who ran himself into the ground for his side’s cause. The home scrum was also dominant throughout, but the Hamilton defence was effective in keeping the Hills attackers at bay for almost all of the first half until Mitchell burst through on a fine line from within the twenty two to score at the posts. Stand off Hugo Gesta converted, but the visitors hit back just before half time with an unconverted try to leave Hills two points to the good at the interval.

Hills piled further ahead in the second half with two further tries, one converted by Gesta. For the first of these, full back Daniel Hespe broke well from deep in his own half, but was pulled down some thirty metres short of the try line. Quick re- possession from the breakdown and fine fingertip passing from the French midfield trio put hooker Callum Kettles into space some five metres out and he plunged over for his score. Hills second score in the half was down to very good continuity rugby from backs and forwards which put open side flanker, Berthomé in the clear some ten metres out and there was no stopping him.

With a fourteen point cushion and play just in the final quarter, Hills relaxed and the stuffy Hamilton side began to win more fifty/fifty ball to press hard in the Hills twenty two. After seventy five minutes, their pack drove hard for the line and scored with the conversion a formality. Hills could not take the play out of their own twenty two, and with the final move of the game, the Hamilton scrum half ran laterally taking the rush defence with him and then reverse passed to his intruding full back who crashed over to score. The visitors’ scrum half piloted the conversion home and fulltime honours were even. Great game for the players, spectators and referee, Neil Wood.

Hills 2nd XV – Daniel Hespe, Callum Weir, Hugo Defienne (Sean Smith), Alban de Chaillé, Anoosha Rajasooriya, Hugo Gesta, Andy Blair (Alex Gibbons), Martyn Low (Michael Sinclair), Euan Ramage (Callum Kettles), Daryll “Kitschoff” Elvin, Toby Mitchell (C), Loïs Legendre, Chris Crome, Chris Brooks (Matthew Pettigrew), Firmin Berthomé. Subs All used

Report & Picture: BBM

Hills Take Five Points from Reduced St. Boswell

Hillhead Jordanhill 52 points St Boswells 24 points

On a fine late autumnal day for running rugby, Hills did sufficient in a blistering first half of running rugby to take the game away from a numerically understrength St. Boswells side.

The visitors started with one short and were then reduced to thirteen after twenty minutes, when one of their second rowers had to leave the field injured. After some forty two minutes, the referee adjudged that Jimmy Griffith, the home right winger, had committed an offence meriting his dismissal, and then after sixty five minutes the visitors lost another player to injury, finishing the game with only twelve on the park. The considerable dislocations in play did nothing for Hills concentration levels in the second half.

Brightest for the Hills in the first half were the irrepressible Rory Harte, playing in the outside centre channel and showing the benefits of a change of pace to score two fine tries, while Jimmy Griffith, when given space on the right wing, blasted over for three tries. Improving second rower, Charlie Smillie, scored from close range with Euan Brown adding a penalty and two conversions. Hills were certainly well worthy of their half time lead of thirty seven points to seven with flanker David Vallance and inside centre, Jonny Hamilton-Potter, both running powerfully when the opportunities arose.

The second period was noteworthy for a display of typical Border grit from the visitors who rallied against the odds to score three fine tries and secure a valuable try bonus point. Hills rather closed down for parts of the second half, but came back to life with some good break out play from their replacement back subs, Alban de Chaillé (2 tries) and Hugo Gesta (one try), who both ran purposefully from midfield to score against a fractured defence.

Hills play next away to Maybole against Carrick on Saturday the 1st December with a 14.00 KO. There is NO game this coming Saturday, the 24th November, as it is the second round of the cup from which Hills were eliminated in the first round.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin (C) , Jimmy Griffith, Rory Harte, Jonathon Hamilton-Potter (Hugo Gesta) , Ciaran Callaghan (Alban de Chaille), Euan Brown , Alex Gibbons , Ross Jackson, Harry Perston, Daryll “Kitschoff” Elvin (Blair Mackenzie), Chris Warnock , Charlie Smillie, Bill Kenny, Scott McMillan (Preston McGoldrick) and David Vallance Subs All use

Report & Picture: BBM

Injuries Mar Hills Home Win

Hillhead Jordanhill 9 points Murrayfield Wanderers 3 points (game abandoned after 74 minutes, Hillhead/Jordanhill win)

This was a gutsy performance from the Hills in a floodlit game, played in atrocious conditions of heavy wind driven rain. Visitors Murrayfield Wanderers had all the momentum in the first quarter playing up the slope towards the clubhouse, but all they had to show for their ascendancy was a short range penalty which cannoned off one of the uprights and was cleared swiftly. From that point, Hills came more into the game, helped by a much improved performance on the touchline from line out jumpers, Charlie Smillie and Chris Warnock. They should have scored a try following a thunderous break from his own twenty two by Jonny Hamilton-Potter, but the opportunity was lost close to the visitors’ try line. Rory Harte, however, allowed his side to have a six point lead at the interval, thanks to two well struck penalty goals.

The pattern of play continued in the second period with Hills having the bulk of territory and possession, but just being unable, on such a foul night, to play sufficient quality wet weather rugby to get across the line. Replacement prop, Ross Jackson, ran well for some fifty metres, but his breakout did not produce a clear try scoring opportunity. The scoring in the second half was restricted to an exchange of penalty goals between the respective kickers, Rory Harte and Alex Godsmark.

The game did, however, produce two long stoppages of play in separate incidents for medical attention to two front row players. Fortunately the Murrayfield Wanderer was eventually able to walk from the field, albeit slowly, to the comfort of the stand. Ross Fergusson, the Hills tight head prop, was less fortunate and had to be stretchered off and taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Everyone, players and supporters, were mightily relieved to learn that the problem was related to serious soft tissue damage and Ross was able to leave hospital on Saturday morning.

Hills play next at home on Saturday the 17th November with a 13.45 KO against St.Boswells from the Borders.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin (Euan Brown), Jimmy Griffith (Craig Colvin), Damien Genocchio, James Hamilton-Potter, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Alex Gibbons, Ross Fergusson, Harry Perston, Daryll Elvin (Ross Jackson), Chris Warnock, Charlie Smillie, Bill Kenny, Scott McMillan and David Vallance. Subs Toby Mitchell

Report and Picture: BBM
Hills Kicks video (below) courtesy of M.Malone, embedded in the supporters crowd

 

No Points at Pickie Park

Orkney 31 points Hillhead Jordanhill 22 points

The turbulence experienced by the Hills party of twenty four, nineteen players and five team management, as they took to the leaden skies above Glasgow in their Loganair scheduled service to Kirkwall on Saturday morning was nothing compared to the battering the forward pack took some three hours later on terra firma at Pickaquoy Park.

Given the prevailing zephyrs, Hills had won the important toss and had chosen to play with the wind at their backs. But the first five minutes were a chastening experience for the Hills, as their pack was rammed backwards in the first three scrums , thereby destroying any momentum they had hoped to gain. The home XV quickly held the upper hand, and made the visitors pay with a well worked move which led to a try close to the posts which was easily converted . Instead of playing the game in the Orkney half, Hills were constantly on the back foot engaged in desperate defence in which captain, Dan Williams, excelled. It was only towards the last ten minutes of the first half that the Hills were able to put any pressure on Orkney. First of all, Euan Brown kicked a thunderous penalty from all of fifty metres. Then Ciaran Callaghan finished very well in the left hand corner on the first occasion Hills managed to recycle quickly with the final pass being exquisitely floated over the centres’ heads by stand off Rory Harte. Hills were ahead eight points to seven at the end of the first half, but the margin was wafer thin considering Orkney now had the best of the conditions.

Sure enough the second half featured waves of attacks from Orkney with Hills striving hard at all times to get out their half. Orkney scored four tries, but charitably they recognised two of these were “own goals” gifted through uncharacteristic errors in the Hills rear-guard. The visitors two second half tries were due to the fine footballing skills of Damien Genocchio and Rory Harte, the former picking up loose ball in midfield and making the line on his own, brushing off several would be tacklers on his way. The try was one only Rory Harte could score. A meandering run out of his own twenty two from a quickly taken tap penalty produced numerous side steps and feints to the effect not one home player could put a hand on him on his way to the line. But there really was little else to cheer the Hills in the second half. The technical area resembled a small scale A. and E. ward. Second rower, John McLellan, was stretched out with a badly sprained ankle ; Scott McMIllan had a badly bruised knee ; Ryan Williamson was coming round slowly after a head knock ; and Ross Fergusson was cooling his heels in the sin bin. Such was the dislocation that scrums became uncontested and Dan Williams was asked to play in three different positions : inside centre, scrum half and then No 8. The Club Physio, Aoife O’Shea, did remarkably well to manage all the injured players.

Hills next league game is at home Friday night, the 9th November, when Murrayfield Wanderers are the visitors for a floodlight game, kick-off 19.45.

Hills 1st XV – Euan Brown, Craig Colvin (Jamie Maddox) , Damien Genocchio , Dan Williams (C) (James Hamilton-Potter) , Ciaran Callaghan , Rory Harte , Andy Blair (Dan Williams) , Ryan Williamson (Ross Fergusson) , Harry Perston, Daryll Elvin , John McLellan (Bill Kenny) , Charlie Smillie, Euan Ramage (Preston McGoldrick) Bill Kenny (Dan Williams) Scott McMillan . Subs all used

Report & Picture: BBM

Tough Times on the North 500

Caithness 57 points Hillhead Jordanhill 14 points

The first leg of the North 500, the latest “must do” on Trip Advisor, saw the Hills bus the 110 miles from Inverness to Thurso where Caithness play on a fine late Autumn morning, having stayed overnight in the capital of the Highlands. The drive itself is wonderful, spanning the Beauly Firth, Cromarty Firth and then the Beauly Firth. Thereafter, the A9 road hugs the coast, passing the holiday villages of Golpsie, Brora and Helmsdale before ascending to the flow country of Caithness where the vistas are magnificent across to the Sutherland Munros. Thurso was reached after some 2 hours 15 minutes of a drive which reinforced perceptions of what a wonderful country Scotland is. The visit to the North will be taken only once this season by Hillhead Jordanhill, but Caithness, their hosts, are well used to the journey, travelling to the Central Belt some eleven times to fulfil their national League commitments.

The fact this report should open with an overview of part of the trip to Thurso where Caithness RFC play indicates that it will stay longer in the memory than the game which followed. On their well appointed ground with a team of well nourished backs and forwards, Caithness were ruthless in their execution of the basics, particularly in the contact areas, where Hills struggled all afternoon with their hosts physicality. The first half saw Caithness run through the phases with ease scoring four tries against Hills, but the visitors playing against a stiff breeze did have their chances. Euan Brown intercepted some ten metres from his own line and scampered ina lung bursting run some seventy metres unopposed, till he was chopped only five metres short of the Caithness line. The hosts offended at the breakdown, losing a player to the sin bin in the process, but Hills could make nothing of their numerical advantage. Second rower, Chris Warnock, rightly named Hills man of the match made some serious yards in midfield, but the recycling could make nothing of the “Green fence” in front of them. Ciaran Callaghan threatened briefly on the left flank, but a knock on close to the line ended that promise.

Turning round twenty six points adrift, it was essential Hills settled quickly, but the momentum that Caithness generated in the first forty minutes was difficult to defuse, and the visitors subsided further to two more tries. Finally after fifty five minutes Hills started playing in the Caithness twenty two and two tries followed. Tight head prop Blair Mackenzie was driven over from close range and then Bill Kenny, whose work ethic is always to be commended, scored. The second try came from a rarity in the modern game, a tight head strike by hooker Harry Perston. Euan Brown converted both and there was a faint hope this spurt would lift the Hills, but instead Caithness found their “second wind” to run in another three tries, punishing the visitors for their failures to hold onto the ball. The final victory margin of nine tries to only two served only to emphasise the disparity between the two teams.

The bus journey home of some 280 miles, punctuated by a pit stop in Pitlochry, allowed time and opportunity to anaesthetise the senses, and blank out the memory of the game. Hills now have to lift themselves several notches to be able to offer resistance to opponents Ardrossan Accies in the ninth game of the 2018/2019 NL 3 season on Saturday the 27th October; kick off at Hughenden is 15.00.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin, Graham Davidson (Alban de Chaillé), Damien Genocchio, Dan Williams (C), Ciaran Callaghan (Jamie Maddox), Euan Brown, Andy Blair, Ryan Williamson, Harry Perston, Blair Mackenzie (Daryll Elvin), Bill Kenny, Chris Warnock, James Acheson, Conor Ferguson, Preston McGoldrick (Scott McMillan). Subs All used