Category: The Bunnet

Hills Good for Three in a Row

Hillhead/Jordanhill 24 points Perthshire 15 points

This was a closely contested game against a tenacious hardworking Perthshire side, who would feel justifiably aggrieved that they left the field without a bonus point which their play deserved. As it was, the Hills outscored their visitors by four tries to two, and enjoyed the bulk of the territorial possession, but could not finish as often as their lead up play would have suggested.

Hills had to thank again their scrummage, who collectively were technically superior to a much bigger and heavier Perthshire pack, for some go forward ball ; but their line out stuttered badly throughout the whole game, and was a far from reliable source of first phase possession. The fine line kicking of stand –off, Rory “Finn” Harte, which regularly produced gains of some fifty metres from penalties, was not followed with the retention of possession to allow the Hills to build continuity via repeated phases of play. The Hills therefore had to rely on quick thinking of Rory Harte and the finishing skills and twinkling feet of Arnaud Bauchet on the right wing to make progress, despite the fact both centres, Scott Halliday and Robbie Williamson, ran hard.

Rory Harte linked well from short range with his captain, Owen Gemmell, to score his first try which he converted. Hills’s second try came from his inch perfect kick in open play from left of the posts to the open wing, where Arnaud Bauchet caught the ball and plunged over the line: a wonderful piece of skill from the Hills no.10. Hills third try was franked by Bauchet’s Gallic trickery where he mesmerised the visiting defence to touch down.

Perthshire, for their part, when they put pressure on the home defence, scored two fine tries of their own when playing down hill and reached the half time whistle only five points adrift from the Hills. The second half was altogether a much dourer affair than the first with neither side being able to prise open their opponents, although the visitors edged closer with a well struck Bowater penalty. It took Hills well into the final quarter of the game to make sure of victory when Rory Harte pounced on a Perthshire mistake when they suicidally tried to run from within the shadow of their own posts only to lose the ball. Harte’s conversion took his side nine points ahead with only five minutes left, and despite the visitors valiant efforts they were unable to get closer for a losing bonus point. Unfortunately in the last frantic few minutes Hills no.8, Ryan Reilly received his second yellow card of the game and his presence on the field may well now be restricted for a few weeks.

This was Hills third consecutive National league win, a feat which the Club have not managed since season 2009-2010 when they were promoted from the “old” Premier 3 division. Their next game is in the far South West at the Bladnock pitches of Newton Stewart. Four in a row is possible but all components of Hills game will require to be in good order to prosper at this difficult venue.

Hills 1st XV: Ciaran Callaghan, Arnaud Bauchet, Robbie Williamson, Scott Halliday, Jamie Maddox, Rory Harte, Darren Knox (James Reekie), Mark Barrowman, Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Blair Mackenzie (Ross Fergusson), James Acheson, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson (Martin Malone), Ryan Reilly, Owen Gemmell (C) Subs all used.

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.

Fiery 2A’s Under the Lights

This was a fine game played under the Hughenden lights on a perfect night for running rugby. There was plenty of excitement to keep a sparse crowd well entertained with a very close first half which the home side just shaded by nineteen points to fifteen, coming back from a ten nil deficit after fifteen minutes. But the second period of play saw the Hills side move up the gears to consolidate their winning position by adding a further three converted tries with visitors Marr recording a consolation effort just before the final whistle.

Hills owed their superiority to a fine forward and midfield defence and to the predatory instincts of their half backs, Fionn Whyte and Tom Donaldson. Both ran well individually, but importantly made space for others to keep the forward momentum. The forward pack scrummaged and ruck effectively to provide a fine platform for no. 8 Steven Kay run well from the base and Fionn to distribute the ball.

The try of the game was scored by scrum half Fionn Whyte whose solo run had several Marr defenders grasping fresh air, as he weaved his way to the line from thirty-five metres out. His half back partner, Tom Donaldson, made several breaks, three of which produced tries for himself. Additionally his running lines and well-judged offloads produced space for Toby Mitchell and Alasdair Turnbull to cross the line unopposed. Sean Smith at full back had a good game with his boot, converting five of the tries, he partnered well with Blair Johnston who was efficient again, this time on the wing.

A five pointer against Marr is an exceptional result and the outcome can be referenced Hills improving and enlarging group of players. Keeping on this path the 2A’s can seriously target the top of their league. They travel to Dalziel 3rd XV next Saturday.

Hillhead Jordanhill 2AXV 40 points Marr 3rdXV 22 points

6th October Squad: Ariel Fertonani, Iain Cardno, Michael Sinclair, Charlie Duncan, Andrew Park, Alistair Mclaren, Stephen Cunniffe, Steven Kay, Fionn Whyte, Tom Donaldson, Blair Johnston, Euan MacMahon, Toby Mitchell, Iain Stewart, Sean Smith, Martin Wilson, William Murphy, Anurat Phuntungpoom, Alasdair Turnbull, William Murphy, Andrew Ross.

Coaching: Hector McIntyre & Ian McLennaghan

Hills Bag First 5 Pointer

Hillhead/Jordanhill 43pts Dalziel 25pts

There is no immediate historical significance in the date of the 13th February 2016 unless you are one of the long suffering supporters of the Hillhead/Jordanhill 1st XV, as that was the last time the Hills won a home National League match. For the record, it was against Ardrossan Accies who were defeated that day by twenty nine points to nil. From the squad then, five players remained for this fixture, and for Darren Knox, Scotty Halliday, Rory Harte, Harry Perston and Blair Mackenzie, the nineteen months gap until their next home win must have seemed like a long dark nightmare suddenly ended. The end of this game at Hughenden proved a wonderful occasion for both Hills players and their supporters, but, in truth, the eventual outcome of the victory did seem, at some stages, rather remote.

The first half of the game was end to end stuff with mistakes galore, turnovers and scrappy play and Hills doing their very best at times to ensure Dalziel remained in contention, as Hills gifted their opponents two interception tries. While the game lacked some quality in parts, it made up for it elsewhere in physicality and commitment with home scrum half, Conor Duignan being a constant thorn to Dalziel in all phases of the game. With the lead changing hands three times during the first forty minutes, the good sized crowd were kept fully engaged. The indefatigable Hills hooker, Harry Perston, scored the first try with stand off Rory Harte converting, who then added a penalty; home captain, Owen Gemmell, who led by example throughout, scored the next, a fine individual try after a lung bursting run from fully forty five metres ; and the final try of the first half was a touchdown at the foot of the posts from home no. 8, Ryan Reilly with Harte again kicking the conversion. This try and conversion was perhaps the most significant one of the game in that it eased to the Hills to within four points of their opponents who, by the thirty eighth minute, had established an eleven points lead.

The second half found Hills hitting downhill towards the Gartnavel end of the ground and the game’s physical intensity did not abate. Hills, however, remained resolute with Dalziel suffering from some injuries which blunted their efforts both at the breakdown and in midfield. Quick thinking from loose head prop, Mark Barrowman at the front of a close range line out, produced a drive over try which Rory Harte again converted. Mid-field paralysis then ensued for a twenty minute spell in which neither side could gain any advantage, but eventually Hills perseverance and quickness in moving the ball into the wide channels paid off with flying winger, Jamie Maddox, racing over unopposed for a fine try which Harte again converted. The best try, the sixth and final one of the afternoon, came again down the right hand channel where Jamie Maddox was put into space. He gathered his chip kick ahead, but was then tackled. Replacement back, James Lowry, was available, however, to scoop up the loose ball and pass onto the unmarked Scott Halliday to crash over the line. Rory Harte again converted and Hills had added some twenty one unanswered points. The game was not yet ever as Dalziel attacked with a ferocity to try to gain themselves a four try bonus counter, but they were repelled and the final whistle blew.

Hills take to the road again with their next fixture being in Aberdeen against Gordonians with a 15.30 KO. Travel arrangements to follow.

Hills 1st XV Squad: Craig Colvin, Jamie Maddox, Scott Busby (James Lowry), Scott Halliday, Darren Knox, Rory Harte, Conor Duignan, Mark Barrowman, Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Maurice Adams (Blair Mackenzie), Jonny Kinniburgh (Martin Malone), Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson, Ryan Reilly and Owen Gemmell (C)

Report: Bernie Mitchell
Pictures: Iain Dewar

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

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.

Hills 2AXV Win in the Whitecraigs Sun

Whitecraigs 2XV 26pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 2AXV 44pts

Following a debated draw in the 2A’s league opener last week, this bonus point win at Whitecraigs was well deserved. It came about due to some excellent teamwork under the watchful eyes of newly appointed manager Ian McLennagham and the travelling touch judge, Andrew Scott (snr), who patrolled the pitch side with his customary efficiency. For his next tour of duty, the Club will endeavour to ensure Andy carries his flag with him.

There were some good individual performances. Up front, returning Douglas Elder was very accomplished, running well with ball in hand and working hard in all phases of the game. His three tries were just reward for a fine afternoon’s toil away from the demands of Curriculum for Excellence. Sean Smith at stand off led the line well with good distribution from hand and, early on in the game, steady goal kicking.

Hills benefitted from a good understanding of the structures of the modern game although those on the touchline, unfamiliar with some of the team calls, remained bemused as to the number of wild beasts that were believed to be wandering in the open fields of Renfrewshire.

It was a good outcome then for this squad, at this level of the domestic game. It is those players with the better fitness levels who will prevail throughout the season. The improved attendance at training does undoubtedly help.

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 events@hjrfc.com

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.

Hills Ladies Hit a Ton

Hillhead Jordanhill Women 1st XV 115 — 0 Cartha QP Women 1st XV

On a wonderful early autumnal evening under the Hughenden floodlights, the Hilljills showcased their full range of running and handling skills to blow away their plucky south side rivals.

For the record, the Hilljills were fifty-five points up at halftime. If there had been a scoreboard operator, she would have been sorely fatigued by the end of the proceedings.

In these situations it can be invidious to pick out individuals in what was a fine team performance, but the twinkling feet of Hilljills’ centres, Hannah Smith and Abi Evans, generated some twelve tries.

The McMillan sisters, Siobhan with her direct running and captain Louise with her sheer athleticism, also caught the eye.

Abi Evans stretches for the line.

Unfortunately, scrum-half, Mairi McDonald, caught something else, a flying elbow, which flattened the “Mighty Atom” and led to the Cartha transgressor being red carded.

Mention also should be made of the goal kicking skills of Mairi McDonald and Ally Cook, who between them converted ten of the nineteen tries.

After this try fest, Hilljills play again on Friday 8th September at 20:00 against visitors Stewartry Sirens from Castle Douglas.

Team: S. McMillan, L. Smith, H. Lockhart, G. Keys, J. Johnston, H. Telling, K. McConnell, L. McMillan, M. McDonald, S. Smith, A. Evans, L. Willis, A. Jane, D. Falconer, F. Wood, S. Kyalinkunda, A. Cook, L. Mils

Words by Bernie Mitchell and photos by David Whyte