Category: The Bunnet

2018-19 Senior Pre-season Kicks Off

Growing older has occasionally some benefits. One of these is the appreciation that your days of attending rugby preseason training and thereby feeling the vivifying muscle pain, not only the morning after your first session, but also of the second day are now firmly behind you.

Instead, visiting a pre-season session at Hughenden allows an insight into the fact that today’s players are better equipped to undertake and withstand the rigours of conditioning activities than their predecessors were some years ago.

Training began on Thursday the 12th July at Hughenden for Hills 2018-19 season and coaches, Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall, had some 35 players to put through an eighty minute session, interspersed with frequent water breaks. It was encouraging to note and welcome many new faces to the club, along with the well established  Rorys, Dans, Harrys, Prestons and Ryans.

We have room for plenty more at our next session on Tuesday 17th and thereafter every Thursday and Tuesday. Players are expected at18.45 to prepare for the real action which starts at 19.00 PROMPT. Please bring your water bottle along with you : “top up with tap water”

Hills Golden Girls Shine on Silver Saturday

Hillhead Jordanhill 68 pts Watsonians 12 pts

By beating their Edinburgh rivals in the Sarah Beaney Cup Final on Silver Saturday at BT Murrayfield, HillJills completed a league and cup double for season 2017/18. A half time score of thirty two points to nil left too much of a gap for the brave Watsons team to make up, although they did cross the victor’s line twice in the second half to bring some respectability to the final score.

The basis of the victory was a superior team performance and four standout players on the day : no. 8 and captain, Louise McMillan, who consistently distributed the ball well from the base of the scrum and also carried well in the loose; Lindsey Smith, at tight head prop, whose scrummaging was too robust for her opposite number ; Abi Evans, at full back, who ran well in open play and whose changes of direction Watsonians could not cope with ; and the player of the match, Hannah Smith, whose beautifully balanced running and physicality in ball carrying caused the Edinburgh side traumas the whole game. Watsons could offer only Lana Skeldon in direct comparison.

HillJills scrummaging was dynamic and kept their opposition on the back foot the whole of the game thereby providing a regular supply of ball. The veteran Rachael Whyte also had a fine game at scrum half and ensured a plentiful flow of ball was moved wide. First half scorers were Erinn Foley who touched down first from close range, followed by Abi Evans (three tries) , Emma “Gary” Barlow (one) and Hannah Smith (one). Uncharacteristically, Ally Cook had an off day with her goal kicking and converted only one of the six first half tries, although she more than made up for these lapses with a fine game in midfield. Second half scores were recorded by Hannah Smith (three), Louise McMillan (one), Lucy Mills (one) and Abi Evans (one). Replacement full back Amanda Moore added two conversions and Sophie Anderson one. Second rower Sophie had to be taken from the field with what looked like a serious leg injury, but she bravely returned on crutches to take her place with the rest of the squad for the medals presentation.

 

The Golden Girls can then look back on a very successful season, losing only one league game against Wandies away back in November 2017. Their coaching triumvirate of Thomas Davidson, Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov deserve credit for their professionalism at the many training sessions throughout a long and demanding season.

Words: Bernie Mitchell
Pictures: David Whyte

Hills Outgunned in Final Quarter of Pulsating Game

HILLHEAD JORDANHILL 1st XV 5 pts NEWTON STEWART 1st XV 35 pts

On a day stolen from the height of mid-summer, Hills battled bravely against a physically superior and more abrasive Newton Stewart side, but ultimately succumbed by five goals to one try, a margin which slightly flattered the victors. Hills had to rely on all their defensive skills in a fierce opening burst from Newton which found them pinned back in their twenty two for most of the opening quarter. Break outs were limited, and when they occurred, stand-off Rory Harte, was almost always the instigator. Following a longish injury break for attention to second rower, Alex Armstrong, who happily recovered well, Harte took play downfield with a fine crossfield kick which bounced wickedly for the visiting defence. Jimmy Griffith pounced quickly on the loose ball to set up the attacking ruck, and three phases later, fullback Arnaud Bauchet beat the Newton cover out wide to score. This was the last occasion, after twenty eight minutes of the game, that Hills would trouble the scoreboard operator, but their contribution thereafter to what was an enjoyable high tempo game was considerable. Certainly the clash of heads which caused centre Scott Halliday to leave the field with a badly gashed forehead did not assist their efforts, but replacement Michael Jones fitted in well on his 1st XV debut, some 42 years after his father, Gordon first played in a Hillhead jersey.

There were two principal differences between the sides. The visitors, whenever they entered the home twenty two, always seemed to come away with a try whereas the Hills for all their efforts at times over elaborated and were predictable in their approach, unless Harte added a cross kick or change in the point of attack. Additionally, Newton had more damaging broken play runners with the ball in hand than Hills, and it was the cumulative effect of continuous tackling and defensive chores at the breakdown that eventually sapped the resolve of the Hills in the final quarter when they had little left to offer. Yet for all their relative physical inferiority, the Hills set scrum was solid all afternoon, and occasionally caused some degree of discomfort on the visitors put in.

Season 2017/18 concluded then with a home defeat but the Hills, their coaching team, players and supporters can take some comfort from the fact that after three very poor seasons in the leagues some degree of stability has now been achieved which gives hope for a renaissance in 2018/19.

Hills 1st XV: Arnaud Bauchet, Jamie Maddox (Graham Davidson), Scott Halliday (Michael Jones), Scott Busby, Jimmy Griffith, Rory Harte, Dan Williams (C), Blair Mackenzie (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston, Mo Adams (Ross Ferguson), Bill Kenny, Alex Armstrong, Conor Ferguson, James Reekie, Preston McGoldrick Subs all used.

The Season Isn’t Over Yet!

This weekend there will again be four senior teams representing Hillhead Jordanhill and that is without the Men’s 2XV or Women’s 2XV being in action. The U15 Girls will also be taking on Caithness in the semi final of their cup competition. This is a considerable feat of organisation and a testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at the club. Particularly so, when you compare the number of senior teams our nearest neighbours put out. Your correspondent is in the midst of a UKCC Level 1 coaching qualification, being hosted at Hughenden, where one of the key themes is how we keep players in the game long term. For Hillhead Jordanhill, with the progress being made in the Mini and Midi sections, the future on that front must surely be bright! Now, to the weekends action!

This Weekends Match Schedules

20th April
Stirling County v Hillhead Jordanhill Women’s 1XV – KO 20:00 at Bridgehaugh, Stirling

21st April
Hillhead Jordanhill Men’s 1XV v Newton Stewart – KO 15:00 at Hughenden
Greenock Wanderers 2XV v Hillhead Jordanhill 2A – KO 15:00 at Fort Matilda playing fields, Greenock
Cartha Queens Park Veterans v Hillhead Jordanhill 4XV (Veterans) – KO 12:30 at Dumbreck

22nd April

Hillhead Jordanhill U15 v Caithness -KO 13:00 at Hughenden

Ladies Penultimate Match Before The Sarah Beaney Cup

The HillJills take on Stirling County in their final league match of the season. This will be the ladies last competitive fixture before the final of the Sarah Beaney Cup. The two sides last met on 26th January, with the HillJills running out comfortable winners in a 79 – 5 win at Hughenden. The league title was secured the same evening. The coaches will no doubt be looking for an assured performance to help prepare for the cup final. Coach Thomas Davidson should also be congratulated for his recent award as Stirling University Sports Coach of the Year. The two student teams under his watchful eye have both won their respective leagues. With a league win for the HillJills also under his coaching belt at Hughenden, a win in the Cup must surely be high on the wishlist to finish the season in style!

Silver Saturday, featuring the Sarah Beaney Cup, will take place on Saturday 28th April at BT Murrayfield. The ladies cup final will kick off at 14:10, on the main international pitch. Tickets are £20 for Adults, £10 for concessions, and £5 for Under-18s. You can support the club by purchasing your tickets for Silver Saturday via this link, https://www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby/?advcode=HillJor.

The Silver Saturday Details.

Final Match Of The Season For Men’s 1XV

As this is the final match for the Men’s 1XV, it seems like an apt time to reflect on how far the team has come on. Last season the Men’s 1XV finished dead last in National 2. With no league wins to their name, the team scored a total of 229 points and conceded 1052. A points differential of -823. No try bonus points were won, with only 1 losing bonus point obtained in their 22 league matches. This meant the team finished on 1 point for the season.

Going into their final league match of the 2017/18 season, the Men’s 1XV sit 8th in National 3. The team has obtained 45 points. Out of 21 league matches played, the team has won 8 and lost 12. They have scored 396 points, conceding 580. A points differential of -184. Try bonus points have totalled 7, with losing bonus points coming in at 2. As it stands, the team is sitting on a points tally of 45.

If ever recognition for a steadying set of hands was deserved, coaches Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall are two worthy candidates. The number of points scored has increased by over 70% and the number of points conceded has been reduced by over 40%. No mean feat considering where the team was at the end of last season.

Our opponents this Saturday are Newton Stewart. The last meeting of these two sides resulted in a comfortable 45 – 3 win for Newton at home. They currently sit 4th in National 2, knowing that two bonus wins in their last two matches will keep them in the hunt for promotion. This will be a challenging match for Hills, no doubt about it.

2A’s Aim To Finish On A High Against Greenock

With two matches to go in West Reserve League 2, the Hills 2A squad will be pushing to finish as high up the table as possible. Of 18 matches played, the team has conceded only one due to not being able to field a team. Compare this to the rest of the league and you won’t find a club with anywhere near as good a record. For this reason, many of the other teams in the league have as many as six matches still to play. This means Hills won’t know their final league position for some weeks. However, they will be keen to finish strongly. Hills beat Greenock Wanderers 62 – 20 at Hughenden, so expectations for a similar result will be high.

Vets Reunited!

After a hugely successful rebirth of the 4XV in January, another invite from Cartha Queens Park RFC has been received to get the old boys of the sofa for a few hours. Hector MacIntyre has been putting together a motley crew of Hills legends in the last few weeks. Hills ran out winners last time round, 17 – 45. Rumour has it that the infamous Jimmy Gow could be making an appearance, who knows how that could affect the result on Saturday!

Some of the Hills “Vets” at the previous match in January.

Dates For Your Diary

28th April | Silver Saturday, featuring the HillJills v Watsonians – KO 14:10 at BT Murrayfield
30th April | Hillhead Jordanhill RFC AGM – 19:00 in the Yill Hoose at Hillhead Sports Club
4th May | End of Season Dinner – 19:00 at Hillhead Sports Club. Tickets available at training from Dougie Grove and Sarah Smith or by email from Dougie on grovedougie@gmail.com
6th May | Hills Legends Lunch, 12:30 at Hillhead Sports Club. Our annual celebration of Hills legends, get your tickets from John MacLean on jnm@kelvinassociates.co.uk

HillJills Book Their Sarah Beaney Cup Final Place

Hillhead Jordanhill 1XV 42 – 7 Stirling County 1XV

The balance of power in this match was evident in the line up of the two sides in this Sarah Beaney Cup semi final. “Hilljills” fielded four of the current National Ladies team, Lindsey Smith and the McMillan sisters, captain Louise and Siobhan, in the forwards with Hannah Smith in the centre. The visitors Stirling had only two players with current representative experience, Siobhan Cattigan and Megan Kennedy. Additionally, the home team were able to field two vastly experienced players in former Six Nations veteran prop forward, Heather Lockhart, and Rachael Whyte at scrum half. 

Sophie Anderson bursting through the “County” defence.

Dominant First Half

The first half was very tough for County. The home side was dominant in both the set piece and line out, creating shoals of possession for the speedy three quarters to use. When they were halted by a steady visitors defence, breakdown ball was quickly moved by the lively Rachael Whyte to the powerful second row, Sophie Anderson, and no. 8 Kirsty McConnell. It was only stout County defence that kept the score to twenty seven points to nil at half time. Sophie Anderson touched down twice, Emma “Gary” Barlow and Siobhan McMillan once each and a penalty try was conceded by the visitors, who were unable to resist the fierce pressure from the home scrummage.

County Fought Back in Second Half

Stirling came into the game more in the second half and Abi Evan’s quick thinking in defence saved “HillJills” on more than one occasion. The visitors were, however, unable to live with the home team’s dynamic style. The physicality of Lindsey Smith at hooker also posed a threat, who showed no mercy in handing off many would be defenders when driving in open play. Despite “HillJills” fielding most of their bench, tries continued to come from Emma Barlow who seemed to be wearing roller skates on the wing such was her speed, Kirsty McConnell and Hannah McHugh, the new recruit who on this display showed that a “day out of Hawick is NOT wasted”. The only flaw in the home performance was the absence of a reliable goal kicker with Amanda Jane absent from the line up. Despite their fatigue, Stirling rallied well in the last five minutes to score a well worked close range try which they converted to provide some respectability to the final score line of forty two points to seven for the home team.

Nothing is getting in Lindsey Smith’s way.

Cup Final Beckons

This win takes “HillJills” to the Sarah Beaney Cup final at Murrayfield on the 28th April, kick-off 2.10pm, International Pitch, where they will take on Watsonians after their shock defeat of Murrayfield Wanderers. The final will be part of Silver Saturday, where all the Women’s and Men’s Cup Finals will take place, along with the 1872 Cup between Edinburgh and Glasgow, tickets can be bought here. Further details around travel and information for Hillhead Jordanhill supporters will follow in due course.

Winners are grinners!

Words: Bernie Mitchell
Images: Hamish Adamson

Hills Hang On for Bonus Point Win

HILLHEAD JORDANHILL 1st XV 22 pts HADDINGTON 1st XV 21 pts

It was both the best of times and then the worst of times for the players and supporters of the Hills in this National League 3 game at Hughenden. The fact that the Hills, by dint of their hard fought victory against relegation strugglers Haddington, had won five precious league points seemed to be forgotten in the gloom of the post match analysis. After the first quarter, Hills were apparently coasting to an easy victory . They were twenty two points to nil ahead with fine individual tries from Jamie Maddox, Euan Brown, Alex Armstrong and then a Bill Kenny burst for the line from an Owen Gemmell assist. At the conclusion of the game, Euan Brown’s conversion of the final try was to prove very significant.

At twenty two points ahead, the home touchline cognoscenti were anticipating a sixty point winning margin, but that was proven to be fanciful in the extreme, as the visitors cut down on their errors, began to use their superior weight in the set scrummage and ran through the phases in their use of the ball. After forty minutes, Haddington had narrowed the margin with a converted try and for the second forty minute period were the dominant side in the game.

Hills tried perhaps too hard to get back into the game but their early promise had evaporated. They lost their shape totally, allowing Haddington to sense a chance for an upset victory. Hills conceded three consecutive scrum penalties and the fourth produced the inevitable penalty try. Despite the prompting and occasional meandering runs from full back Rory Harte, Hills could not make any kind of breakthrough, but when the visitors brought the game back to the home twenty two, a series of close range drives brought the third try which was converted. Hills then managed to see the game out and hung on for a single point victory.

Hills conclude their league programme with their final game vs Newton Stewart at Hughenden on Saturday the 21st April with a 15.00. KO. The 1st XV have no game on Saturday the 14th but the 2nd XV play away at Torrance House, East Kilbride with a 15.00 KO.

Hills 1st XV Rory Harte, Jamie Maddox ( Angus Lauder ), Scott Halliday, Scott Busby, Arnaud Bauchet, Euan Brown, Darren Knox, Mark Barrowman ( C ) ( Blair Mackenzie ), Harry Perston, Ross Jackson ( Mo Adams ), Owen Gemmell, Bill Kenny, Alex Armstrong, Ryan Reilly Conor Ferguson ( Preston McGoldrick ) Subs all used.

Hills Come Close in Orkney

Orkney 29 pts Hillhead Jordanhill 26 pts

This game defied conventional rugby wisdom which tells us that the team playing with the elements should monopolise the territory and score. That was blown away at Pickaquoy Park, Orkney, on Saturday when Hills playing with the stiff breeze in the first half were seventeen points to seven down at the interval, but rallied into the wind to take the second half by nineteen points to twelve. The recovery was not sufficient, however, to win the tight game, but Hills took home two precious bonus points, one for scoring four tries and the other for losing by seven points or less.

The game was notable for many features, the main one being the contrast in playing styles with Orkney constantly recycling off their first and second receivers and then punching holes in the Hills defensive walls, while the visitors sought to move the ball quickly to the wider channels. Both tactics were fruitful : Orkney scoring five close range tries with constant pick and go tactics despite some heroic Hills defensive efforts, and Hills for their part touching down four times from their two principal flair players, winger Arnaud Bauchet scoring three wonderful tries and stand off Rory Harte, mesmerising everyone in the grounds with his side stepping for his. Indeed Arnaud displayed the range of skills that his International team, France, used to be renowned for : side step, swerve, vision and genuine pace. His Gallic legerdemain was a wonderful contrast to the physicality in the forwards battle.

At the end of a titanic struggle and a fine game to participate in and watch, Hills were left to rue missed chances, particularly not playing the game in the opposition areas in the first half and some fragile work on the touchlines. Yet all the nineteen players who travelled and played in this fixture should be proud of their commitment and effort in almost matching a highly motivated and well supported side who had to win this fixture to avoid slipping further into the National League 3 relegation quagmire.

On Easter Saturday, the 31st March, Hills travel to Memorial Field to play Ardrossan Accies in what might be termed a mid table tussle. Kick off at Ardrossan is 15.00 .

Hills 1st XV Jimmy Griffith, Jamie Maddox, Scott Halliday, Scott Busby, Arnaud Bauchet, Rory Harte, Dan Williams(C), Ross Jackson ( Mark Barrowman ), Harry Perston ( Harry Singh ), Maurice Adams ( Ross Jackson ), Charlie Smillie ( Ryan Reilly ), Bill Kenny, Scot McMIllan ( Alex Armstrong ), Ryan Reilly ( James Reekie ) Conor Ferguson Subs all used.

Off Colour Hills Lose Their Way at Dalziel

Dalziel RFC 24 pts Hillhead Jordanhill 3 pts

This was a game which everyone associated with the Hills will do well to forget very quickly. It is important, however, to take nothing away from a very determined Dalziel squad who took the game repeatedly to the visitors, but the reality was that, both individually and collectively, Hills were far below what they were were capable of producing. Certainly Dalziel, in the league relegation area, had much more to play for than their visitors, who are at least comfortable from the spectre of relegation for this season.

Dalziel were already fourteen points to the good at the end of the first quarter, both their scores coming from defensive lapses in the Hills twenty two. The rest of the first period of play saw some abrasive ball carrying from Owen Gemmell and linking play from Ryan Reilly and Mo Adams but there was little evidence of any phase building, due to frequent knocks on and turnovers. Euan Brown collected Hills only points after thirty eight minutes with a well struck penalty goal from some 42 metres across the face of the wind.

Dalziel extended their half time lead with an early penalty goal and then the game entered an attritional phase in which neither side could claim an advantage with skill levels being at a premium, due to the very cold, wintry conditions which made passing a lottery at times. Hills , through the dependable Bill Kenny at the line out and Rory Harte in broken play running, certainly never at any stage gave up trying, at one stage going through some twenty number phases to attempt to break down the home defence, but it was of no avail. Dalziel lifted the siege and took the game back to the Hills twenty two from where they scored after a driving maul. The try was converted to yield the home side a very comfortable twenty one point winning margin.

Hills will require to regroup very quickly given their next league game is away against Orkney who ,like Dalziel, are trapped currently in the relegation basement, and will therefore be fighting hard for any advantage they can claim. Momentum is a very important component for success in any team sport, and Hills will need to rediscover theirs to ensure a successful conclusion to their final four National league games.

Hills 1st XV: Rory Harte, Jamie Maddox, Scott Halliday, Arnaud Bauchet, Darren Knox (Graham Davidson), Euan Brown, Dan Williams, Blair Mackenzie (Ryan Williamson), Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Maurice Adams, Ryan Reilly, Bill Kenny, Scott McMillan (Martin Malone), Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell(C). Subs all used.

Hills Get To Grips With The Set Scrum

Glasgow has ground to a halt this week and given the weather, not much has been happening on the training paddock either. However, the Men’s senior squad were recently treated to a training session with the “Scrum Doctor”, Grant Sweenie, who was brought in by Head Coach, Dean Kelbrick, to polish the forward packs scrummaging skills.

“Ball coming in now!”

Under the lights at Hughenden, three packs of forwards worked hard under the watchful eye of “Dr. Sweenie” and at the end of the workout, Dean was enthusiastic about the outcomes:

“This was a good session and we are all grateful to Grant for the expertise he passed on. Certainly, I think we shall have more of these, perhaps before kick-offs, since it is the most animated I have ever seen Mo Adams on the rugby pitch.“

Outdoor training opportunities have proved hard to come by this week, however, the Men’s coaches have encouraged all senior players to maintain their fitness levels whilst the “Beast from the East” continues to cause disruption.

“Bind…”

Words & Pictures: Bernie Mitchell

Deserved Bonus Point Win in Perth

Perthshire 11 pts Hillhead Jordanhill 38 pts

Never headed at any time in the game, Hills recorded their third away win of the season against Perthshire on the North Inch park by the handsome margin of five goals and one penalty goal to two penalty goals and one try. The only time that Perthshire threatened the Hills superiority was in the third quarter of the game when they came within six points of the visitors at seventeen points to eleven, but the Hills quickly re-engaged their higher gears to brush aside the hosts in the final quarter, Perthshire being overwhelmed and finishing the game with three players in the bin.

This was a fine team performance for most of the eighty minutes : the line out was more reliable with James Acheson being an able provider of ball : the scrummage won two tight head strikes and at times looked devastating, but could not quite maintain the intensity needed to be fully dominant ; and all the backs ran and handled the dry ball well with the power, pace and direction being supplied by Scott Halliday at 12 and Jimmy Griffith, a veritable wrecking ball, on the left wing. At the back. Rory Harte was his usual mercurial self, running with abandon and displaying a side step which mesmerised not only the opposition, but also at times his own teammates. Number 8 and captain, Owen Gemmell, was abrasive whenever he had the ball, and also sent the correct message to his opponents that he would not stand for any nonsense.

Hills scorers in the first half were Rory Harte with a typical meandering run through the home defense, touching down for his try between the posts ; Harte converted his own score. The second try of the afternoon owed everything to Jimmy Griffith’s anticipation and strength. Perthshire rather unwisely tried to run the ball out of their own twenty two, but unfortunately for their right winger he could not avoid his nemesis, Jimmy, who won the collision and the ball and then scampered unopposed some thirty metres to the line, stand-off Euan Brown converting the try. Early in the second half the Hills no. 10 kicked a penalty goal, but the next fifteen minutes were ceded to the hosts who threw everything at the Hills yet broke the visitors line only once. Normal service was soon restored with Alex Armstrong, Rory Harte and finally Jamie Maddox all touching down, Euan Brown successfully converting each of the three tries into the wind.

An emphatic victory was secured. There is then the fine prospect of the next game against league leaders. Newton Stewart, at Hughenden on Saturday the 3rd March with a 15.00 KO ; there is no game next Saturday the 24th February due to the Calcutta Cup game at Murrayfield. If the Hills can maintain the skills and attacking shape they showed at the North Inch and display more intensity at the set scrummage, there is every reason to look forward to a shock victory on the first Saturday in March.

Hills 1st XV:  Rory Harte. Jimmy Griffith, Arnaud Bauchet, Scott Halliday. Darren Knox (James Maddox), Euan Brown. Dan Williams. Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson). Harry Perston, Maurice Adams (Ross Ferguson), James Acheson. Bill Kenny. Conor Fergusson. Owen Gemmell (C) Alex Armstrong (Scott McMillan) Subs all used .