Category: The Bunnet

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.


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 .

Hills Defensive Skills Win the Day

Hillhead/Jordanhill 20 pts Gordonians 12 pts

The conditions, with a heavy ground and the prevailing south west wind blowing stiffly all through the game, did not allow for a high intensity, end to end match, but the commitment from both sets of players provided an absorbing contest for the fair sized crowd sheltering in the Fraser stand.

It took Hills a while to get going even though playing with the wind, as they preferred to play with the ball in hand rather than chase wind assisted kicks. Hills in fact did not enjoy much territorial domination in the whole eighty minutes, but they were purposeful when in the visitors twenty two, due to the attacking skills of both Rory Harte at full back and Euan Brown at stand off, encouraged by the rugby nous of inside centre, James Reekie. Brown opened the scoring with a well struck penalty goal from far out on the left of the visitors twenty two. He repeated the trick some ten minutes later as Hills responded well to a close range Gordonians try which they converted. With the first half clock running down, Hills, at last, found the elusive cutting edge to move breakdown ball quickly right via prop Mark Barrowman to the intruding Rory Harte who,from some twenty metres out, backed himself to make the line and score. Euan Brown converted well from tight on the right hand touchline to take his side to thirteen points to seven at the interval.

The second half saw a transformation in the game with Gordonians dominating both possession and territory to such an extent that Hills had to rely on all their defensive qualities, while rarely crossing the half way line. The visitors scored quickly after the restart, but their left footed kicker failed to convert from the left hand touchline ; indeed the visitors unreliable goal kicking was to prove ultimately their downfall as they failed to convert any of three kickable penalties awarded during the second half. From the forty fifth to the seventieth minute of the game, Hills tackled every visitor’s shirt that moved and all players showed huge commitment. Given the physicality and intensity of the engagement, it was hard to believe at times it was bona fide amateurs who were playing.

The decisive and winning try in the game arose from bizarre circumstances . Brown and Reekie worked the ball well downfield to the visitors twenty two where a breakdown penalty was awarded to Hills. Rather than kick to the corner for a close range attacking line out, captain Owen Gemmell asked Euan Brown to kick for goal. It was, however, his poorest shot of the afternoon, the arc of flight taking it towards the far side of the field. First to react, however, was Rory Harte who followed up to field the ball and set up an attacking ruck. Five phases later, substitute prop, Maurice Adams drove over from close range to touch down, and Euan Brown recalibrated his radar to send the ball just across the crossbar. This gave Hills an eight point cushion and, although the final few minutes were typically frantic, they held on to record an excellent win in the circumstances and leave the spirited Gordonians squad pointless in a game to which they contributed so much without taking their chances.

Next up for the Hills is an away game in the Borders at St. Boswells on the 3rd February. The game will kick off early at 13.00 to allow the players to watch the second half of the Cardiff international. The bus will leave at 10.00 and all supporters are welcome.

Hills 1st XV : Rory Harte, Darren Knox (Scott Halliday), Arnaud Bauchet, James Reekie, James Maddox, Euan Brown, Dan Williams, Ross Jackson (Maurice Adams), Harry Perston, Mark Barrowman, Charlie Smillie (James Acheson), Bill Kenny, James Acheson (Alex Armstrong), Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell (C), Subs Harry Singh

Improved Performance Doesn’t Shake League Points from Highland

Hillhead Jordanhill 17 pts Highland 28 pts

Coming off a sixty point thumping at New Anniesland the previous Saturday, the Hills supporters could have been forgiven for a lack of enthusiasm for their team’s chances against the high flying Highland, but by the end of an enthralling contest they adjourned to the warmth of the Clubhouse in better spirits, although they had seen their side defeated by twenty eight points, four goals, to seventeen, two goals and a penalty goal.

Hills struggled all day to contain the visiting forwards’ driving maul which was well orchestrated and rumbled mercilessly and uncontrollably on, and paved the way to Highland’s opening two scores. For their part, Hills looked good in breakaway from their talented midfield backs, Euan Brown and Rory Harte, and it was from the former’s mazy run through the Highland defence that led to the first home score. Quick possession from a ruck in the visiting twenty two allowed the fleet footed, Arnaud Bauchet, to scamper across the line for a try which Brown converted to take the score to fourteen points to seven for Highland at half time.

The third quarter saw Hills in a more aggressive mode with no.8 and captain Owen Gemmell, powerful in ball carrying chores and Conor Ferguson proving a reliable source of line out ball. Euan Brown banged over a forty meter penalty goal, but the Hills were unable to profit from meandering break outs by Rory Harte. The visitors showed their opponents how, with a patient build up, it is possible to score tries by working their way up the field collectively to touch down to the left of the posts.

Highland were now twenty one points to ten up with the game is its final quarter, but the Hills had not given up and scored the try of the day. Its genesis lay in Rory Harte’s quick thinking and wonderfully long spun pass to the left flank where Owen Gemmell and Jamie Maddox made impressive yards. Quick ball from the breakdown allowed Euan Brown to copy Harte’s sleight of hand by spin passing some twenty metres to his right to find the quicksilver Arnaud Bauchet in space to run over unopposed to dot down his second try of the afternoon and his fourth National league try in two games. Brown’s successful touch line conversion brought the scores to within four points with ten minutes left. But the denouement saw Hills at their lowest in the game. Failure to secure loose ball allowed Highland to move quickly up the field to score a converted try but there was still time left to draw closer to gain a well deserved losing bonus point. Chances presented themselves a plenty to score, but poorish execution and a lack of patience to grind through the hard yards cost Hills dear at the conclusion of what had been a fine advert from both teams for National League rugby.

Weather permitting, Hills now travel to the Clelland estate to play Dalziel next Saturday the 20th January, kick off is at 14.00.

Hills 1st XV :  Jimmy Griffith, Matt Murray, Arnaud Bauchet, Rory Harte, Graham Davidson (James Maddox), Euan Brown, Dan Williams, Ross Jackson (Mark Barrowman), Harry Perston (Harry Singh) Maurice Adams, James Acheson, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell(C), Alex Armstrong (Charlie Smillie), Subs all used.

Hills hold on at Haddington

Haddington 10 pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 13 pts    

The opening twenty minutes of this game saw Hills all over their opposition at the picturesque Mill Wynd ground in East Lothian, but unfortunately try as hard as they might, scoring, apart from a Euan Brown penalty goal, eluded them. Line outs were not a reliable source of possession and patience in building phases, so necessary in the modern game, temporarily deserted them.

Calmness was indeed in short supply, as Haddington, having had a player yellow carded after ten minutes, then saw the same man dismissed for a second offence after thirty five minutes of play. For Hills, however, the going seemed to get tougher as the match wore on. Indeed, if it had not been for the Gallic trickery of left Winger, Arnaud Bauchet, the Hills would have been in a sorry state. Five minutes into the second half, he found space in the narrowest of channels to thread his way over the line for a wonderful individual try. Some ten minutes later, better was to come when Scott Halliday picked up a loose ball and burst powerfully for the home twenty two where he linked well with second rower, James Acheson, who committed two defenders before off loading to Arnaud, the wing wizard, who dived majestically over the line.

At thirteen points ahead and approaching the final quarter,  Hills should have been in easy street against their numerically understrength hosts, but nerves got the better of them. Apart from two Jimmy Griffith bursts and some occasional mazy running from Rory Harte,  Hills lost their shape and momentum, and Haddington got firmly on top. Their physically stronger forwards began to drive the line outs and scored two successive close range tries. Crucially, however, neither was converted, and the last five minutes of the contest was nerve shredding for the players and their small band of supporters. Somehow Hills defied the red waves of Haddington shirts that piled forward relentlessly at them to keep their line intact. Their joy and elation at hanging on for the win was palpable, as was the frustration of the home support.

This win concluded the first round of games in National league three with six wins from the eleven scheduled. Hills return to the highways again next Saturday, the 9th December, for their return fixture against St. Boswells in the Borders to whom they have already lost twice this season, both league and cup. An improvement in form will be required to record a win in the Borders stronghold.

Hills 1st XV: Craig Colvin, Jimmy Griffith , Scott Halliday (Robbie Williamson) ,Euan Brown , Arnaud Bauchet, Rory Harte, Dan Williams, Mark Barrowman (Maurice Adams), Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Maurice Adams (Ross Jackson), James Acheson, Bill Kenny, James Reekie, Scott McMillan (Helian Bourrel), Conor Ferguson (C), Subs all used.

Text & Picture: Bernie Mitchell

2A’s Harvest on the Last Play

Dalziel 3rdXV 29 points Hillhead/Jordanhill 2AXV 33 points

This was a very enjoyable, closely contested game played on a very firm pitch at the Clelland estate in Motherwell. For most of the game, Hills struggled again a much more physical home pack who were well drilled in the short range line out driving mauls. Indeed, Hills had to exist on scraps of first phase possession. Legendre was the main source of line out balls, while scrum half, Bolster, struggled at times with an uneven heel from the set piece.

It didn’t look good for the Hills at halftime, despite some strong running from Stevens which produced a penalty try and then a close range effort from Michaud. Dalziel, ten points up at the interval (22-12), had benefited from numerous penalties, using their number 10 long-range kicking to bring them in range for their mauling game. Dalziel continued to drive hard at the Hills, but the superior conditioning of the visitors paid off eventually in the final quarter.

Thanks to the wonderful surgical skills of flyhalf Crome, who carved up the home midfield with a fine defence splitting run, Hills were able to establish some attacking options in the Dalziel half. Quick movement of the ball through the hands allowed both visiting wingers to extend the home defence, but the searing pace of Mitchell and “Bambi” Davidson proved too much for Dalziel and both scored fine tries, with Davidson converting both to take the score to twenty nine points to twenty six with only sixty seconds left to play.

During the last play, Mitchell switched his line of running to set up an attacking ruck in the Dalziel twenty two. Veteran replacement prop, Richardson, officiating in second row, tidied up, then picked and drove at the splintered Dalziel fringe defence laying back a superb ball for Andy Bolster to uplift and scamper unopposed to the line. Winger Davidson added the extras and the final whistle blew. The Hills squad was ecstatic, while the Dalziel squad were dejected, having just lost a game they had been ahead in for seventy nine minutes. Fair result ? Maybe “Aye”, maybe “Naw”. The beauty and aesthetic of sport!!

End of National Cup Run for the Hills

Hillhead/Jordanhill 10 points     St. Boswells 27 points

For parts of this second round BT National Cup tie, particularly in the first half, Hills were very much the equal of their visitors from the Borders, but unfortunately the spells of continuity rugby they were able to generate were limited. St. Boswell were much more adept at taking their chances and indeed were ruthless, seizing on some frailties in Hills defence on three occasions to score tries. The first was from a close range driven line out ; the second was from a charge down of a brave attempt to kick out of defence, while the third came from poorish first up tackling.

St. Boswells fourth try and final score of the evening which, astonishingly, came in the 38th minute of the first half resulted from an opportunistic break from the visitors twenty two right down the middle of the field with a final chip kick over the despairing Hills defence for the touchdown. Among all of that, Rory Harte displayed his faultless line kicking from hand, making prodigious ground when St. Boswells offended at the breakdown. Unfortunately, Hills could not kick on quickly enough from these field positions. Dan Williams scored a wonderful solo try, his first for the Hills, from the base of a ruck and Euan Brown added the conversion to his earlier penalty goal.

Kicking down the slope in the second half, Hills, seventeen points adrift, would have expected to take the game to their visitors, but apart from some typical dashes from Jimmy Griffith on the right wing, some effective ball carrying from replacement prop, Ross Fergusson, and occasional bursts of aggressive scrummaging, nothing changed on the scoreboard. Even when St. Boswells were reduced to fourteen for a technical offence, Hills huffed and puffed but failed to make any significant inroads into a resolute Borders defence. St. Boswells,without too much difficulty, held onto their second half lead to see them comfortably through to round 3 of the BT National Cup on the 10th February 2018. Hills will play St. Boswells again on the 9th December but this time away in the Borders. Before then, however, they are on the road to Haddington when the National league programme resumes on the 2nd December.

Hills 1st XV: Craig Colvin, Jimmy Griffith, Scott Halliday, Euan Brown ( Scott Busby ), Arnaud Bauchet, Rory Harte ( Euan Brown ), Dan Williams, Ross Jackson ( Ross Fergusson ), Harry Singh ( Preston McGoldrick ), Maurice Adams ( Ryan Williamson ), James Acheson, Chris Warnock, James Reekie, Ryan Reilly, Owen Gemmell ( C ) ( Scott McMillan ) Subs all used.

Hills Continue Their Progress

Hillhead/Jordanhill 31 points Ardrossan Accies 19 points

By defeating their visitors, Ardrossan Accies by two goals, one try and four penalty goals to two goals and one try, Hills continued their steady progress of late in recording their fifth National league victory in six games, prior to the close down for the Autumnal Internationals. Yet the opening to the game did little for the nervous dispositions of the home support, such was the visitors attacking flair that they rattled on two tries before Hills awoke in the pleasant late autumnal sunshine that had temporarily sent them to sleep. Stand off, Rory Finn Harte, was the home catalyst, energising his colleagues with his vision and his range of kicking skills. The first try came from his well placed up and under to the visitors’ twenty two. Such was the power of follow up from James Reekie, revelling in his new role as blind side flanker, that the ball broke loose to be snapped up by centre Euan Brown who crossed the line unopposed to touch down. He converted his own try and that was Hills up and running for the next twenty five minutes when they dominated possession and territory. Their second try was a Harte trademark, a high hanging kick to the open side wing where Jimmy Griffith controlled the ball well to flop over the line ; Brown converted this one immaculately from the right hand touchline. The third try began deep in the Hills twenty two with Brown breaking quickly. Good driving play from captain Owen Gemmell, continued by the hard working second rower, Bill Kenny, a constant source of danger with ball in hand, produced well won breakdown ball. The forward momentum was continued by the flying left winger, Ciaran Callaghan, who ran hard for the line. Another series of rucks rewarded James Reekie with a close range try. Euan Brown finished off the first half scoring with a well struck penalty goal and Hills had added twenty two unanswered points in a thirty minute dominant spell.

Many in the home support thought that Hills, now kicking down the slope to the Gartneval end of the ground, would extend their lead easily, but their Ayrshire visitors had other ideas. Although home wingers Jimmy Griffith and Ciaran Callaghan continued to ring alarm bells in the Ardrossan defence each time they had the ball, Hills, try as hard as they might, did not cross the line again, such was the determination of the Ayrshire defence. But there were chances particularly when Bill Kenny had the ball twice in open space, but no support runners could reach him and the attacks fizzled out. Hills relied for scoreboard progress on the unerring right boot of Euan Brown, who kicked three second half penalty goals to take his personal tally to nineteen points for his afternoon’s work. Ardrossan to their credit did come back into with a well worked try from their open field runners which was converted, but brave HiIls defence in the last ten minutes of the game stopped them for adding to their score, and closed them out from gaining a losing bonus point.

This was a well contested club game between two well prepared sides who gave their all in a very open fixture. There is only one game during the next three weeks of the autumn Internationals. Hills entertain St. Boswells in the second round of the BT National Cup at Hughenden on FRIDAY the 17th November with a 20.00 KO.

Hills 1st XV: Craig Colvin, Jimmy Griffith (Scott McMillan), Scott Halliday,Euan Brown, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Dan Williams, Mark Barrowman, Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Maurice Adams (Ross Fergusson), Bill Kenny, Chris Warnock, James Reekie, Conor Ferguson (Ryan Reilly), Owen Gemmell (C) Subs all used.

Report: Bernie Mitchell
Pictures: Hamish Adamson

Lest We Forget

Given the constant churn in the number of players and their guests who use Hughenden as their playing/social base, it would not be surprising if some were not fully aware of the origins of our Club. There is sufficient historical material on the main Sports Club website – – to satisfy anyone who wishes to know more. Briefly, it can be stated that the grounds at Hughenden and the Memorial pavilion were opened on the 24th May 1924 and the tablets which can be seen at the pitch end of the Yill hoose ( Sports bar ) were inscribed with the names of those from Hillhead High School, staff and pupils, who lost their lives during the Great War ; a further panel was added in 1948 to commemorate those lost during World War 2.

As we approach this year’s Remembrance Sunday, the 12th November, we shall hear once again at services the familiar words of the WW1 poets – Binyon, Sassoon, McSorley, Brooke, Graves etc. – which many of us have grown up with. No less eloquent or memorable are some of the words spoken by the Very Rev. Dr. John Smith, when he dedicated the WW1 panel in 1924. He said :

“When, as is natural enough with the passage of years , we incline to take Hughenden for granted simply as our ground, we should do well to ponder on the toll of youth that was its price. Only their renown has come back to us , but their names are deeply graven on the tablets of memory”.

Boxes for donations to the Earl Haig Poppy Fund can be found at the café ground floor bar and also at the bar on the first floor.


Hills Unconvincing Win Against Brave Orkney Side

Hillhead/Jordanhill 31 points Orkney 25 points

While taking nothing away from a very brave Orkney side, which kept competing for the full eighty minutes, the Hills players and their supporters were left somewhat underwhelmed by their own performance. When they managed to pass the ball well through the hands, two excellent tries were scored. First of all debut full back, Euan Brown, opened out from his own twenty two, sensing the visitors were thin on their right flank. Stand off Rory Harte linked effectively to put left winger Ciaran Callaghan away to scamper unimpeded for fully sixty metres and backed up well to take the offload to run in behind the posts. Then the combative James Lowry broke from deep to set up Callaghan with his own scoring opportunity which he finished off clinically by rounding two opponents to touch down. Euan Brown converted one of the tries and added three penalty goals to take Hills to twenty one points to thirteen at the interval, Orkney having scored a try out wide which was unconverted, but succeeded with two penalties from Adam Watt.

From a Hills viewpoint, the second period would best be described as dysfunctional, such were their difficulties experienced in generating any pace or combined intensity in their play. Certainly one of the reasons for the absence of any fluency was Orkney’s strength and obstinacy in both the contact area and the breakdown, where the visitors were able to slow down Hills delivery and frustrate them. But the principal reason for the discomfort was poor execution of basic skills, which saw overlaps squandered and passing moves halted due to handling errors and poor ball retention. As it was, it took a good break through the middle of the field from second rower, Bill Kenny, to restore smiles to the faces of the Hills supporters when he touched down between the posts. Brown’s right boot added a further five second half points. For a club which began its travel at 22.30 on the Friday evening ferry from Stromness to Aberdeen, Orkney’s second half resilience was remarkable. Their two late tries, one from an interception, left Watt their kicker with a conversion from in front of the posts to give them their losing bonus point. He obliged to send his side on their long journey home with something for their endeavours. Orkney deserved it; Hills, if they had managed to fall over the line for their fourth and try bonus point, would have been embarrassed.

At fulltime, Hills head coach, Dean Kelbrick, was less than impressed with his side’s efforts. Certainly a much better all round performance will be required to defeat Ardrossan, who have been something of a bogey side to the Hills in recent league seasons, in the next NL 3 game. The fixture kicks off at 14.00 next Saturday, the 4th November, at Hughenden.

Hills 1st XV: Euan Brown, Dan Williams, James Lowry (Jimmy Griffith), Scott Halliday, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Darren Knox, Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Blair Mackenzie (Mark Barrowman), Helian Bourrel (Ryan Reilly), Bill Kenny, James Reekie, Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell (C) Subs all used.