Tag: #hillsrugby

A Glorious Day for Minis Rugby

We welcomed not just spectacular sunshine and GHK to Hughenden on Sunday 11 November but also a good
contingent of Warriors players courtesy of HJRFC sponsors McCrea Financial Services. Despite Remembrance Sunday parades which had depleted both clubs, GHK brought strong squads from P2-3 upwards for a 1000 start in the bright sunshine.

The squads were then treated to some top notch coaching tips from the professional players – amazing how much more they listen to someone from the Warriors than Mums and Dads! Everyone got well and truly stuck in and at least one of the Warriors ended up on his back in the mud. Massive thanks to Leila, Ratu and Samuela for joining us and very special thanks to legendary Dougie Hall for the P6-7 tackling and scrum coaching!

After a well-observed minute’s silence, we got down to the serious part of the day, the games. Great to play under blue skies at this time of the year and each team gave a good account of itself some with more success than others but always in a very friendly environment (at least among the coaches) with all hostilities brought to an end by the final whistle. Special kudos to Italian international back row Samuela Vunisa for refereeing his first ever match without ever needing the TMO.

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed yummy pasta from on site restaurant Cafe Source Too along with cupcakes and sport bottles again courtesy of McCrea Financial Services.

Let’s hope we have some more days like that before the weather closes in!

Text by Alisdair Matheson
Pictures © Craig Watson / www.craigwatson.co.uk / @CraigWatsonpix

Mini Rugby Madness and Glasgow Warriors at Hughenden

HJRFC and McCrea FS are delighted to confirm that Glasgow Warriors players will be at Hughenden this Sunday!
As sponsors of Hillhead Jordanhill Minis, McCreas are delighted to support the Hills Minis vs GHK match on Sunday 12th November, 10.00am to 12.30pm, and host parents to a breakfast roll and a cuppa.
If you haven’t done so already, please confirm you will be with us with your young ruggers, either through the Hills Minis Teamer system or at minis-rugby@hjrfc.com
We very much look forward to welcoming you to a marvellous morning of Mini Madness this Sunday!

Hills 2XV Take Down Dalziel Counterparts

On a sunny autumnal day, Hills 2nd XV dazzled Dalziel to come away with a 62 – 5 bonus point win. This win comes on the back of two disappointing losses but is the result of persistence in training. Frustrations have been evident in coaches Dougie and Stuart who see the potential in all reserve players, but finally hard work on handling drills has paid off.

The conditions were perfect at Jordanhill High School and for a number of the team this was a return to an old haunt. The match provided great entertainment with 10 tries consisting of a Hat-trick from Bourrel and first Hills tries for Smillie and Thompson. Similar targets set by the 1st XV were used for the 2nd XV and certainly the number of phases and number of attacks crossing the gain line were much higher than in recent weeks. The management of backs by Donaldson along with the changing angles and finding of gaps by centres Franklin and Mayes troubled Dalziel from start to finish.

Scoring started very early in the game with a first line break and collective finish. It was then the first Hills score for Smillie from a No.8 pick from a scrum close to Dalziel’s line, quick ball started the second phase to a waiting Donaldson who quickly passed onto Smillie who cut a great angle to break through the line to get between the uprights. The third try was touched down after a great forwards line out and release by Donaldson at 10 to Franklin who broke the attempted tackles from Dalziel centres. Hills fourth was Bourel’s first of the afternoon, an overthrown lineout gathered by Gillie, offloaded to Bourrel to crash through a challenging defence. Hills confidence was shining through, the forwards were punishing a soft Dalziel pack in the scrum as well contending well at every line out. Hills fifth try was very much a team try, the phase started within the Hills 22, good hands and running saw Franklin make a break running from to their 22 before facing a one on one with Dalziel fullback, a loose pass was made to Johnston who stretched out to catch above his head before gathering securely and headed straight for the line to touch down. Dalziel did manage to score one try as they capitalised on Hills not securing fringes while defending a maul after a lineout, Dalziel’s large pack was consuming defenders and their number 12 broke off on the blindside for a speedy sprint to the line. Mayes and Bourrel both crossed the line for tries six and seven before substitute Plunkett made it eight by stretching out to touch the ball right on the line. Try nine came after a lineout was picked up by McGoldrick to link with Franklin to off load to Thompson to cross the line. The final try was to be scored by Bourel to make it his hat-trick for the game.

Hills certainly played their game and at a speed that Dalziel could not keep up with. However, Hills were their own worst enemy at times giving away over 15 penalties, most of which were for coming in from the side and being offside. The defence was strong with many double tackles stopping Dalziel in their tracks. Handling and communication had improved greatly from recent weeks and with displays like this, there is no reason why Hills 2nd XV can’t climb the league table. There will be a well-earned break in matches but the squad will return to play away to Hamilton 3rd XV on Saturday 2nd December 2017.

Hills 2nd XV: Dale Coghill; Callum Kettles; Blair MacKenzie; Loïs Legendre; Charlie Smillie; Fraser Gillie; Steven Kay; Hélian Bourrel; Gaëtan Boyer; Tom Donaldson; Conor Thompson; Jamie Franklin; Ruaridh Mayes; Blair Johnston; Graham Davidson; Adam Plunkett; Preston McGoldrick; Tom Primrose; Johnny Kinniburgh.

Report & Picture by Martin Malone

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

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.

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.

2XV Take 5 Points from Physical Encounter

Hills 2nd XV emerge victorious with 5 point after physical encounter away to Carrick 2nd XV. In a match that had two red cards and one penalty try it would be fair to say there were some fiery moments. Hills kept there cool and saved all their tries for the second half to win 31 points to 7.

The first half had no scores but plenty of action for the medium sized crowd to enjoy. Carrick brought a physical game plan which was met with equally strong defence. Big tackles close to fringes from Charlie Smillie and captain James Reekie stifled Carrick’s attacking options. With Hills misfiring at lineout time they were unable to build the pressure on the home team. Before the first half was over Chris Kelly was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle. Unfortunately video technology was not available at Rozelle park as the card was very suprising.

The second half saw the second red card being produced. This time Carrick’s number ten was sent off with 35 minutes or rugby left to play. Then Hills decide to step up a gear. The first try scored by the Graham Davidson, running from deep after a quick turnover. The standoff Angus Lauder converted easily and Hills had their tails up. Hills had now fixed the lineout problems and were playing further up the pitch. A penalty kick thirty meters out cooly sloted by the up and coming number ten built the lead again. The second try was another long range effort. This was scored by substitute Rory Wilson who galloped down the wing untouched to dot down under the posts. Seventeen points in front and Hills turned it on again. Pressuring Carrick’s line the ball found its way to Graham Davidson again who lived up to the name “Bambi” and skipped over to score. The infallible Angus Lauder again added the extras.

Discipline became an issue for both teams in the second half. Both not willing to give an inch. Carrick kicked a penalty to touch to attempt to get some foothold back in the game. After a well set driving lineout was taken down two meters from the line the referee had little choice but to award a penalty try.

With time running out and Hills on the last attack of the game there was a feeling the bonus point would be a bridge too far. Back row Loïs Legendre had other ideas! A sneaky pick and go on the oppositions 22 meter line resulted in the flying French man sliding over the line. Angus was handed another easy kick and the game and maximum points went to the boys from Hughenden Road.

Final score Carrick 7 – Hills 31.

2XV Squad: Darryl Elvin, Callum Kettles, Francisco Gomez Acuña, Charlie Smillie, Graeme Milloy, Loïs Legendre, Sam Bancroft, Hélian Bourrel, James Reekie, Angus Lauder, Graham Davidson, Chris Crome, Ruaraidh Mayes, Padraig Cuthbertson, Gaëtan Boyer, Tom Primrose, Chris Kelly, Rory Wilson, Grahame Cannell.

Coaching: Stuart Irvine, assisted by Ryan Williamson
Report: Stuart Irvine

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

McCrea’s and HJRFC Renew Partnership

As announced today, Hillhead Jordanhill RFC are delighted to share the news of the sponsorship renewal from long standing partners McCrea Financial Services.

McCrea’s support throughout the years have benefited rugby development for all our teams at Hughenden. The continuation of this partnership is a fantastic news for all Hills players and supporters.

Hills President Andy Scott commented: ‘I am delighted we are renewing our ongoing partnership with McCreas who have been a great supporter of HJRFC. Everyone at the club is looking forward to developing our relationship further through imaginative activity.’

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.