Boat Racing – for Real

On a glorious Saturday in early June, Captain Kitchener lead a Hills squad to the annual Bobath Dragon boat. Clear blue skies and a gentle breeze blowing across Loch Lomond made it a perfect day for the occasion.

Hills got off to a flying start, winning the first race of the day by a comfortable margin of at least one boat length, lead by the inspiring roar of Fiona’s voice and drumming to keep us all in sync.

Unfortunately the second race didn’t go so well, under advice from the Coxen we moved some team members around to even up the weight distribution. This, combined with getting a bit out of sync with each other and attempting to go too fast before we were at a steady pace lead to several clashed paddles, a 2nd place finish and a time several seconds off the original run.

The 3rd race was an enjoyable one for the spectators, we got off to a great start and everything was neck and neck between all three boats when we got hit by a wave which when combined with the unsecure seat for our drummer, lead to near-capsize situation and a (wo)man overboard!

After a brief moment of hesitation, the crew nobly decided to carry on as there was still everything to play for. The Coxen however had other ideas and ordered us to stop and to reverse back until the safety boat could pick up our stranded crew member. We knew all was well when we were affectionately referred to as “you b*#£erds” as Fiona bobbed her way to shore.

After claiming an “equipment malfunction” the event organisers generously let us complete a solo timed run to qualify for the final by achieving one of the 3 fastest times. We lined up with our eyes on the prize and everyone gave 110% as we managed to produce our best time of the day, shaving 3 seconds to our previous PB. Unfortunately we missed out on the final by a precise 0.14 seconds; so close, yet so far. We could hold our heads high knowing that the finalists were seasoned contenders, we gave them a good run for their money.

Over £1,000 has been raised already for this great cause thanks to Kitch and donations are still kindly received as his Just Giving page is open for a while longer. We all concurred that we should put in a team next year as it was a great day out for a fantastic cause.

Reporting by Andrew Park

New Hillhead Jordanhill Women’s Head Coach Required

Hillhead Jordanhill Women, the current BT Premier League and Sarah Beaney Cup champions, wish to appoint a dynamic Head Coach to coach alongside and co-ordinate a coaching team.

What are we looking for?

If you are ambitious, driven, and a good team player who wishes to take their coaching skills to the next level then we would like to hear from you.

The applicant can have either a backs or forwards specialism. You will be willing to combine your skills and knowledge with the rest of the coaching team to maximise the strengths of that team. You will possess or be aspiring towards a UKCC Level 3 award.

You can view and download the job description here. Applications for this position are invited and to be submitted to Fiona Dorman at fiona.dorman@live.co.uk by 18 May 2018 at 5 pm. Interviews will be week beginning 28 May 2018.

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

Back to school for Hills’ coaches

Coaches from the minis section and also senior players from the Men’s 1XV, 2XV and 2As made up more than half the participants on a recent UKCC Level 1 course at Hughenden. Over the course of two evening sessions and a full day session, this was one of the SRU’s largest ever early years coaching courses. 

A group discussion between Hills’ coaches.

A hugely enjoyable and intensive learning experience for all concerned led by professionals from the SRU. The course educators included Hills’ own Lindsey Smith, current Women’s 1XV and Scotland player, and David “Mini” Mitchell, former Men’s 1XV player and now lecturer.

The Hills’ coaching group after successfully passing the course!

Featuring hands on practical fun activities, it demonstrates Hills’ commitment to getting the coaching right for all our youngsters while providing a fun and safe environment for them to thrive as they start their rugby careers.

Want To Help Out?

If you’re interested in helping out with the Hills Mini section, please get in touch with Ken or Ali on mini-rugby@hjrfc.com. All coaches must have completed the Rugby Ready online course and also completed a PVG check. 

Words: Alisdair Matheson
Pictures: Hamish Adamson & @eck84

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.

Festival of rugby in the West End of Glasgow

This weekend sees a smorgasbord of rugby in the West End of Glasgow. Four matches will be played at Hughenden, over Saturday 7th April and Sunday 8th April.

The feature match is on Sunday 8th April, when our league winning Women’s 1XV will take on Stirling County in the semi final of the Sarah Beaney Cup. Prior to that, both the Men’s 1XV and 2XV are playing at home in important league matches, which will go a long way to determining final positions in the league table. Our youth section is also playing this weekend, with our U18 Girls team taking on Biggar in the Cup.

Women’s 1XV battle Stirling County in the cup

After being runner up three years in a row, the Hilljills finally got their hands back on the Sarah Beaney Cup in 2017. They won’t want to relinquish it easily, so expect a strong performance. Hills have already beaten Stirling County twice this season, including a 79-5 thumping at home on a cold January Friday night, which has proved a popular night for rugby in the West End.

Men’s 1XV take on Haddington

The Men’s 1XV take on Haddington RFC in what is an important match for both teams. Hills are nine points behind Gordonians, who play their last game on Saturday away. A couple of five point wins in their last two games could see Hills leapfrog Gordonians into seventh place. Haddington are in a four-way relegation battle and will be desperate for a result. Pre-match lunch available, please contact John MacLean ASAP

Top Table Clash for Men’s 2XV

The Men’s 2XV have two matches remaining in the 2017/18 season and are currently sitting third in their league. We require two wins from two to maintain this position as our local rivals Glasgow Academicals are snapping at our heels. Our opponents are Hamilton 3XV, who are second in the league, in what is expected to be a tight match. Hills narrowly lost 17-12 away in December at Hamilton.

Cup run continues for U18’s Girls

The U18 girls take on Biggar, on Sunday, in the Semi Final of the U18 Girls Club Cup. The girls have had nothing short of a stellar cup run so far, which is great to see for Girls rugby in the West End. Winning 54-0 against Annan at home in the first round, then beating Cartha QP 0-55 away, followed by a 5-55 win against Lismore Girls on Friday 23rd March. Expect plenty of tries and a strong contest, as Biggar also won their last match 55-5.

Match schedules

With all four matches being played at home, there is plenty of rugby in the West End on offer this weekend. The schedule for Saturday and Sunday is as follows:

Saturday 7th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Men’s 1XV v Haddington 1XV, 1500 KO, 1XV pitch

Saturday 7th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Men’s 2XV v Hamilton 2XV, 1500 KO, Great Western Road pitch

Sunday 8th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Girls U18 v Biggar, 1200 KO, Great Western Road pitch

Sunday 8th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Women’s 1XV v Stirling County, 1400 KO, 1XV pitch

Local professional side, Glasgow Warriors, are also playing on Saturday 7th April, KO at 1615. The matched will be shown live in The Yill Hoose. As if you didn’t need more of an excuse to come out and support your local club!

As always, team cards will follow on later this week via social media. You can also keep up to date with latest developments on rugby in the West End on Twitter via @HJRFC and @hilljillsrugby.

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.