Hills 2XV Continue Their Unbeaten Run

In what was to be the toughest match of their season so far the Hills 2’s took on West of Scotland 2XV, a healthy rivalry to put it mildly. West were clipping at our heels in second place in the West Reserve League 1, so it was an important fixture.

The tone of the match was set early on to be a tight game but Hills scored an early try by Nathan McCann putting us up to 7-0. Discipline in the ruck was not the Hills forte however and our penalty count against finally resulted in a successful penalty kick for West.

Hills were denied what should have been a penalty try after a high tackle prevented from crossing the line. Alas the referee didn’t give it and the match went on.

After putting pressure on their line for a good while, our hearts sank as West intercepted the ball and sprinted down the line to score. A galling moment for players and spectators alike.

7-10 at half time, the top table clash was holding its promises, and it was far from over.

Hills starting the second half gunning down the slope and converting pressure through James Maddox crossing the line for our second try. The tension increased further as West replied with a try of their own. With the score line at 12-15 going into the final ten minutes it was unsure what way the match was going to go.

Soon though, Hills was again bringing the game in West 22’s, and a Northern Irish wrecking ball in the form of Adam Eakin powered from 15m out over the line to take the score the match, with West players hanging off him as he went.

The final minutes of the game were electric, West throwing all their last effort into an empowered Hills defence which would break…
Hills 2XV 19-15 West 2XV final score, raising fists for the hosts.

Notable performances included flanker Tom Primrose who was an ever present force on the pitch, Fergus Denton for a clearance kick more questionable than Tiam’s choice in post match attire. Men of the Match went to the French dream team pairing of Alban and Hugo in the back line who consistently bring it up a notch and are forever reliable. Shout out to the their French entourage that just about doubled the spectators.

So will the Multicoloured Men from Hughenden continue their dominance over the West Reserve 1 league? Absolutely #TwosDontLose

Report by Will McLean

Good Performance but Tough Outcome

Hillhead Jordanhill 17 points – Gordonians 25 points

This defeat was a disappointing outcome for the Hills players, coaches and supporters in that, despite all their efforts exerted in a much improved performance, Gordonians overturned a 17-15 score in the home team’s favour in the final five minutes of this engrossing encounter to run out winners by 25 points to 17, thereby denying Hills a consolation bonus point.

From the start Hills, hitting down the Hughenden slope, looked lively both at scrum and line out where Charlie Smillie proved a reliable provider of ball . The midfield triangle of Euan Brown at stand off, and Rory Harte and Damien Genocchio in the centre were all full of running but the visitors defence stood firm until the 15th minute when the lively Andy Blair at scrum half nipped over from close range to score a fine try which Euan Brown converted. Gordonians, however, were no slouches in attack and they came back strongly at the Hills by finishing well for three tries to take the score at halftime to 15 points to 10 in their favour, Euan Brown having kicked a penalty goal.

The next thirty minutes were full of end to end of end stuff with both XV’s making excellent progress through their big ball carriers. For Hills, Chris Warnock and Alec Cameron excelled in all the unglamorous chores of ball carrying, while Charlie Smillie ran like a demented giraffe any time he received the ball in open play. But it fell to “Goldenballs”, Rory Harte to put the points on the board with a solo move, which involved more spins that “Strictly Come Dancing” provides, to score to the extreme left of the posts. Euan Brown nailed the conversion and Hills were in front with all their supporters nervously studying the time left.


But it was the visitors from Aberdeen who rose to the challenge to protect their unbeaten league record. Their forwards were relentless and remorseless in the closing minutes with eight phases of recycling producing a close range try which their fullback converted, his first successful kick of the game. Immediate breakdown pressure on the restart provided another opportunity for the Gordonians full back Crawford to kick at goal, and he was again accurate, making sure of his side’s victory with a well struck penalty from 35 metres. Gordonians were ecstatic while Hills were deflated but the losers will reflect on a spirited performance which they most take forward to their next game.

Saturday the 6th October finds Hills at Burnbrae with a KO 15.00. “West” have made a fine start to their season but if Hills can build on this performance this derby will be some game.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin (c) (Roger Webster), Jamie Franklin (Graham Davidson), Damien Genocchio, Rory Harte, Roger Webster (Jimmy Griffith), Euan Brown, Andy Blair (Craig Colvin), Ross Ferguson, Harry Perston, Paul Howell (Blair Mackenzie), Charlie Smillie, Chris Warnock, David Vallance (Chris Crome), Alec Cameron and Preston MA McGoldrick

Report/Pictures BBM

The Hilljills matchday squad proudly sporting their new playing kit

HillJills Battle Hard for Victory on the Road

Stirling County Women 28 – Hillhead Jordanhill Women 48

Aird Jardine, assisted by Rory Harte, travelled with their squad to Stirling County’s picturesque grounds, Bridehaugh.

Prior to the match Stirling were sat level with Hills having won all four of their opening matches, and as such the game was always going to be fierce test. True to their form, Stirling opened the scoring by crossing the whitewash in the first five minutes. The flow of the game soon changed and Hills began to assert their dominance, with physicality from the forwards and dynamic runs from the backs. Stirling weren’t completely out of the picture, scoring two tries to Hills’ four by the end of the first half.

HJ on the attack
HJ on the attack

Heather Lockhart really came into her stride during the second half, her trustworthy hands and big tackles saw her awarded Aird’s player of the match. The McMillan sisters, Louise (Captain) and Siobhan brought their A-game with clinical big hits, strong carries and troubled Stirling in the rucks. Centre duo, Hannah Smith and Abi Evans ran some greatly effective lines that had the Stirling defence working overtime, earning themselves a lion’s share of the tries. Mairi McDonald had a flawless game at Scrum Half, supplying the ball with clinical precision. Starting wings, Emma Barlow and Lucy Mills enjoyed their day, recording a try each – Emma continuing her impressive form having made the transition from Hockey to Rugby last season. Emma’s second half replacement, Juliet Ross also made an impression as a safe pair of hands and held the defensive line well. Lucy and Juliet have both recently made the seamless transition from age-grade rugby to senior rugby in the Scottish Premiership, with their performances justifying their place in the 1st XV squad.

Hills secure the set-piece
Hills secure the set-piece

Stand-Off, Phillipene Mias is new to the club, joining us from FC Grenoble Rugby. She’s made her name a top priority for Aird’s selection process, demonstrating this by controlling play with a calm and cool head, key attributes of a great 10. Later in the game Aimee Watson made some great tackles, hitting Stirling’s attack low and hard. Full back Amanda Jane had solid game managing the back 3 with experience and efficiency. Forwards, Hannah Telling and Kirsty McConnell brought their usual energy to pack, quick off the line in defence they ensured that Stirling were under constant pressure, hampering their attempts at progress. Stella Kyalikunda, Fiona Dorman, Kirsty Reid and Rachel Kerr all played their part in the success with their work rate and resolve. In summary, a great team effort all round by Hills!

Tries: Abi Evans (5), Hannah Smith, Lucy Mills, Emma Barlow
Conversions: Amanda Jane (4)

Second Half Torment for the Hills

Hillhead Jordanhill 0 points; Newton Stewart 27 points

By any measure of performance, this was, at times, a very disappointing display from the Hills. After 40 minutes, the sides were locked at 0-0, but in the second period of play visitors Newton Stewart found the extra gears that the Hills did not possess to take the game assuredly away from the home side to win convincingly by two goals, two tries and one penalty goal to no score. Yet Hills had their chances to put points on the board in the first half, but failed. A kick at goal in front of the posts was refused in favour of a scrum but the ball was fumbled out wide; a two to one chance in the Newton danger area was wasted; and poor handling and ball retention skills contributed to further Hills disappointments. Even the sin binning of the visitor’s stand off proved no catalyst to the Hills in their ability to score.

Newton Stewart made good use of the Hughenden slope to drive play towards the Hills goal line and their four tries came regularly throughout the second period of play. It was noticeable that Newton showed more patience with the ball in hand, going through the phases while their opponents seemed to treat the ball like a “hot potato” with poor off-loading and knocks on. Scrum half Andy Blair had a few good sniping runs, but these fizzled out due to lack of support. Rory Harte threatened on occasion to break the line, but even he struggled to make much impact on a very well organised visiting defence. There were some bright spots, however, with the Hills line out functioning well throughout the game and the scrummage occasionally showing determination in driving their opposition pack off the ball. But these were crumbs of comfort on a rich man’s table; and the collective effort from the Hills fell well short.

Next up for Hills at Hughenden on Saturday the 29th, KO 15.00, are Gordonians who have made a fine start to their season with four consecutive wins. Hills will require to wipe this display quickly from the memory banks, and focus on playing a more disciplined game to return to winning ways.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin, Damien Genocchio (Jamie Franklin), Rory Harte, Callum Weir (Damien Genocchio), Ciaran Callaghan, Euan Brown, Andy Blair, Ross Jackson (Nathan McCann), Harry Perston, Ryan Williamson, James Acheson, James Mclellan, David Vallance (Harry Singh), Conor Ferguson (Chris Crome) and Dan Williams (C)

Report: BBM
Feature Picture: Hamish Adamson

Hills Win on the Road

Haddington 19 points Hillhead Jordanhill 20 points

The last five minutes of this game were unnecessarily tight for the Hills players and supporters at the well appointed grounds and Clubhouse of the Haddington Club in East Lothian. Certainly Haddington had made life very uncomfortable for the Hills in the opening quarter when they attacked incessantly and were deservedly seven points ahead at the end of the first quarter. But then the visitors found their bearings and controlled the game for the next fifty minutes. Euan Brown opened the scoring with a well struck penalty from the right hand touchline into the breeze, and then quick passing, featuring Rory Harte, Dan Williams and Graham Davidson, allowed full back Craig “Stick Man” Colvin to weave his way through for a fine try. There were other notable contributions from the speedy Hills three quarters in the first half, principally from two glorious breaks from well within his own half from inside centre Callum Weir, both of which suffered from immediate lack of support in the home danger area. In the first period, the Hills forward pack performed well in the set scrummage against a much heavier Haddington opposition, but touchline frailties remained.

For most of the second half Hills continued to do all the running and pressing with both backs and forwards showing fine handling skills. Graham Davidson finished well in the right hand corner, after good leading up work from Euan Brown, Charlie Smillie and Rory Harte. Hills third and final try was one for the rugby purists. Sub winger Damien Gennochio fielded a wayward penalty from Haddington, and then moved the ball quickly infield from where it went smartly through five pairs of hands to allow Craig Colvin to motor through the disintegrating defence from fifteen metres to score in the corner. Euan Brown nailed the conversion well from the touchline, which in the final context of the game was to prove the difference between a narrow win or a narrow defeat. “Hills” then became very profligate in attack failing to finish on at least three occasions when it looked easier to score than not. But credit to Haddington who made a very spirited revival against the visitors who began to suffer from injuries which necessitated many positional changes. While victory was well deserved, the margin was very slender and may help focus the minds of the “Hills” squad, as they prepare for three very tough games over the next three weekends.

On the 22nd and 29th of September respectively, Hills have home games against joint NL 3 leaders, Newton Stewart and then Gordonians while on the 6th October they play West of Scotland at Burnbrae. Three cracking fixtures and it is hoped that as many supporters as possible will provide their backing. Mon’ the Hills!

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin, Graham Davidson (Damien Gennochio) , Rory Harte , Callum Weir (Roger Webster), Ciaran Callaghan, Euan Brown, Dan Williams , Ross Jackson (Ryan Williamson), Harry Perston, Ross Fergusson (Paul Howell) Ryan Williamson (Scott McMillan) Charlie Smillie (James Acheson), James Acheson (Calum Weir), Conor Ferguson and Scott McMillan (Harry Singh)

Text & Picture: BBM

Thrilling Victory Against Carrick

Hillhead Jordanhill 35 points Carrick 22 points

With five minutes left in this engrossing struggle and the scoreboard showing Hills just ahead at 28 points to 22 , visitors Carrick had their hosts on the ropes, such was the relentless nature of their attacks. It looked odds on that their flying right winger would score a try in the corner, but Hills stand out captain, “desperate” Dan Williams produced a wonderful cover try saving tackle to force the attacker into touch. Somehow Hills then scrambled the ball clear from the danger area and worked the play downfield. There followed a wonderful passage of play between backs, Scott Halliday and Craig Colvin, and second rower, Charlie Smillie, to create quick ball for Ciaran Callaghan in the wide left wing channel to race for the line. A couple of phases later, open side wing forward, Preston McGoldrick, “The Mighty Atom”, plunged over the line for a try and Rory Harte converted to turn possible defeat for the Hills into certain victory. When the admirable Gavin Hutton, the match referee, blew for off side, Carrick, who had contributed so much by way of resilience to the pulsating contest, tripped off with only a single point try bonus for all their efforts, while the Hills stashed five from the outcome.

Such a denouement, however, seemed most unlikely after the first forty minutes of this game which Hills bossed to the extent that they were twenty three points to five up at the interval, although there were signs of occasional touch line frailty and indifferent scrummaging. Stand off Euan Brown directed the attacking traffic up the Hughenden slope with considerable skill. He should have scored off his first break of the match but slipped going for the line. He made no mistake with his second tilt at the line to touch down, and then converted Rory Harte’s score in the left hand corner from the touchline. Carrick were able to bring a temporary halt to the flow with a score from their dynamic forward, Blair Jardine, but Brown was soon back on the score sheet with two well struck penalty goals. Just before the end of the half a movement involving Dan Williams and Rory Harte, whose ball distribution skills and tenacity were first class throughout the game, created just enough space for Ciaran Callaghan to touch down.

Although Ciaran Callaghan was quick to add another try, the rest of the third quarter and most of the final twenty minutes belonged to the visitors. Apart from the efforts of the comeback kid, Alec Cameron, in all the unglamorous rugby chores of tackling and foraging for the ball on the ground, “ Hills” seemed to suffer from some bout of collective amnesia as to ball winning and use. Certainly Carrick upped their game, won all the “fifty/ fifty” balls and all the arm wrestles to take the contest towards its final flourish. Hills for their part had to shuffle their pack due to routine knocks and rearrange their back line to accommodate Euan Brown’s departure with a leg knock. But all came well in the end due to their resilience and what seemed slightly superior fitness. A great game for all players and both sets of enthusiastic supporters.

Next Saturday, the Hills take to the road to visit East Lothian to renew acquaintances with Haddington RFC. There is a 15.00 KO. The team bus will leave from just outside the Western Tennis Club at 12.00 sharp with space for members and friends.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin, Sam Stokes (Jamie Franklin), Rory Harte (Dan Williams), Scott Halliday, Ciaran Callaghan, Euan Brown (Rory Harte), Dan Williams (Andy Blair), Ross Jackson, Harry Singh (Harry Perston), Ryan Williamson (Ross Fergusson), John McLellan (Ryan Williamson), Alec Cameron, Preston McGoldrickand James Acheson

Text & Picture BBM

Narrow Defeat Away in Season Opener

St. Boswells 17 points Hillhead Jordanhill 14 points

There was much to admire in this fine performance from the Hills in their opening competitive fixture of the new 2018/2019 season, yet a first victory against their opposition remains elusive. It was not, however, for want of trying, as Hills consistently, whether down the slope with the breeze in the first half or against in the second, kept the ball alive with energetic passing and enthusiastic running. It was a fine break, and then a lung bursting run out of defence from stand off Rory Harte that led to the opening score . Left winger Ciaran Callaghan continued the move , and, after two rucks, newcomer Callum Weir ran in unopposed between the post to score, Rory Harte adding the goal points. St Boswell’s countered with a try of their own, but Hills dynamic play and solid scrummaging proved difficult for the home side to subdue, and another flowing move with captain Dan Williams prominent resulted in centre Scott Halliday touching down for a try which Rory Harte converted.

A fourteen points to five scoreline after forty minutes certainly did not flatter the Hills, such had been their commitment both in attack and defence, but the going became significantly tougher in the second half, as St. Boswells began to make their extra poundage in the pack count. Yet Bill Kenny in the Hills second row time after time stole opposition ball, and gave a stirring lead in the open with his driving play. But the dynamic of the game changed, even though the home team played the final quarter one man short due to some ill advised attempt at pugilism. Injuries to tight head, Ross Fergusson (ankle) and hooker, Harry Perston (badly cut forehead) disrupted the Hills and Boswells, stung by their perceived injustice at the sending off, raised their game in the final quarter to record two scores and thereby inch ahead at seventeen to fourteen with eight minutes left.

But the Hills valiantly took the game to Boswells with the last few plays of the half. Replacement scrum half, Andy Blair , broke through from sixty yards out, but his dash to the line was halted due to lack of immediate support. Yet there was one last chance for glory when Hills after a series of rucks on the home twenty two, were awarded a penalty. A cross kick to the unmarked Callaghan on the left wing looked like producing a winner, but the referee called it back for offside and with that, Hills hopes of causing an upset were over.

Hills play their first game at home next Saturday, the 8th September, with a 15.00 KO when they host NL 3 newcomers, Carrick , who had an impressive win in their first national league game. A good support from all members and friends would be appreciated by the 1st XV squad and coaching staff.

Hills 1st XV – Craig Colvin (Dan Williams), Sam Stokes (Craig Colvin) , Scott Halliday, Callum Weir, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Dan Williams (C) (Andy Blair) , Ross Jackson, Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Ross Ferguson (Blair Mackenzie) Ryan Williamson, Bill Kenny, David Vallance, Conor Ferguson, Scott McMillan. Subs Graham Davidson

Text/Picture by our intrepit reporter BBM

Hilljills with Scotland 7s

HJRFC is proud to have several members of our women’s squad representing Scotland during a magnificent summer of sevens.

Our girls Ellie Burr, Eve Thomson and Zoe Toner have been working hard over the summer break as they train with the U18 Scotland 7s squad, coached by our own Graeme Blackhall.Eve Thomson was selected to play in two Home Nations U18 tournaments in July – the first one was at Peffermill, Edinburgh on 7th/8th and second one in Birmingham on 21st/22nd.
After two days of tough competition and finishing 4th overall, Coach Graeme said “The girls have learnt a huge amount from their experiences this weekend and I can only praise them for their attitude and determination. Although the scoreboard didn’t always reflect their efforts, they should take massive confidence from how far they have come as a squad.”

The club stands behind the girls as they prepare for an internal exhibition match at BT Murrayfield this Sunday 12th August.

We are also proud to stand behind several members of our senior women’s team who have been named in the Scotland 7s training squad ahead of the second and final leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia (Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September). Hannah Smith, Abi Evans, Mairi McDonald and Louise McMillan have been training hard during the summer months as they hope to secure a top-ten overall spot to guarantee a spot in next year’s Grand Prix Series.
All the best ladies! We are so proud of you and all of your accomplishments!

Pictures: Estelle Rodden

Hills Call to Next Generation Players

Hillhead Jordanhill RFC, Jordanhill School and other West End schools have forged a strong link and will play as Hills. All pupils keen for more Rugby are welcome.

Hillhead Jordanhill RFC are seeking to develop players, boys and girls, from U13 to U18 for season 2018-19 and beyond. Hills rugby is in addition to any rugby provided through schools and Hills continue to provide mini rugby on Sunday mornings.

We would like to invite students from local schools including: Hillhead High, Gaelic, Hyndland, Cleveden, St Thomas Aquinas, Knightswood, and John Paul Schools to join. Students outside of those schools are also encouraged to join Hills, where all will have the opportunity to train midweek and play rugby at the weekend. The training and matches should be seen as an addition to rugby currently offered in school.

Schedule

Boys across U13-U18 will play under the Hills banner in the Barbarian Conference in season 2018-19 . Boys will play every Saturday morning. Hills already run successful Girls U15 and U18 rugby in the Mirage Conference, an U14 Girls team will be added with the support of Jordanhill School.

We are excited about what we can achieve and hopefully you can support us in being successful.

Any question can be directed to boys-rugby@hjrfc.com or girls-rugby@hjrfc.com

Hills Women Appoint Fresh Coaching Team

Hills Women are delighted to announce the appointment of Aird Jardine as Head Coach for Women’s Rugby for Season 2018/19.  Aird joins us from Biggar RFC where he was the Women’s Head Coach, Under 18 Girls Coach, Under 16 Boys Coach and Coach at the Biggar Academy.

Aird will be responsible for providing and co-ordinating bi-weekly training sessions for the Women on Wednesdays and Thursday nights at 6:45 for 7pm, player profiling and match analysis. He will also be responsible for the provision of the Hills Junior Girl’s Academy.

Tonci Buzov, the Women’s Strength and Conditioning and Assistant Coach for Season 2017/18, will be retaining his role.  Tonci, a capped Croatian International and Head Coach of the Croatian International Mens squad, will also have the responsibility of mentoring our Forwards pack.  He will provide weekly strength and conditioning sessions on Monday nights throughout the playing season.

Hills Women are currently recruiting for a third coach.  Applications are initially only being accepted from internal candidates – watch this space for more information!

Hills Women train Wednesday and Thursday nights at 6:45 for 7pm. All level of ability is welcome – including those who have never picked up a ball before. Please bring suitable footwear for the hard surface (not trainers) and your own water bottle.