After forty minutes of this game played in the wide open undulating space of the Inverness High School pitch – Highland open their new Canal Park facility soon – the Hills found themselves forty points to seven adrift and looking at the wrong end of a severe hiding. Matters quickly righted themselves, however, in a much better second forty minutes with Hills responding in fine fashion by scoring five tries, four of which were converted to put a much better shine on the outcome. Hills therefore gathered their first point of the 2017 /2018 league programme with their try bonus point.
One reason for the half time differential was the overhead conditions with a stiff wind blowing down the pitch which Highland used to their considerable advantage by kicking high and wide from penalties and first phase possession to the corners from where their physical pack outmauled the lighter Hills pack. Additionally the Hills took far too long to raise the intensity of their game, based on quick recycling, and allowed Highland to boss the proceedings for most of the first half. When Hills did take it to their hosts, they did not look too convincing with stand off Rory Harte inspiring his team and the thin travelling support by dancing over a for a fine try which he converted.
The second half finally allowed Hills to reveal some of their running skills and understanding of the coaches game plan, when they found the intensity required in the adversity of the half time score. Offloading at speed coupled with close backing up produced tries for Scott McMillan and Rory Harte, while in the wider left wing channel, youngster Ciaran Callaghan showed good finishing instincts by touching down twice. Hills,however, did not get full marks for their second half showing, as poor game management when “Highland” had fourteen men – the home team had two players yellow carded on separate occasions – let them in for two soft tries. A more focused performance for the full eighty minutes would have produced a much closer final scoreline. But all associated with the Hills, committee, players and supporters, should take considerable comfort from the second forty minutes played in Inverness, and hope that form can be taken forward to the next few games.
Next Saturday the 30th September finds Hills playing at home against their rivals from Lanarkshire, Dalziel, in game 5 of the NL3 programme. Kick off at Hughenden is 15:00. Please try to support the club in what will be a tight, tense game.
Highland 50pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 33pts
Hills 1st XV Squad: Craig Colvin, Jamie Maddox, Scott Busby(C), Scott Halliday, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Graham Morton (Darren Knox), Ross Jackson (Blair Mackenzie), Harry Perston (Harry Singh) Maurice Adams, Jonny Kinniburgh, Bill Kenny, Conor Ferguson (Martin Malone), Ryan Reilly and Scott McMillan
Next Saturday the 30th September finds Hills playing at home against their rivals from Lanarkshire, Dalziel, in game 5 of the NL3 programme. Kick off at Hughenden is 15.00. Please try to support the club in what will be a tight, tense game