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