The Hills P7 squad were recently lucky enough to be invited to a pre-match tournament on the 3G at Scotstoun, the glittering prize on offer was a chance for four of the eight teams to play on the pitch at half-time, with the runners-up providing a Guard of Honour as the professionals of the Glasgow Warriors and Toyota Cheetahs took to the pitch.
On a night which started clear and crisp, and swiftly became wet and windy; Hills set-out against their opening opponents. In a group containing Paisley, Howe of Fife and Dumfries, Paisley were first up.
With each game only lasting 7 minutes, and no set-piece or rucking (players simply had to release and get back onside after a tackle, all re-starts were taps) the stage was set for running rugby. Against Paisley, our good support lines and overall pace saw Hills run away with a well deserved victory. First game of the year, and first win.
Howe of Fife proved a much stronger opposition, and their accuracy, size, pace and support proved too much for Hills. Beautiful tackles were executed, and defensive lines were set, but unfortunately Howe always seemed to be able to offload out of the tackle to a runner coming at pace. In the end we were undone by some very good rugby.
On to a decider against Dumfries Saints. A win, or a draw in which we scored first, would see us under the bright lights at half-time. It was a very closely fought match; crunching tackles, silky side-steps, and quick ball abounded. A score at one end was followed swiftly by a score at the other, with two very different teams unable to squeeze an advantage. Ultimately, the referee blew for full-time with the score at 2 each; unfortunately the first of these had been scored by Dumfries and Hills had to settle for providing the Guard of Honour.
The group have done a lot of training over the winter, and these games were a good chance to practice our running lines and handling. The team did well, and we are all looking forward to our first full game away to Irvine on the 4th of March (where we will endeavour to get them to stand still long enough for a proper squad photo).
Report by Stewart Robison, P7 Coach