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