Hills Win A Game Of Two Halves…. Just!
Hillhead Jordanhill 23 points Ardrossan Accies 20 points
It was the last minute of an engrossing contest when the referee penalised Ardrossan, who were deep inside the “Hills” half of the field. Rory Harte, who up to this point had enjoyed an immaculate game at stand-off for the “Hills”, arrowed his kick some fifty metres down the line to set his side up for a last tilt at the visitors. The home lineout, however, had been misfiring all game, but Chris Warnock, at the line out tail, rose majestically to win the ball. Dan Williams, Hills scrum half and captain, set his line away and, at the ensuing breakdown, Ardrossan offended, and “Hills” had a penalty to win from some thirty metres out. The outwardly calmest man on the field and ground, Rory Harte, stepped up and slotted the kick. The referee blew immediately for full time and “Hills” had won the game.
This National 3 league game was a classic one of “two halves “. The hosts dominated the first half comfortably to stand twenty points to ten ahead at the interval, but the visitors from North Ayrshire had the “Hills” in a fierce arm lock for most of the second half until Rory Harte had the final say. Ardrossan had settled quickly and their energetic stand off, Steven Lewis, put their first points on the board with a well struck penalty. The game and its flow was brilliantly stage managed by the power plays of the respective stand off halves, whose respective styles showcased all the talents of the king of positions. Harte was all dancing with graceful feet movement and side steps and a kick from hand worthy of a professional player, whereas his rival, Lewis, was all strategic vision with wonderful passing skills. “Hills” soon recovered from the early setback to score tries from Andy Blair at scrum half and Damien Genocchio in the thirteen channel. Second rower, Chris Warnock, was prominent in the lead up work for both of these scores, and then Rory Harte added a penalty goal. Ardrossan threatened briefly with a fine movement down their wide channel on the left flank which led to a score at the posts which was converted. “Hills” fought back and, as he has done so often, Rory Harte found space with a deft chip over the visitor’s defence to allow right winger Graham Davidson to pick up and dodge through a splintered rear-guard to score. Harte added the goal points with a fine kick from the right hand side of the posts, and “Hills” were looking solid with a half time score of twenty to ten points.
Kicking downhill and for the first five minutes of the second half, “Hills” were still in command, and they should have added to their score with a fine sweeping left to right movement in the Ardrossan danger area but the chance was lost. This seemed to energise the visitors but deflate the hosts. Ardrossan began to win the breakdowns and had all the touchline possession. The scrums became uncontested when the visitors had front row problems and this depowered the “Hills” for whom new boy Darryl Elvin, had a fine debut on the loose head side. With prompting from Lewis allied to his own finishing skills, Ardrossan scored two tries both of which were unconverted and had the momentum. But “Hills” dug deep and finally weathered the storm to march the game back into the Ardrossan half and the eventual dramatic denouement.
“Hills” for their next game, Saturday the 3rd November, travel to play Orkney. Thanks to ongoing fund raising and some subsides from the SRU, the squad will fly to Kirkwall on the 08.30 Saturday morning flight and return late afternoon to Glasgow on the 16.00 scheduled service. For anyone on holiday in Orkney, the KO is 11.30.
Words | Bernie Mitchell
Pictures | Hamish Adamson & Stuart Irvine