Hills end-of-season revival continues
Hillhead Jordanhill 31 points | Orkney 12 points
ON A FINE SPRING MORNING, watched by a sizeable crowd of former players attending the 30th anniversary lunch, Hills end of season revival continued in their defeat of a spirited Orkney side by three goals and two tries to one goal and one try. Hills excelled in the first half with their willingness to play an open game, playing up the slope to the clubhouse end. Although Orkney enjoyed scrum domination in the first forty minutes, they were unable to stitch together many periods of continuity play such was the commitment and first time tackling of the Hills midfield and fringe defences. Scrum half Alex Gibbons was the catalyst for Hills first score when he stole Orkney ball at the base of a scrum to initiate a long range attack with the ball being handed well by the three quarters to take play into the Orkney twenty two. Open side Scott McMiillan then drove on, offloading to no. 8 Conor Ferguson who then expertly fed inside for rampaging second row Chris Warnock to crash over the line unopposed. Rory Harte’s conversion rattled the post, but the Hills were up and running. Their second try was not long delayed and Rory Harte was the prime mover here, first of all feeding the insatiable Chris Warnock who made a large dent in the Orkney defensive line. Quick repossession from the ruck allowed Rory space on the blind side to float a long pass to unmarked right winger Ash Rajasooriya to score in the corner. Rory Harte added the goal points with a fine conversion across the face of the posts. Some slack play from the Hills pack in their own half then allowed Orkney into the game and they scored a rather easy try to the left of the posts but missed the conversion. This stung the Hills back into action and several sweeping movements up the slope with Preston “Mighty Atom” McGoldrick, Craig Colvin and the ubiquitous Chris Warnock all influential allowed Scott Halliday sufficient room to squeeze over the in the left hand corner to score. On the balance of play, the half time score of seventeen points to five was fair.
Any hopes that Orkney harboured of narrowing the gap between the sides quickly evaporated at the start of the second half. An intense Hills attack in the visitors’ twenty two with “The Mighty Atom” and Scott McMillan prominent produced some desperate defensive work from Orkney. A clearance kick was charged down by the alert Rory Harte who picked up the loose ball to score and then convert his own try. Hills now had their four try bonus point, but they continued to chase hard for more points. Once again quick distribution stretched the visitors defence but Jonny Hamilton-Potter still had some work to do before he could touch down for his side’s fifth and final try of the game. Rory Harte added goal points to take his side to thirty one points to seven ahead with the game entering the final quarter. Orkney however remained determined to make some mark on the game and finally found some form to put together some pleasing phases of continuity play to pressurise the home defence. Hills did not help their cause with two players being sent to the bin, but although Orkney added a try which they converted, the Hills were out of sight and the game finished with referee Greg Cameron’s whistle blowing up with a score of thirty one points to twelve in their favour.
This was a much happier Hills performance than those served up during the bleak midwinter months when nothing seemed to go right. Now the 1st XV squad and their coaches, Dean Kelbrick and Graham Blackhall, can look forward with some confidence to the final two games of the 2018/2019 season, both away. On the 30th March the 1st XV play Murrayfield Wanderers at Roseburn Gardens while on the 6th April they play at Memorial Field against old rivals, Ardrossan Accies.