Caithness RFC 12 points | Hillhead Jordanhill RFC 29 points
IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE VERY NORTH OF SCOTLAND for a game which lasts only 80 minutes. A total of some 560 miles to Caithness’s Millbank ground in Thurso and back in fact. Visitors on domestic league business have to undertake the journey only once a season, whereas the hosts, Caithness, have to make 11 reverse visits to the central belt to complete their programme. Their continuing commitment and organisation have to be admired and also their competitiveness. Because of the windy conditions which prevailed throughout on the exposed grounds, this game split into two halves: Hills won the first half by 29 points to 0, and then lost the second half by 12 points to 0.
Hills were at their most commanding in the first 40 minutes when they established huge territorial advantage in the Caithness twenty-two. They monopolised possession, and the first score was the best of a busy afternoon with a flowing right to left movement. Scott Halliday made a classic outside break after repeated recycling to offload into the grateful hands of Ruairi Taylor, intruding from full back, who raced to the line unopposed. Finlay Keegan converted with a wonderful kick from the left hand touchline. Five minutes later he was repeating his feat, but this time from the right hand touchline, adding the extras to some Rory Harte wizardry.
Caithness then tried to escape from the confines of their twenty-two with a fine break out of defence by their no. 10, Marc Anderson, but this foundered on Ciaran Callaghan’s alert footballing brain. The flight of the hosts’ pass was guessed correctly and a wonderful solo interception try resulted. Try number four came from an Olly Davidson charge, some good recycling by the forwards and then some sleight of hand from Rory Harte which let captain Conor Ferguson in for the first of his two tries. His second, on the stroke of half time, was down to some good ball carrying from Robbie Thomson and Blair Mackenzie which set up the close field position for a drive to the line.
Hills defended well in the second period of play, and became much more competitive at the line out thanks to Robbie Thomson’s work at the front and Conor Ferguson’s athleticism in the middle of the line. Unlike their hosts when playing against the wind, Hills made good ground through their various runners at the back; Finlay Keegan, and replacements Graham Davidson and Ross Robertson. Paul Kidd’s dynamism in the loose proved helpful to his side when lifting the siege. Although the visitors conceded two second half tries, they were never in real trouble against this spirited Caithness side, and ran out worthy winners by 29 points to 12.
Hills now have a weekend off and are back in action on Saturday March 21st when they entertain old rivals Ardrossan Academicals at Hughenden with a 15:00 KO. Coaches and players will be hoping for a continuation of their recent form so as to finish the 19/20 season with some momentum.