The Season Isn’t Over Yet!

This weekend there will again be four senior teams representing Hillhead Jordanhill and that is without the Men’s 2XV or Women’s 2XV being in action. The U15 Girls will also be taking on Caithness in the semi final of their cup competition. This is a considerable feat of organisation and a testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at the club. Particularly so, when you compare the number of senior teams our nearest neighbours put out. Your correspondent is in the midst of a UKCC Level 1 coaching qualification, being hosted at Hughenden, where one of the key themes is how we keep players in the game long term. For Hillhead Jordanhill, with the progress being made in the Mini and Midi sections, the future on that front must surely be bright! Now, to the weekends action!

This Weekends Match Schedules

20th April
Stirling County v Hillhead Jordanhill Women’s 1XV – KO 20:00 at Bridgehaugh, Stirling

21st April
Hillhead Jordanhill Men’s 1XV v Newton Stewart – KO 15:00 at Hughenden
Greenock Wanderers 2XV v Hillhead Jordanhill 2A – KO 15:00 at Fort Matilda playing fields, Greenock
Cartha Queens Park Veterans v Hillhead Jordanhill 4XV (Veterans) – KO 12:30 at Dumbreck

22nd April

Hillhead Jordanhill U15 v Caithness -KO 13:00 at Hughenden

Ladies Penultimate Match Before The Sarah Beaney Cup

The HillJills take on Stirling County in their final league match of the season. This will be the ladies last competitive fixture before the final of the Sarah Beaney Cup. The two sides last met on 26th January, with the HillJills running out comfortable winners in a 79 – 5 win at Hughenden. The league title was secured the same evening. The coaches will no doubt be looking for an assured performance to help prepare for the cup final. Coach Thomas Davidson should also be congratulated for his recent award as Stirling University Sports Coach of the Year. The two student teams under his watchful eye have both won their respective leagues. With a league win for the HillJills also under his coaching belt at Hughenden, a win in the Cup must surely be high on the wishlist to finish the season in style!

Silver Saturday, featuring the Sarah Beaney Cup, will take place on Saturday 28th April at BT Murrayfield. The ladies cup final will kick off at 14:10, on the main international pitch. Tickets are £20 for Adults, £10 for concessions, and £5 for Under-18s. You can support the club by purchasing your tickets for Silver Saturday via this link, https://www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby/?advcode=HillJor.

The Silver Saturday Details.

Final Match Of The Season For Men’s 1XV

As this is the final match for the Men’s 1XV, it seems like an apt time to reflect on how far the team has come on. Last season the Men’s 1XV finished dead last in National 2. With no league wins to their name, the team scored a total of 229 points and conceded 1052. A points differential of -823. No try bonus points were won, with only 1 losing bonus point obtained in their 22 league matches. This meant the team finished on 1 point for the season.

Going into their final league match of the 2017/18 season, the Men’s 1XV sit 8th in National 3. The team has obtained 45 points. Out of 21 league matches played, the team has won 8 and lost 12. They have scored 396 points, conceding 580. A points differential of -184. Try bonus points have totalled 7, with losing bonus points coming in at 2. As it stands, the team is sitting on a points tally of 45.

If ever recognition for a steadying set of hands was deserved, coaches Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall are two worthy candidates. The number of points scored has increased by over 70% and the number of points conceded has been reduced by over 40%. No mean feat considering where the team was at the end of last season.

Our opponents this Saturday are Newton Stewart. The last meeting of these two sides resulted in a comfortable 45 – 3 win for Newton at home. They currently sit 4th in National 2, knowing that two bonus wins in their last two matches will keep them in the hunt for promotion. This will be a challenging match for Hills, no doubt about it.

2A’s Aim To Finish On A High Against Greenock

With two matches to go in West Reserve League 2, the Hills 2A squad will be pushing to finish as high up the table as possible. Of 18 matches played, the team has conceded only one due to not being able to field a team. Compare this to the rest of the league and you won’t find a club with anywhere near as good a record. For this reason, many of the other teams in the league have as many as six matches still to play. This means Hills won’t know their final league position for some weeks. However, they will be keen to finish strongly. Hills beat Greenock Wanderers 62 – 20 at Hughenden, so expectations for a similar result will be high.

Vets Reunited!

After a hugely successful rebirth of the 4XV in January, another invite from Cartha Queens Park RFC has been received to get the old boys of the sofa for a few hours. Hector MacIntyre has been putting together a motley crew of Hills legends in the last few weeks. Hills ran out winners last time round, 17 – 45. Rumour has it that the infamous Jimmy Gow could be making an appearance, who knows how that could affect the result on Saturday!

Some of the Hills “Vets” at the previous match in January.

Dates For Your Diary

28th April | Silver Saturday, featuring the HillJills v Watsonians – KO 14:10 at BT Murrayfield
30th April | Hillhead Jordanhill RFC AGM – 19:00 in the Yill Hoose at Hillhead Sports Club
4th May | End of Season Dinner – 19:00 at Hillhead Sports Club. Tickets available at training from Dougie Grove and Sarah Smith or by email from Dougie on grovedougie@gmail.com
6th May | Hills Legends Lunch, 12:30 at Hillhead Sports Club. Our annual celebration of Hills legends, get your tickets from John MacLean on jnm@kelvinassociates.co.uk

HillJills Book Their Sarah Beaney Cup Final Place

Hillhead Jordanhill 1XV 42 – 7 Stirling County 1XV

The balance of power in this match was evident in the line up of the two sides in this Sarah Beaney Cup semi final. “Hilljills” fielded four of the current National Ladies team, Lindsey Smith and the McMillan sisters, captain Louise and Siobhan, in the forwards with Hannah Smith in the centre. The visitors Stirling had only two players with current representative experience, Siobhan Cattigan and Megan Kennedy. Additionally, the home team were able to field two vastly experienced players in former Six Nations veteran prop forward, Heather Lockhart, and Rachael Whyte at scrum half. 

Sophie Anderson bursting through the “County” defence.

Dominant First Half

The first half was very tough for County. The home side was dominant in both the set piece and line out, creating shoals of possession for the speedy three quarters to use. When they were halted by a steady visitors defence, breakdown ball was quickly moved by the lively Rachael Whyte to the powerful second row, Sophie Anderson, and no. 8 Kirsty McConnell. It was only stout County defence that kept the score to twenty seven points to nil at half time. Sophie Anderson touched down twice, Emma “Gary” Barlow and Siobhan McMillan once each and a penalty try was conceded by the visitors, who were unable to resist the fierce pressure from the home scrummage.

County Fought Back in Second Half

Stirling came into the game more in the second half and Abi Evan’s quick thinking in defence saved “HillJills” on more than one occasion. The visitors were, however, unable to live with the home team’s dynamic style. The physicality of Lindsey Smith at hooker also posed a threat, who showed no mercy in handing off many would be defenders when driving in open play. Despite “HillJills” fielding most of their bench, tries continued to come from Emma Barlow who seemed to be wearing roller skates on the wing such was her speed, Kirsty McConnell and Hannah McHugh, the new recruit who on this display showed that a “day out of Hawick is NOT wasted”. The only flaw in the home performance was the absence of a reliable goal kicker with Amanda Jane absent from the line up. Despite their fatigue, Stirling rallied well in the last five minutes to score a well worked close range try which they converted to provide some respectability to the final score line of forty two points to seven for the home team.

Nothing is getting in Lindsey Smith’s way.

Cup Final Beckons

This win takes “HillJills” to the Sarah Beaney Cup final at Murrayfield on the 28th April, kick-off 2.10pm, International Pitch, where they will take on Watsonians after their shock defeat of Murrayfield Wanderers. The final will be part of Silver Saturday, where all the Women’s and Men’s Cup Finals will take place, along with the 1872 Cup between Edinburgh and Glasgow, tickets can be bought here. Further details around travel and information for Hillhead Jordanhill supporters will follow in due course.

Winners are grinners!

Words: Bernie Mitchell
Images: Hamish Adamson

Hills Hang On for Bonus Point Win

HILLHEAD JORDANHILL 1st XV 22 pts HADDINGTON 1st XV 21 pts

It was both the best of times and then the worst of times for the players and supporters of the Hills in this National League 3 game at Hughenden. The fact that the Hills, by dint of their hard fought victory against relegation strugglers Haddington, had won five precious league points seemed to be forgotten in the gloom of the post match analysis. After the first quarter, Hills were apparently coasting to an easy victory . They were twenty two points to nil ahead with fine individual tries from Jamie Maddox, Euan Brown, Alex Armstrong and then a Bill Kenny burst for the line from an Owen Gemmell assist. At the conclusion of the game, Euan Brown’s conversion of the final try was to prove very significant.

At twenty two points ahead, the home touchline cognoscenti were anticipating a sixty point winning margin, but that was proven to be fanciful in the extreme, as the visitors cut down on their errors, began to use their superior weight in the set scrummage and ran through the phases in their use of the ball. After forty minutes, Haddington had narrowed the margin with a converted try and for the second forty minute period were the dominant side in the game.

Hills tried perhaps too hard to get back into the game but their early promise had evaporated. They lost their shape totally, allowing Haddington to sense a chance for an upset victory. Hills conceded three consecutive scrum penalties and the fourth produced the inevitable penalty try. Despite the prompting and occasional meandering runs from full back Rory Harte, Hills could not make any kind of breakthrough, but when the visitors brought the game back to the home twenty two, a series of close range drives brought the third try which was converted. Hills then managed to see the game out and hung on for a single point victory.

Hills conclude their league programme with their final game vs Newton Stewart at Hughenden on Saturday the 21st April with a 15.00. KO. The 1st XV have no game on Saturday the 14th but the 2nd XV play away at Torrance House, East Kilbride with a 15.00 KO.

Hills 1st XV Rory Harte, Jamie Maddox ( Angus Lauder ), Scott Halliday, Scott Busby, Arnaud Bauchet, Euan Brown, Darren Knox, Mark Barrowman ( C ) ( Blair Mackenzie ), Harry Perston, Ross Jackson ( Mo Adams ), Owen Gemmell, Bill Kenny, Alex Armstrong, Ryan Reilly Conor Ferguson ( Preston McGoldrick ) Subs all used.

Festival of rugby in the West End of Glasgow

This weekend sees a smorgasbord of rugby in the West End of Glasgow. Four matches will be played at Hughenden, over Saturday 7th April and Sunday 8th April.

The feature match is on Sunday 8th April, when our league winning Women’s 1XV will take on Stirling County in the semi final of the Sarah Beaney Cup. Prior to that, both the Men’s 1XV and 2XV are playing at home in important league matches, which will go a long way to determining final positions in the league table. Our youth section is also playing this weekend, with our U18 Girls team taking on Biggar in the Cup.

Women’s 1XV battle Stirling County in the cup

After being runner up three years in a row, the Hilljills finally got their hands back on the Sarah Beaney Cup in 2017. They won’t want to relinquish it easily, so expect a strong performance. Hills have already beaten Stirling County twice this season, including a 79-5 thumping at home on a cold January Friday night, which has proved a popular night for rugby in the West End.

Men’s 1XV take on Haddington

The Men’s 1XV take on Haddington RFC in what is an important match for both teams. Hills are nine points behind Gordonians, who play their last game on Saturday away. A couple of five point wins in their last two games could see Hills leapfrog Gordonians into seventh place. Haddington are in a four-way relegation battle and will be desperate for a result. Pre-match lunch available, please contact John MacLean ASAP

Top Table Clash for Men’s 2XV

The Men’s 2XV have two matches remaining in the 2017/18 season and are currently sitting third in their league. We require two wins from two to maintain this position as our local rivals Glasgow Academicals are snapping at our heels. Our opponents are Hamilton 3XV, who are second in the league, in what is expected to be a tight match. Hills narrowly lost 17-12 away in December at Hamilton.

Cup run continues for U18’s Girls

The U18 girls take on Biggar, on Sunday, in the Semi Final of the U18 Girls Club Cup. The girls have had nothing short of a stellar cup run so far, which is great to see for Girls rugby in the West End. Winning 54-0 against Annan at home in the first round, then beating Cartha QP 0-55 away, followed by a 5-55 win against Lismore Girls on Friday 23rd March. Expect plenty of tries and a strong contest, as Biggar also won their last match 55-5.

Match schedules

With all four matches being played at home, there is plenty of rugby in the West End on offer this weekend. The schedule for Saturday and Sunday is as follows:

Saturday 7th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Men’s 1XV v Haddington 1XV, 1500 KO, 1XV pitch

Saturday 7th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Men’s 2XV v Hamilton 2XV, 1500 KO, Great Western Road pitch

Sunday 8th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Girls U18 v Biggar, 1200 KO, Great Western Road pitch

Sunday 8th April, Hillhead Jordanhill Women’s 1XV v Stirling County, 1400 KO, 1XV pitch

Local professional side, Glasgow Warriors, are also playing on Saturday 7th April, KO at 1615. The matched will be shown live in The Yill Hoose. As if you didn’t need more of an excuse to come out and support your local club!

As always, team cards will follow on later this week via social media. You can also keep up to date with latest developments on rugby in the West End on Twitter via @HJRFC and @hilljillsrugby.

Hills Come Close in Orkney

Orkney 29 pts Hillhead Jordanhill 26 pts

This game defied conventional rugby wisdom which tells us that the team playing with the elements should monopolise the territory and score. That was blown away at Pickaquoy Park, Orkney, on Saturday when Hills playing with the stiff breeze in the first half were seventeen points to seven down at the interval, but rallied into the wind to take the second half by nineteen points to twelve. The recovery was not sufficient, however, to win the tight game, but Hills took home two precious bonus points, one for scoring four tries and the other for losing by seven points or less.

The game was notable for many features, the main one being the contrast in playing styles with Orkney constantly recycling off their first and second receivers and then punching holes in the Hills defensive walls, while the visitors sought to move the ball quickly to the wider channels. Both tactics were fruitful : Orkney scoring five close range tries with constant pick and go tactics despite some heroic Hills defensive efforts, and Hills for their part touching down four times from their two principal flair players, winger Arnaud Bauchet scoring three wonderful tries and stand off Rory Harte, mesmerising everyone in the grounds with his side stepping for his. Indeed Arnaud displayed the range of skills that his International team, France, used to be renowned for : side step, swerve, vision and genuine pace. His Gallic legerdemain was a wonderful contrast to the physicality in the forwards battle.

At the end of a titanic struggle and a fine game to participate in and watch, Hills were left to rue missed chances, particularly not playing the game in the opposition areas in the first half and some fragile work on the touchlines. Yet all the nineteen players who travelled and played in this fixture should be proud of their commitment and effort in almost matching a highly motivated and well supported side who had to win this fixture to avoid slipping further into the National League 3 relegation quagmire.

On Easter Saturday, the 31st March, Hills travel to Memorial Field to play Ardrossan Accies in what might be termed a mid table tussle. Kick off at Ardrossan is 15.00 .

Hills 1st XV Jimmy Griffith, Jamie Maddox, Scott Halliday, Scott Busby, Arnaud Bauchet, Rory Harte, Dan Williams(C), Ross Jackson ( Mark Barrowman ), Harry Perston ( Harry Singh ), Maurice Adams ( Ross Jackson ), Charlie Smillie ( Ryan Reilly ), Bill Kenny, Scot McMIllan ( Alex Armstrong ), Ryan Reilly ( James Reekie ) Conor Ferguson Subs all used.

HJRFC Sign New Partnership with PSL

We are pleased to announce that we will be working with local supplier PSL Team Sports (Provan Sports Ltd.) who will be supplying us with Canterbury kit and merchandise from Summer onwards. PSL are located in Hillington, Glasgow and have a retail premises where you will be able to try on all kit and merchandise before purchasing.

Members of HJRFC will be entitled to a 10% discount on all non-club merchandise such as; boots, SRU clothing (Scottish Rugby, Glasgow Warriors & Edinburgh Rugby), protection wear and more.

Further details will be made available to members soon. If you have any suggestions or requests for off the field merchandise then please email Grant Payne at merchandise@hjrfc.com.

“It’s great to have a good, local company on our side. The improvements have been seen all around the club with all teams improving on last season. The club have a good foundation for the Men’s teams to progress in the next few years and for the Women to reach new heights of success.”

Owen Gemmell, Men’s 1st XV Captain

Louise McMillan our Women’s 1st XV Co-Captain returned from Italy yesterday with our Women’s Six Nations squad – alongside Sister, Siobhan McMillan and HJRFC team mates, Lindsey Smith & Hannah Smith (not siblings). She had the following to say on the appointment of PSL as our new supplier:

“We are excited to be wearing Canterbury once again. It will be great for the club to play in a fresh look”

Please feel free to browse PSL’s website to view their range of goods, our club shop will be online Summer 2018:

Off Colour Hills Lose Their Way at Dalziel

Dalziel RFC 24 pts Hillhead Jordanhill 3 pts

This was a game which everyone associated with the Hills will do well to forget very quickly. It is important, however, to take nothing away from a very determined Dalziel squad who took the game repeatedly to the visitors, but the reality was that, both individually and collectively, Hills were far below what they were were capable of producing. Certainly Dalziel, in the league relegation area, had much more to play for than their visitors, who are at least comfortable from the spectre of relegation for this season.

Dalziel were already fourteen points to the good at the end of the first quarter, both their scores coming from defensive lapses in the Hills twenty two. The rest of the first period of play saw some abrasive ball carrying from Owen Gemmell and linking play from Ryan Reilly and Mo Adams but there was little evidence of any phase building, due to frequent knocks on and turnovers. Euan Brown collected Hills only points after thirty eight minutes with a well struck penalty goal from some 42 metres across the face of the wind.

Dalziel extended their half time lead with an early penalty goal and then the game entered an attritional phase in which neither side could claim an advantage with skill levels being at a premium, due to the very cold, wintry conditions which made passing a lottery at times. Hills , through the dependable Bill Kenny at the line out and Rory Harte in broken play running, certainly never at any stage gave up trying, at one stage going through some twenty number phases to attempt to break down the home defence, but it was of no avail. Dalziel lifted the siege and took the game back to the Hills twenty two from where they scored after a driving maul. The try was converted to yield the home side a very comfortable twenty one point winning margin.

Hills will require to regroup very quickly given their next league game is away against Orkney who ,like Dalziel, are trapped currently in the relegation basement, and will therefore be fighting hard for any advantage they can claim. Momentum is a very important component for success in any team sport, and Hills will need to rediscover theirs to ensure a successful conclusion to their final four National league games.

Hills 1st XV: Rory Harte, Jamie Maddox, Scott Halliday, Arnaud Bauchet, Darren Knox (Graham Davidson), Euan Brown, Dan Williams, Blair Mackenzie (Ryan Williamson), Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Maurice Adams, Ryan Reilly, Bill Kenny, Scott McMillan (Martin Malone), Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell(C). Subs all used.

“Hills” Poor Second Half Display Proves Costly

Hillhead/Jordanhill 10 pts Murrayfield Wanderers 38 pts  

It was a glum lot of “Hills” supporters who trudged off at final whistle to the warmth of the Hughenden Clubhouse. “Hills” were well beaten by a rampant Wanderers side who played a lively brand of rugby in their second half display. Hopes were high, however, after the first half which saw the “Hills” down by ten points to nineteen but still to hit down the slope to the Gartnaval end of the ground . The promise of the first half soon evaporated though, as Murrayfield tightened up in all areas of the game to run in nineteen unanswered second half points.

A Strong First Half

“Hills” played some good rugby in the first half with Euan Brown kicking an early penalty. He then continued to run the “show” from standoff to score a fine individual try. After good build up play, a deft grubber kick was placed through an advancing defence by Brown who picked up and then touched down under the posts. Brown was injured in grounding the ball but Darren Knox converted the try to take “Hills” ten points to seven ahead after twenty five minutes. “Hills” continued to have further chances through Rory Harte’s counter attacking skills. On another night, these might have yielded scores, but the visiting defence held sway. Elsewhere, “Hills” were profligate on two separate occasions by ignoring overlaps and instead opting for cross kicks. The visitors were certainly on the back foot for parts of the first half but were well contained by fine defensive work by Scott Halliday in the centre and Alex Armstrong and Scott McMillan on the flanks.

“Wandies” Kick On In The Second Half

The second half saw “Hills” disappear as an attacking force. Jimmy Griffith was pugnacious in a final frantic last five minutes when the ball was worked to the wing. However, it was really too little too late. By then, Murrayfield Wanderers had run in three fine tries and generally dominated all phases of the play. The “Hills” players did not lack for effort, but the overall game experience was a chastening one for all who had been in such ebullient form at the North Inch in the middle of February .

This coming weekend sees all three Men’s XV’s in action again. The 1XV take on Dalziel away at Clelland, the 2XV are at Hughenden against Cartha Queens Park 2XV, with the 2A’s taking on Cumnock 2XV away.

“Hills “ 1st XV Darren Knox, Rory Harte , Scott Halliday , James Reekie ( Scott Busby ) , Jimmy Griffith, Euan Brown , Dan Williams , Ross Jackson ( Mark Barrowman ) , Harry Perston , Ross Ferguson ( Maurice Adams ) , James Acheson , Bill Kenny ( Charlie Smillie ) , Scott McMIllan, Owen Gemmell ( C ) ( Bill Kenny ) Alex Armstrong Subs all used.

Words: Bernie Mitchell

Pictures: Hamish Adamson

Michael, Hills P7, Takes Captain Barclay to Battle

Ever since I started playing rugby, I always wanted to be there in person to support Scotland in a rugby game. I felt amazing when I was picked as one of the mascots for the Scotland vs. England Rugby game. I felt like the luckiest person on earth. A few days later when the tickets for the game arrived, I was so happy and I was filled with excitement and I was looking forward to the game.

On the day of the event, the mascots were gathered together to rehears and practice running onto the pitch before the game. I was at the front of the line, meaning I would run out first from the tunnel. Upon running out of the tunnel, I noticed how large the stadium was and how many seats there were and it made me feel very excited and proud, but also a tad nervous.

When the actual event started, I was so lucky to hold the Scottish Team Captain — John Barclay’s hand. He said to me, “I really hope that we win the game.” And with enthusiasm I smiled and answered, “Don’t hope, know! Cause I know you’ve already won the game and so should you, I believe in you!” John smiled down at me and said, “Thanks Michael, that really helps.

Before we were even on the pitch, we could hear the roar of the crowd. As we ran on I could hear people banging the side of the tunnel and people screaming with joy and excitement and encouragement to the team. The words ‘Scotland, Scotland.’ were chanted repeatedly by supporters. You could feel the noise waving through you. My fellow mascots kneeled to the right of me as I did too. And the rugby players stood behind us. Princess Anne was there also and she was shaking the hands with the Sottish players. All I could see were people all around me, screaming with passion and anticipation. The mascots stood as the English anthem was sung, before we got to sing the Scottish anthem, which I sung loudly with pride.

After the anthem we were sent back through the tunnel to be collected by our parents before we went to watch the game. Scotland played amazing and won the game 25-13 and the Scottish fans cheered.
Afterwards I got to meet the players and get signatures from some of them, even took a few selfies! All in all, it was a brilliant experience and an outstanding match. I hope to be picked again next year and this was an experience I’ll never forget.

Report by Michael Hildrey (Hills P7)

Pictures courtesy of SNS PIX

Hills Get To Grips With The Set Scrum

Glasgow has ground to a halt this week and given the weather, not much has been happening on the training paddock either. However, the Men’s senior squad were recently treated to a training session with the “Scrum Doctor”, Grant Sweenie, who was brought in by Head Coach, Dean Kelbrick, to polish the forward packs scrummaging skills.

“Ball coming in now!”

Under the lights at Hughenden, three packs of forwards worked hard under the watchful eye of “Dr. Sweenie” and at the end of the workout, Dean was enthusiastic about the outcomes:

“This was a good session and we are all grateful to Grant for the expertise he passed on. Certainly, I think we shall have more of these, perhaps before kick-offs, since it is the most animated I have ever seen Mo Adams on the rugby pitch.“

Outdoor training opportunities have proved hard to come by this week, however, the Men’s coaches have encouraged all senior players to maintain their fitness levels whilst the “Beast from the East” continues to cause disruption.

“Bind…”

Words & Pictures: Bernie Mitchell