ADAM AND HARRY v HOWE OF FIFE NOVEMBER 23 2019

Hills competitive at Howe but yellow cards costly

HOWE OF FIFE RFC 26 points | HILLHEAD JORDANHILL RFC 20 points

THE PRE-MATCH WARM-UP in this game on a drenched Duffus Park surface was costly for the Hills when Nick McAuley, their massive tight head prop, pulled up with a hamstring strain. Worse was to follow however when numbers on the field were reduced during the second half to only thirteen when two Hills players were sin-binned. Astonishingly, hosts Howe could not add to their score during this period but equally Hills, being shorthanded, were unable to stretch their opponents.

The poor playing conditions – wet and cold with a stiff breeze – were ideal for a traditional mud fest, but both sides tried at all times to play some decent rugby with Hills occasionally seeming to ignore the wet weather in opening out from unpromising situations. Howe were first to settle and, despite some valiant defence from the visitors, scored a  converted try after some five minutes of hammering at the Hills line. Some fine breakout running from inside centre Scott Halliday provided field position for Finlay Keegan to kick a penalty goal to open Hills’ account. But a defensive mix-up allowed Howe back into the game and, approaching half time, they looked comfortable with their 14- 3 lead. However Hills showed some of the resilience they have recently been displaying with a fine break from deep by Keegan which was taken on by the forwards. Two breakdowns later, stand-off Rory Harte floated out a bridge pass to left winger Damien Genocchio, who responded with an excellent well timed burst to touch down for try. The half time score of 14-8 to Howe was a fair refection of the 40 minutes play.

In the context of the game the next score was critical, but unfortunately it fell to Howe who profited from some sloppiness in the visitors defensive structures to score a converted try at Hills posts. The arithmetic was now such that Hills would require to score three second half tries to record a victory, but these calculations quickly went south when Howe added a fourth try. At 26-8 the game seemed over with Hills shorthanded and the ground becoming increasingly difficult to run on. But the Hills centre pairing of Halliday and Callaghan had other ideas, and with parity in numbers the visitors lifted their game. A fine break in the thirteen channel from Ciaran Callaghan created the field position for left winger Damien Genocchio to dart over for his second try which Finlay Keegan converted. Even though handicapped by having only three replacements, all the Hills players continued to work hard and, after a series of close range mauls, loosehead prop Darryl Elvin forced his way across the line to score. Hills were now only six points adrift and in the ascendancy, but time was not in their favour and the visitors had to settle for a losing bonus point.

This defeat brought to an end Hills impressive run of six undefeated games. It also was the conclusion of the first round of 11 games in national league 3 with the second round commencing in Edinburgh on Saturday the 30th November against Murrayfield Wanderers. The half-time report card shows six victories and a league position of sixth, some 11 points behind joint leaders Berwick and Greenock Wanderers. Hills play both of these clubs away in the second half of the programme, but have the advantage of some six home games. The gap is not insurmountable for Hills to bridge, but it will require considerable commitment during the winter months from the players in terms of availability and attendance at training. A reduction in the outbreaks of yellow fever during game time will also assist.

Details

Date Time League Season
November 23, 2019 2:00 pm Tennents National League Division 3 2019-20

Venue

Duffus Park

Results

TeamPointsOutcome
Howe of Fife RFC26Win
HJRFC 1XV20Loss

HJRFC 1XV

15Andrew Scott Full Back
14Finlay Keegan 18 Wing
13Scott Halliday Centre
12Ciaran Callaghan Centre
11Damien Genocchio Wing
10Rory Harte Fly-half
9Alex Gibbons Scrum Half
1Daryll Elvin Loosehead prop
2Harry Perston 16 Hooker
3Adam Eakin Tighthead prop
4James Reekie 17 Lock
5Jonny Agnew Lock
6Calum McLeod Flanker
7Olly Davidson Flanker
8Alec Cameron No. 8
16Preston McGoldrick 2 Hooker
17Blair Colvin 4 Lock
18Paul Kidd 14 Wing
ANGUS TWADDLE V CARRICK NOVEMBER 16 2019

Strong Finish Sees Hills Bring Home the Win

Hillhead Jordanhill RFC 36 points | Carrick RFC 7 points

THE FINAL SCORELINE IN THIS NATIONAL LEAGUE 3 FIXTURE might suggest a rather one-sided game, but the reality was much different. Carrick were tough opponents who gave little quarter in the set piece contests, with Hills only coming through in the final twenty minutes to secure both the win and a four try bonus point.

The first half found Hills mostly on the attack, but with little in the way of scoreboard action to show for their territorial domination. It took a Robbie Thomson steal of a Carrick lineout to spark the team into action. Scrum half Paul Kidd somehow found left winger Finlay Keegan as first receiver and he looked up, saw some gaps in the visitors’ defence, and ran powerfully into the Carrick half being halted only very close to the try line. Some determined recycling created sufficient space on the blind side of the breakdown for Ross Robertson to score Hills first try. Fullback Angus Twaddle added the extras with a fine conversion from the right-hand touchline. Despite this early pressure, the Carrick defence stood firm for the rest of the half and Hills had to settle for an Angus Twaddle penalty goal to take them to a ten point margin at half time.

The first ten minutes of the second half continued to be attritional with neither side seemingly able to wrest the advantage. The game was calling out for a spark of magic to break the deadlock, and it was supplied by Hills very own Merlin, stand-off Rory Harte. He took a quick tap penalty from just inside his own half and proceeded to weave his way through the ranks of the visitors’ defence to touch down for a magnificent solo try between the sticks. Keegan kicked the conversion and this score seemed to revitalise the Hills while deflating Carrick. The hard-working no 8, Olly Davidson, drove over well from a close range breakdown with Angus Twaddle converting again, this time from a tight left-hand side touchline position. The prospect  of a fourth try and hence a bonus point seemed to induce some form of white-line-fever in the home ranks, and they wasted at least three try-scoring opportunities until Ciaran Callaghan showed the way with a fine angled run to the line. Angus Twaddle again converted and Hills were now 31 points up with only 5 minutes left.

Carrick, to their credit, kept going and on a rare visit to the Hills twenty two profited from some sloppy defensive work from the home side to score a try which they converted. This lapse of concentration spurred Hills into one final attack on the visitor’s line and second rower, Robbie Thomson, scored his first National League try from close range. This brought an end to the scoring and the game with Hills eventually pulling away from their very competitive and stuffy visitors with a winning 36-7 margin.

With Hills now starting to show some improvements in form, they can travel to Cupar for their next National League game on Saturday the 23rd November with some confidence. Their opponents, Howe of Fife, have however enjoyed a much better start to this season than the Hills, and at one stage headed the table. The fixture promises therefore to be a very close one. The game kicks off at 14:00hrs and travelling support will be made very welcome. PLEASE NOTE: The team bus leaves at 10:30 from outside the Western Tennis Club.

HJRFC 1XV

15Angus Twaddle Full Back
14Ross Robertson 19 Wing
13Scott Halliday Centre
12Ciaran Callaghan Wing
11Finlay Keegan Wing
10Rory Harte Centre
9Paul Kidd Scrum-half
1Daryll Elvin Loosehead prop
2Preston McGoldrick 3 Flanker
3Nick McAuley 16 Tighthead prop
4James Reekie 17 Lock
5Robbie Thomson 18
6Calum McLeod Flanker
7Alec Cameron Lock
8Olly Davidson Flanker
16Ross Jackson 3 Loosehead prop
17Adam Eakin 4 Prop
18Blair Colvin 5 Lock
19Damien Gennochio 14 Wing
A HAPPY DRESSING ROOM v ARDROSSAN NOVEMBER 10 2019

Hills Resilience Wins At Memorial Field

ARDROSSAN ACADEMICALS RFC 12 points | HILLHEAD JORDANHILL RFC 18 points

THIS WAS A HARD, BUT FAIRLY CONTESTED, PHYSICAL GAME where all the hard yards were fiercely contested on a cold day at Memorial Field Ardrossan. This rare away win for Hills was built on a dominant scrummage which, for sixty five minutes until the injury sustained by hooker Harry Perston, gave their opposition no quarter. Indeed in a 15 minute spell before the end of the first half, Ardrossan conceded some seven scrummage penalties in their twenty two metre area which, on another day, might have resulted in the award of two penalty tries, but instead produced a yellow card for the opposition. Finally Hills had something to show for all their efforts when no. 8 and captain, Conor Ferguson, controlled the ball at the base of an advancing scrum to score. The Hills half time lead of only five points was a poor return for Hills scrummage frontal control, although some weakness on the touchline undermined total domination.

Ardrossan certainly had the quality in their half backs, Hunter and Lewis, and out wide to come back and hurt the Hills, but for once the visitors showed some reserves of resilience and maintained their pressing game. Tight head prop Nick McAuley should have scored in the corner from a close range charge but, after some phases of controlled recycling, Conor Ferguson scored his second try of the game. Finlay Keegan who, at this stage had taken over as replacement full back and goal kicker from the injured Angus Twaddle piloted the ball over the bar and the Hills were now twelve points up. Despite an injury to captain Conor Ferguson, Hills continued to enjoy front-foot dominance, and some astute kicking from Rory Harte allowed territorial pressure to be maintained. Two breakdown penalty chances allowed Finlay Keegan to slot six more points to take Hills eighteen points ahead with the visitors now looking comfortable in the final quarter.

But the cumulative effects of the attrition game had taken their toll on Hills original starting fifteen and their bench and, in a second half extended to some fifty minutes, Ardrossan played catch-up with two fine tries, one of which was converted. But time eventually ran out for the hosts and the battered but resilient visitors had triumphed and taken four valuable league points.

This was a fine result and an excellent afternoon’s work for the Hills players, physio Aoife O’Shea and their coaching team. This level of performance will require to be replicated next Saturday when the Hills entertain south Ayrshire visitors Carrick who are showing some better form after a very slow start to the season. The game kicks off at 14.00hrs at Hughenden on Saturday 16th November.

HJRFC 1XV

Angus Twaddle Full Back
Ross Robertson Wing
Scott Halliday Centre
Ciaran Callaghan Centre
Finlay Keegan Wing
Rory Harte Centre
Paul Kidd Scrum-half
Daryll Elvin Loosehead prop
Harry Perston Hooker
Nick McAuley Tighthead prop
James Reekie Lock
Jonny Agnew Lock
Calum McLeod Flanker
Olly Davidson Flanker
Conor Ferguson No. 8
Ross Jackson Loosehead prop
Robbie Thomson Lock
Callum Weir Centre
ROSS JACKSON v CAITHNESS NOVEMBER 2 2019

Hills Record Fine Win Against Caithness

HILLHEAD JORDANHILL RFC 69 points | CAITHNESS RFC 7 points

SOME OF THE STATS FROM THIS GAME – Hills 28-0 up after 15 mins and then 40-0 at half time – suggest a very one sided outing against the far travelled Caithness XV, but it was not all one way traffic as the final score might suggest. There were periods in the game, particularly the second and third quarters, when Caithness retained possession and made matters difficult for the home side. Ultimately however, all that Caithness could muster was the one penalty try, awarded late in the game for a Hills infringement, resulting in a yellow card. The fact Caithness had such a limited return can be attributed to some excellent defence from all the Hills players.

For the records, the first half try scorers were open side wing forward, Calum McLeod from a forward drive, left-winger Finlay Keegan who twice finished well (once from a Rory Harte chip ahead and then a “bridge pass”), scrum half Alex Gibbons who touched down after some excellent inter-passing between the backs and forwards, Angus Twaddle who scorched into the line from his full back position to touch down, and then captain and no.8 Conor Ferguson, who drove over from close range. Hills’ full back Angus Twaddle had clearly brought along his kicking boots, as he converted five of the six tries, three of which were from very tight touchline positions.

Tries were harder to come by in the second half, but when they came along they were all very well taken by the Hills backs. First to register was right winger Damien Gennochio, who finished well in the right hand corner. The next try was a brilliant solo effort from stand-off Rory Harte who ran in unopposed from his own half, dancing and weaving his way through most of the opposition. Inside centre Scott Halliday then ensured his name would appear on the score sheet with a well timed pick and drive for the line. Angus Twaddle then applied the finishing touch by backing up a move involving his backs to add to his first half try. Last to add his name to the try tally was Ciaran Callachan, who ran hard from the visitors twenty two. Of the five second half tries, Twaddle was successful with two conversions.

This was a fine result and a good afternoon’s work for the Hills players and their coaching team. The benefits of being able to field a settled side are beginning to be realised in more efficient first phase possession, both on the touchline and in the set scrum where the Hills pack were dominant for all the game. This level of performance will require to be replicated next Saturday when the Hills make the short journey to Ardrossan, who have enjoyed a better start to the season than their visitors. The game kicks off at 14:00hrs at Memorial Field.

HJRFC 1XV

15Angus Twaddle Full Back
14Damien Gennochio Wing
13Scott Halliday 19 Centre
12Ciaran Callaghan Centre
11Finlay Keegan Wing
10Rory Harte Fly-half
9Alex Gibbons Scrum Half
1Daryll Elvin 16 Loosehead prop
2Harry Perston Hooker
3Nick McAuley 17 Tighthead prop
4James Reekie Lock
5Alec Cameron 18 Lock
6Calum McLeod Flanker
7Olly Davidson Flanker
8Conor Ferguson No. 8
16Ross Jackson 1 Prop
17Adam Eakin 3 Prop
18Jonny Agnew 5 Lock
19Callum Weir 13 Centre
HILLS PREPARE TO SCRUM v WEST OCTOBER 19 2019

Hills Triumph at Burnbrae

WEST OF SCOTLAND FC 12 points | HILLHEAD JORDANHILL RFC 24 points

APART FROM AN EARLY FLOURISH when the Hills should have kicked a close range penalty goal and right winger Graham Davidson might have scored in the corner at Burnbrae, there was little excitement to disturb the after dinner nap of those Hills supporters who attended the pre-match lunch. Certainly there was some animation in discussing the clubhouse evacuation following a fire alarm at the end of the lunch, but apart from the fine footballing and harrying skills of scrum half Alex Gibbons, play had been largely uneventful. Half time came and went with the score stuck firmly at 0-0.

But West were first to emerge from the torpor which hung over this game when they scored and converted a fine try, but this served only to stir the visitors out of their collective trance. Some fine lead up play from Calum “Duracell” McLeod forced a breakdown penalty and Angus Twaddle, with his first goal kick of the day, converted from some 35 metres. Better was to follow when after some textbook forward driving play close to the host’s goal line, super sub Nick “DJ Veggie” McAuley crossed for a try which full back Twaddle converted. Then stand off Rory Harte, who up until that point had had a mixed game, showed good footwork to score from close range with Twaddle again converting for full points. West then reminded their support that they could play a bit as well. After some concentrated attacks with both backs and forwards prominent, they broke through a previously tight  Hills defence to touch down for their second try of the afternoon. With the score now 17-12 for the visitors the next score would be critical to the overall outcome of the game, and fortunately it fell to Hills. The longer the game progressed, the more Hills midfield began to get the better of their opposite numbers, and from a fine break down the 13 channel, Ciaran Callaghan crossed the line, taking two defenders with him. Angus Twaddle’s fourth successful kick of the afternoon brought the scoring on the day to an end. There was still time for Hills to cement a try bonus point and West to get closer to their visitors and a losing bonus point, but the first half stalemate returned and the game played out with no further alarms

Hills now have a gap in their schedule as there is no game on the 26th due to round 2 of the National Cup occupying that date. The National League 3 programme resumes on Saturday November 2 when Caithness make the long journey down the A9 to Hughenden.

All players and supporters are asked to note that the November – January kick-off times have now moved back to 14.00 hours.

HJRFC 1XV

Angus Twaddle Full Back
Graham Davidson Wing
Scott Halliday Centre
Ciaran Callaghan Centre
Finlay Keegan Wing
Rory Harte Fly-half
Alex Gibbons Scrum-half
Daryll Elvin Loosehead prop
Harry Perston Hooker
Ross Jackson Tighthead prop
James Reekie Lock
Alec Cameron Lock
Calum McLeod Flanker
Olly Davidson Flanker
Conor Ferguson No. 8
Adam Eakin Prop
Nick McAuley Prop
Ross Robertson Wing
Robbie Thomson Flanker
RORY HARTE SETS UP A NEW ATTACK

Honours Even as Yellow Fever Resurfaces at Hughenden

HILLHEAD JORDANHILL RFC  28 points | BERWICK RFC 28 points

BY VIRTUE OF THE FOUR TRIES THEY SCORED in this exciting match, Hills were able to take 3 points from this drawn National League match at Hughenden, while visitors Berwick with their three tries returned home with two.

Hitting down the slope in the first half, the hosts were quickly into action and by the end of the first quarter were 15 points up. After 5 minutes, scrum-half Alex Gibbons took a quick tap penalty some 30 metres out, stand-off Rory Harte threw out a longish bridge pass to right winger Graham Davidson who made good ground to feed Alex Gibbons on his outside. The scrum-half scored well in the right hand corner and full back Angus Twaddle converted with a fine kick from the tee. The fullback added a further 3 points with a penalty goal from almost the same position as his successful conversion. Some 5 mins later, stand-off Rory Harte did well to hold up an attacking maul to prevent Berwick winning it. From the resultant scrum, Hills moved the ball wide and Angus Twaddle launched a foray downfield to make the extra man and then created space for Graham Davidson to run in virtually unchallenged.

Although the conversion was missed, confidence was high in the home support and players, but then Berwick began to find their bearings and began to make much of their first receivers efforts in breaking Hills defensive resilience. The visitors began to spread their play, and it was only a last ditch tap tackle from winger Finlay Keegan which kept Berwick from crossing the whitewash. Hills, however, buckled just before half time when Berwick scored a converted try. Despite conceding, Hills came back well to threaten the visitors’ line, but poor distribution in a 2-on-1 situation frustrated the hosts. The first half closed on a 15-7 scoreline for the Hills.

From the start of the second half, Berwick began to step up their work rate but the first 10 minutes saw just an exchange of penalty goals from the sides. But Hills share of first phase scrum and lineout was secure and half backs Gibbons and Harte began to probe for gaps. The first fell for left winger Finlay Keegan, who found himself in some space 50 metres from the line with two defenders in his way.  With a classic piece of winger trickery, feint and swerve, he outwitted his opposite numbers to score a fine individual try. Hills final try was created by good ball carrying by Olly Davidson which Nick McAuley translated into a try scoring run for Conor Ferguson with a wonderful “Toony Flip”.

Hills were now 28-13 up and playing into the final quarter. At that stage, most of the crowd had their sights on a win for the Hills, but the self destruct button, which is part of the current Hills armoury, began to be pressed frantically and Rory Harte and then James Reekie were separately invited to spend some time in the cooler. 15 against 13 is an unequal contest and Berwick wasted no time in pressing home their advantage to take the score to 28 all with five minutes left. Although Hills were restored numerically, all the structure of their play had been lost, and every remaining refereeing decision was closely scrutinised and disputed by both sets of supporters. There were, however, no further scores, but plenty of controversy to fuel animated discussions well after the sounding of the final whistle.

Hills now travel for their North Glasgow derby to Burnbrae, home of West of Scotland FC, on Saturday October 21. Hills will be hoping their improved form and confidence will travel well with them. Kick is at 15:00.

HJRFC 1XV

15Angus Twaddle Full Back
14Graham Davidson Wing
13Scott Halliday Centre
12Ciaran Callaghan Centre
11Finlay Keegan 19 Wing
10Rory Harte Fly-half
9Alex Gibbons Scrum-half
1Daryll Elvin 16 Loosehead prop
2Harry Perston Hooker
3Ross Jackson 17 Tighthead prop
4James Reekie 18 Lock
5Blair Colvin Lock
6Calum McLeod Flanker
7Olly Davidson Flanker
8Conor Ferguson No. 8
16Adam Eakin 1 Prop
17Nick McAuley 3 Prop
18Robbie Thomson 4 Lock
19Ross Robertson 11 Wing
Studied discipline from Alex Gibbons

Hills travel miles north to win at North Inch

PERTHSHIRE RFC 14 points | HILLHEAD JORDANHILL RFC 34 points

HILLS TOOK THE HIGH ROAD to Perth to record their first away win of the season. This was a fine, resilient, battling team performance from Hills which revealed qualities some of their faithful support believed had vanished forever from the club. Hills were 7-0 down after 50 seconds which became 14-12 to the hosts after 20 minutes, but in the remaining 60 minutes of a well contested game at the North Inch, such was the visitors commitment to defence that the stuffy Perthshire side failed to add to their score.

The key components of the Hills win comprised of assured performances down the touchline from the returning Jonny Agnew (his first game in Hills colours since 2013) and from captain Conor Ferguson, and there was also an improved defensive performance in the midfield where Ciaran Callaghan was outstanding. Added to the aerial certainty was an aggressive rolling maul which provided the basis for three first half close range tries from Harry Perston, Jonny Agnew and James “Pine Tree” Reekie. The Hills’ backs also revealed their potency in attack with a well engineered try which started with Rory Harte looping his centres to creat the space for full back Angus Twaddle to burst clear from forty metres out in his run to the line. Twaddle converted two of the first half tries to see his side handily placed at 24-14 at the break.

Perthshire worked exceptionally hard to get back into the game and for most of the second half Hills were in defensive mode, but some copybook tackling in which no8 Calum McLeod excelled, and very effective use of his bench resources by head coach Graeme Blackhall kept the hosts at bay. Hills were always sharp on the counter attack and Perthshire struggled at times with the pace of some the quicksilver visiting backs. Angus Twaddle kicked a penalty goal to take his side further ahead and then in the 70th minute Scott Halliday touched down by the posts following up a kick through the home defence from Rory Harte. The conversion was a formality and Hills were now 20 points ahead. To their credit, Perthshire tried to the final whistle to add to their tally of two tries, but Hills remained resolute in defence of their line.

Hills now return to their Hughenden grounds on Saturday October 14 after the two away fixtures to play NL3 newcomers Berwick. Some 15 seasons ago Berwick were regular visitors to a very different-looking Hughenden and it will be good to renew our old rivalries. Kick off is 15:00.

Stuart Mackenzie (Clayton MOTM), Gareth Davies (Clayton captain), Ted Hardy (president of Clayton) and Kitch (aka Gary Kitchener), president of Hillhead Jordanhill RFC

The Clayton Bootleggers

HILLS HOST THE CLAYTON BOOTLEGGERS – THE SPIRT OF RUGBY

Not even the tail winds and lashing rains of the last of Hurricane Dorian were enough to dampen the spirts and enthusiasm of the Clayton Bootleggers when they called into Hughenden on Tuesday 11 September for the first game of their mini Scottish Tour.

Clayton is a town in North Carolina USA, and the Bootleggers’ suffix derives from the time during the prohibition era in the States when the area attracted attention for its production of “moonshine“ beverages. Their performance in this friendly was however, very authentic and they ran out convincing 41-19 winners against a Hills squad big in size and experience, but perhaps a little lacking in game time and fitness. Indeed master mariner scrum half Iain Jamieson’s plimsoll line appeared to be several inches lower than in previous seasons, while  Hills mighty mouse prop Ronnie Bell revealed all the evidence of his recent investment in walking rugby as a leisure pursuit.

After the match, both sides enjoyed a post match meal and some craic in the club’s function room. Following welcome speeches from the Hills honorary president and then president, there were the well-established exchanges of club shields, flags and ties. Thanks to Keith Telford of Cartha Queens Park RFC for officiating well in an end-to-end game. Clayton now visit Dumbreck to play Shawlands RFC in the second and final game of their tour.

Pictured smiling in the main group image (left to right) are Stuart Mackenzie (Clayton MOTM), Gareth Davies (Clayton captain), Ted Hardy (president of Clayton) and Kitch (aka Gary Kitchener), president of Hillhead Jordanhill RFC. Pictured below, Dougie Elder with Ted Hardy.

Douglas Elder (Hills MOTM) with Ted Hardy

CRAIG COLVIN CLEARS FROM A STATIC BREAKDOWN 7 SEPTEMBER 2019

The sun shines on the Hills

HILLHEAD JORDANHILL 1st XV 32 pts | Murrayfield Wanderers RFC 15 pts

ON A PERFECTLY STILL DAY stolen from the height of midsummer, Hills overturned a 5 points to 7 half time deficit to eventually defeat a dogged Murrayfield Wanderers side by 32 points to 15 to secure a bonus point win in the opening league game of season 2019/2020.

The victory was based on sound defence and a willingness to run the ball from anywhere in the field. Hills were given a good lead by both the defensive and attacking skills of their back row in which Calum McLeod excelled in attack along with Conor Ferguson, while Olly Davidson was a very effective ball carrier in the loose. The physical strengths of the visitors pack foundered on the static strength of Hills tight head Nick McAuley, but the hosts were second best on the touchline despite the best efforts of Blair Colvin and captain Conor Ferguson.

There was little between the sides in the first half with Angus Twaddle touching down in the corner and Murrayfield coming back by means of an interception in the Hills twenty two. After the break, Angus Twaddle eased his side ahead with a penalty goal and Hills then looked to take the upper hand with the catalyst being stand-off Rory Harte’s mercurial skills and in particular his side step. He literally led the visitors’ defence a dance, and no- one could put a hand on him. Somewhat unusually for the modern game, the Hills stand-off scored three tries, each of which fullback Angus Twaddle converted. The fullback added a penalty goal to his tally, but Murrayfield could add only a try and penalty goal to their half-time scores.

Hills then ran out winners from this absorbing contest and, by virtue of their four tries, added a bonus point to their four points win. Hills kept going well in what were enervating conditions for the first match of the season, and they will need to maintain their fitness reserves in what will be a long and occasionally unforgiving season of travel.

Next Saturday 14th September, Hills travel to Forfar for their first ever fixture with the newly promoted Strathmore side, KO 15:00.

HJRFC 1XV

15Angus Twaddle Full Back
14Craig Colvin 9 Wing
13Damien Genocchio Centre
12Jack Harris Centre
11Graham Davidson Wing
10Rory Harte Fly-half
9Andrew Blair 19 Scrum-half
1Daryll Elvin Tighthead prop
2Preston McGoldrick Hooker
3Nick McAuley Tighthead prop
4Blair Colvin 16 Lock
5Ciaran Stormouth Lock
8Olly Davidson No. 8
7Conor Ferguson Flanker
16Harry Perston 4 Hooker
17Harry Singh Hooker
18Ross Robertson Wing
19Finlay Keegan 9 Fly-half
RORY HARTE and CRAIG COLVIN vs GHK

Yellow fever weakens Hills’ cup performance

HJRFC 1st XV 14 pts | GHK 1st XV 38 pts

DESPITE ALL THE RECENT DELUGES, the playing surface at Hughenden was in excellent order for this west end derby in the preliminary round of the National Cup. Playing with the breeze and up the slope in the first half, Hills competed well, reaching the interval only one score behind at 14 -19. But GHK bossed the second half to run out convincing winners 38 -14, although Hills handicapped themselves by having both Blair Colvin and Rory Harte in the sin bin.

The first competitive game of season 2019-20 was notable for the return of two Hughenden favourites, the mercurial Angus Twaddle at full back and the gargantuan Nick McAuley at tight-head prop. Both franked their performances with influential roles in Hills first points. Alex Gibbons at scrum half harried well to pounce on loose ball, Rory Harte threw out a massive miss pass which McAuley gobbled up to barrel over the line. Angus Twaddle converted brilliantly from tight on the left hand touchline and the Hills were 7 points up. But GHK were stung into action and came back strongly to lead by 12 points to 7 after 30 minutes. Then some Rory Harte magic opened up the game with a clever kick into open space which Graham Davidson played football with to dribble across the line and score. Angus Twaddle converted to take “Hills” 2 points ahead but GHK hit back with a fine converted try just on the break.

The second half was tough going for the Hills even with a full complement on the field. The hosts defended well however, being seen only rarely in attack, but frailty again on the touchline mitigated against some promising field positions.

This was a well contested game against a side from a higher league, and the additional match fitness gained should help Hills when they play their opening National 3 league game vs Murrayfield Wanderers at Hughenden on Saturday 7th September with a 15:00 KO. We hope to see you there.

HJRFC 1XV

15Angus Twaddle Full Back
14Craig Colvin Wing
13Ciaran Callaghan Centre
12Rory Harte Centre
11Graham Davidson 20 Wing
10Finlay Keegan Fly-half
9Alex Gibbons 19 Scrum-half
1Ross Jackson 17 Loosehead prop
2Harry Singh 16 Hooker
3Nick McAuley Tighthead prop
4Blair Colvin Lock
5Ciaran Stormouth 18 Lock
6Alec Cameron Flanker
7Preston McGoldrick Flanker
8Olly Davidson No. 8
16Harry Perston 2 Hooker
17Daryll Elvin 1 Tighthead prop
18Nathan McCann 5 Lock
19Andrew Scott 9 Scrum-half
20Ross Robertson 11 Wing