Match Reports Season 2016/17
BT East Region League 2A
Hawick Linden 53, Leith 5
Following a minutes silence in respect of the recent passing of Linden stalwarts Davie Aitken and Watson Turnbull, the Royal Blues took an early lead when Barry Sutherland slotted a penalty goal. Soon after some great handling and offloads looked to have created the first try but a penalty was awarded for a dump tackle on Matthew Bell with a yellow card shown to the Leith miscreant.
It was Bell who secured the first touchdown coming in on a scissors, following a great driving line out by the forwards, but the winger was injured in the act of scoring and left the field to be replaced by Kieran Murphy. On 15 minutes the Linden increased their lead with a stunning try. Sutherland broke from his own 22, chipped over the onrushing defence and collected the ball. With support runners out wide, the stand-off showed remarkable skill deftly kicking the ball on the run off the side of his foot straight to Murphy who broke the last tackle to score.
When Leith dropped the ball, Graeme Anderson kicked ahead and looked likely to score. A penalty was awarded to the Linden who opted for a scrum and Graham Colville picked up and strolled over for a try converted by Sutherland. With half-time approaching the Royal Blues looked sure to add to their tally following a great run by debutant Ryan Renwick, taken on by Anderson but alas his probable scoring pass was spilled.
The Linden did score again before the break when John Frew fielded a kick and set off on a run linking with Colville who put Murphy over for his second try and Sutherland?s conversion saw the home team head into the interval 27-0 in front.
In the second period the Linden were twice close to scoring before Sutherland set up Colville for a touchdown. Leith continued to compete well and, from a line out free kick, they eventually created an overlap for Andy Barr to open their account. The Linden went back on the attack and a couple of surges at the line couldn?t produce any reward so Glen Welsh resorted to a cross kick. To say it wasn?t the best execution would be an understatement but, somehow, Anderson managed to catch the ball under pressure, turn his opponent and run in under the posts. The skipper added the conversion to stretch the lead to 39-5.
Leith then got on the wrong end of the penalty count culminating in a second yellow card although the final offence looked dubious and the offender could feel a little unlucky. The Royal Blues played through several phases which lead to Macaulay Parker bursting through a gap to score with Anderson converting.
The Linden rounded off by hitting the fifty mark with an excellent try. Gary Wardle fielded a kick and passed on to Connor Tofts and then Colville who went straight through the middle and beat the last man to secure his hat-trick. Anderson?s conversion completed the scoring.
A comprehensive victory for the Royal Blues in their final home League game of the season but they will still feel they couldn?t impose themselves as much as they would have wished as mistakes regularly creeped into their game which disrupted any fluency. Old heads Graham Colville and Barry Sutherland, with some sublime pieces of skill, showed all of their experience whilst the young guns Matthew Mallin and the Hair twins were in fine fettle up front. Glen Welsh continues to enjoy the inside centre role and Ryan Renwick will be pleased with his first outing in a Linden jersey.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, G Welsh, R Renwick, B Sutherland, R Graham; J White, R Hartdegan, S Spalding, S Hair, E Hair, C Smith, M Mallin, G Colville; Subs: C Tofts, P Drysdale, G Wardle, M Parker, E Wood, K Murphy, C Gracie.
The match also saw a re-union for the 1986/87 Border District League winning side. Of the 25 players used only Ronnie Nichol had passed away but was represented by members of the Nichol family including all three of his brothers. Of the remaining 24, only two were unable to attend whilst coaches Billy Murray and Davy Lyall and many other involved with the club around the time made an appearance to ensure a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and evening. The inevitable drinks were soaked up by a wonderful buffet courtesy of Moira Black and her team of tea ladies.
BT East Region League 2A
Hawick Linden 15, Broughton 33
Unbeaten League leaders Broughton made the trip to the Volunteer 3G having comprehensively routed the Linden 80-17 at Wardie earlier in the season. It would take a mammoth effort for the Royal Blues to turn around such a scoreline. The final result doesn?t tell the full picture of a superb effort by the home team who held the lead just before the game entered its final quarter.
On a cold, wet and miserable day, conditions were difficult for both teams and thankfully the 3G surface prevented what would otherwise have been an inevitable mud-bath. Broughton took the lead on six minutes from a line out catch and drive, skipper Craig Wishart being credited with the touchdown and Gavin Tainsh converting.
Two minutes later home captain Graeme Anderson responded with a penalty goal. Soon after a great line out take by Euan Hair preceded Glen Welsh slicing through the visitors defence. The centre linked with Matthew Mallin who had the pace to beat the cover and the wing forward?s try put the Linden in front 8-7.
On 20 minutes they added to their tally. With Broughton in possession at a ruck, a loose ball was kicked on by Anderson and, when he hacked on again, it looked like it had gone too close to the last defender but it was that man Mallin again who was first to get a hand to the ball. Anderson slotted the conversion to put his team 15-7 ahead.
Craig Smith caught the kick-off and went off on a great run into the Broughton half but the Linden unwisely kicked when moving the ball would have continued the threat and they were then penalised which was kicked to touch. Following the line out, Wishart burst through and looked likely to score but was tackled in the shadow of the posts. A quick recycle though allowed stand-off Tainsh to go dart over the whitewash.
Home stand-off Gavin Stirling had to retire with a leg injury to be replaced by his cousin Barry Sutherland. With no further scoring in the first period, the Linden headed into the break 15-12 in front.
When John Frew was high tackled early in the second period he left the field with the experienced Steven Anderson coming on for his first game for two seasons. Then winger Gary Alexander also suffered a leg injury and was stretched off with the recovered Frew coming back on.
With 58 minutes gone Broughton winger Ryan McNight caught a kick and there didn?t appear to be much danger but his neat kick ahead sat up nicely for Dan Smith who raced onto the ball and headed under the posts for Tainsh to convert. Middle row Euan Hair departed following a head knock with Cammy Friell entering the fray.
With the game in the balance the killer blow for the Royal Blues came with 15 minutes remaining. After a Casper Jones kick and catch sucked in the home defence, the ball was shipped wide to winger Andrew Tainsh who touched down for brother Gavin to convert and put Broughton 26-15 ahead.
The Linden were left to go after what would have been a deserved losing bonus point and it looked like Glen Welsh would secure it but he was tackled fractionally short of the line. When the Royal Blues moved the ball they were turned over and Broughton worked their way to the other end. With the last play of the game Neil Armstrong touched down and Tainsh?s kick completed a cruel end to the match for the home side.
Alas the Linden lacked a bit of composure at times, just forcing things too much, and little mistakes at key moments prevented them building momentum. Make no mistake though, this display once again demonstrated the huge progress from early in the season. Jordan White carried ball well with support from front row colleagues Reece Hartdegan and Keith Mabon. Flankers Matthew Mallin and Macaulay Parker got themselves about, scrum-half Rory Graham was also in fine form but Glen Welsh was the pick of the backs with some good hard running.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, G Welsh, G Alexander, G Stirling, R Graham; J White, R Hartdegan, K Mabon, S Hair, E Hair, M Parker, M Mallin, C Smith; Subs: C Friell, L Sharkey, B Sutherland, E Wood, S Anderson, L Robertson, J Hogg.
BT East Region League 2A
Trinity Accies 17, Hawick Linden 8
On a cold, wet and miserable afternoon in Edinburgh, the Linden?s winning run in East League 2 finally came to an end in a hard fought encounter that could have gone either way. For the second week in a row the Royal Blues starting line-up had to be changed at the last minute. A vehicle breakdown en-route resulted in centre Sandy Walker being replaced by Glen Welsh with medic Ryan Elliot filling the bench vacancy.
The conditions meant it was one of these days when basics had to be good as any mistakes could make the difference. Indeed a dropped ball by Accies on seven minutes nearly lead to the first score as Macaulay Parker kicked on the loose ball but just lost out in the race to touch down. On 18 minutes Keith Mabon took a punch to the head out of sight of the referee that would have warranted a red card had it been spotted.
The big home pack were shunting the Linden scrum at will but the visitors were more than competitive in every other aspect including the lineout. From two consecutive lineout drives that took play from half-way to the try line, the ball was released to the backs for Graeme Anderson to take his man on and a lovely arcing run saw the skipper slice over to score.
Unfortunately Graham Colville took a head knock in the lead up to the try forcing him from the field and the No. 8?s presence proved a big miss for the Linden in the remainder of the game. Five minutes from the break Kieran Murphy slotted a penalty goal to put his side 8-0 ahead which would probably have been no more than the Linden deserved as they had the edge on field position.
Alas following the kick off they were penalised at a ruck and, when Trinity ran the ball, big middle row Robert Lovert burst through a tackle and galloped over for a poor try from a Linden perspective. Rory Watson?s conversion made the score 8-7 to the Linden at the break and the Royal Blues knew they would have to put in a big second half performance.
They continued to compete well and were keeping the big Trinity eight well away from the danger zone where the strong home scrum would undoubtedly have been influential. Slightly against the run of play, a long kick by Accies saw full-back John Frew make great ground to try and collect on the full but, when realising he couldn?t quite get there, his attempted fly-hack missed the ball completely and Calum Ramm gratefully picked up to run in for a try converted from wide out by Watson.
With the pitch getting heavier by the minute as it turned into a mudbath it would take a big effort by the Royal Blues to get back in the lead but they were certainly up for it. Their chances of doing so took a blow when Gary Wardle was yellow carded for a high tackle. However, when a Trinity player was binned for a similar offence the Linden took a gamble when awarded a penalty in the shadow of the posts by taking a tap which came to nothing.
As the Royal Blues desperately tried to get something more than a losing bonus point from the game, they were penalised and Watson did well to put over the tricky kick meaning the visitors left with no points at all. A cruel outcome as a little more composure when in the home 22 might have produced more reward.
Glen Welsh and Graeme Anderson ran strongly in the centre. Macaulay Parker worked hard covering at hooker with some lineout throws to Euan Hair being top of the tree. Cammy Friell put himself about in his first start for the Linden, as did James Hogg, and they were well supported by all of the forwards who put in a huge shift against bigger opponents on a very heavy pitch.
One talking point on the sidelines was the difficulties for players and referees with the new high tackle laws. Both teams were guilty of shouting for decisions but conversely were unhappy when their own side was penalised feeling many awards were on the soft side. Hopefully matters will settle in time but at the moment it seems to have created a grey area that no-one is entirely happy with.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, G Welsh, K Murphy, G Stirling, R Graham; J White, M Parker, K Mabon, S Hair, E Hair, C Friell, J Hogg, G Colville; Subs: E Wood, B Sutherland, R Elliot, M Boyle, G Wardle, L Sharkey, M Knight.
Grateful thanks to Trinity Accies for their superb hospitality. Pre-match soup and sandwiches for committee and supporters, coffee for the touch judge whilst filling water bottles, generous with drinks from the bar and a seemingly never ending raffle where the Linden dominated virtually all of the main prizes, i.e. the booze, made for a happy bus home despite defeat. Well done Accies and much appreciated.
BT East Region League 2A
Hawick Linden 35, Dalkeith 0
Although on a run of nine League wins, the Linden?s last defeat had been a huge 62-14 loss to Saturday?s visitors to the Volunteer 3G, Dalkeith back in September. To turn around such a gulf between the sides into a Linden victory would take a monumental effort. Not only did the Royal Blues do so, they did it in style with a convincing 35-0 margin that proved the turn round in their fortunes is no fluke displaying skill, organisation, tempo and masses of heart and desire.
With both teams having played all of their 13 matches in East League 2, the Linden had finished nine points behind Dalkeith as they embarked on the first game in the top six split. Any thoughts of a home win were dealt some early blows. Both stand-off Gavin Stirling and prop Jordan White broke down with injury in the warm-up to be replaced by Barry Sutherland and Simon Spalding whilst Conor Gracie and Craig Smith were rushed into bench duties.
Following these set-backs the Linden were pushed off their own ball at the first scrum so the omens certainly didn?t look good. However, with Dalkeith spilling the ball whilst on the attack in the home 22, Sutherland chipped ahead and Matthew Mallin showed his pace to be first to the ball and hack on twice with Kieran Murphy up in support to dive on the ball to open the scoring after five minutes.
Two minutes later, they looked sure to score again from deep. Graham Colville turned the ball over in his own 22 and made good ground. The No. 8 linked with Murphy who took on his man on the outside and was round and seemed away to score but a desperate diving tap tackle just connected enough to deny the winger.
The Royal Blues did score a second try though after 17 minutes. Stuart Hair peeled round the front of a line out and, when Sutherland received the ball, he put in a measured cross kick. John Frew flew up the touchline to collect and pass inside for Murphy to touch down. Sutherland?s astute boot kept his side playing in the right areas of the field as the Linden continued to boss the game.
Dalkeith were then on the attack but a poor kick was picked up by Frew 10 metres from his own line and the 19-year-old showed great pace to go the distance. For the third time the try was too far out for the conversion but a 15-0 lead was no more than the home team deserved.
The Kings Park side should have responded just before the break. Firstly, from a period of pressure, they eventually went wide and their full-back looked to be over for the try but was hit in a double tackle and Frew somehow held up the ball to prevent the score. Unfortunately that meant the Linden had a scrum five to defend, the one area Dalkeith had been dominating. Secondly, as the scrum moved forward, the visitors, perhaps unwisely, picked and went wide but a poor pass meant the chance was gone.
Early in the second period, the Volunteer side went on the attack and a chip ahead by Sutherland in the 22 saw the stand-off taken out but the ball sat up nicely for Murphy to go over at the posts for what he thought was his hat-trick. Alas the referee had already blown for a penalty and the Linden settled for three points as Sutherland?s kick split the uprights.
The Linden now seemed to be in control of the game and its outcome. On 48 minutes, however, this took a twist as winger Gary Alexander was spotted throwing a punch and was shown a straight red card. There was now concern that this would give a way back into the game for Dalkeith. From here on in, if anyone was in any doubt about the spirit of this rejuvenated Linden team, they were quickly dispelled.
Dalkeith kicked the penalty to touch deep in home territory. Colville stole the lineout and linked with Sandy Walker, Murphy and Frew. The full-back went on the outside then in and out to weave his way to the line for a stunning try which Sutherland converted and the Linden were now 25-0 to the good.
Eight minutes later and Colville was at it again pinching ball from a Dalkeith lineout on half-way, passing on to Euan Hair whose return pass saw Colville head off on a storming run with two hand-offs on the way to his 58th try in a Linden jersey. Five minutes later and Rory Graham turned over Dalkeith possession to set Spalding off on the hoof and Frew was on hand to slice his way over to complete his hat-trick.
35-0 up with 17 minutes to go, the Linden emptied their bench and there was no further scoring when a Dalkeith player was knocked out in a tackle necessitating a call for an ambulance and the referee sensibly called full-time with only a few minutes remaining.
From the low of the thumping defeat at Dalkeith, never mind the murky depths of last season, this display showed the stunning turnaround of the Linden. Against a bigger pack, the young Linden eight fronted up and were heroes all taking their lead from the experience of Graham Colville and skipper for the day Keith Mabon, celebrating his 200th Linden appearance in style.
There was no way through the centre partnership of Graeme Anderson and Sandy Walker whilst John Frew was full of determination in both his running and defence. Barry Sutherland brought huge control to his team?s possession whilst half-back partner Rory Graham had probably his best ever performance for the Royal Blues.
Linden: J Frew, G Alexander, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, B Sutherland, R Graham; S Spalding, R Hartdegan, K Mabon, S Hair, E Hair, M Parker, M Mallin, G Colville; Subs: E Wood, C Gracie, M Bell, C Smith, L Sharkey, J Hogg, C Friell.
BT Borders Shield Semi-Final
Berwick 31, Hawick Linden 3
The Linden?s recent winning streak came to an end when they were defeated 31-3 by Berwick in the BT Borders Shield Semi-Final, the English side now going on to meet Hawick Harlequins in the Final on 11th February. On a surprisingly mild day at Scremerston, with no sea breeze to chill the air, the Royal Blues started brightly.
An early charge-down by Sandy Walker saw the centre heading under the posts but was rightly called back for a previous Linden knock-on. This was soon followed by an excellent run by John Frew as he burst deep into Berwick territory. It was nip-and-tuck until Kieran Murphy opened the scoring on 22 minutes with a penalty goal.
Berwick quickly responded following a controlled line-out drive when centre Jamie Pick hit a good line on a short ball and had the pace to touch down and also put over the conversion. The home team then thought they had added to their total but the final pass was ruled forward. The Royal Blues would have been happy to turn around only 7-3 behind but alas Berwick scored with the final play of the half. Full-back Gareth Hill kicked ahead, dribbled on and dived on the ball to put his team 12-3 up at the break.
Now playing with the slope, Berwick upped the tempo and, after a period of pressure in the Linden 22, the visitors were sucked in and home winger Lee Douglas benefited from the space created out wide to go over in the corner. No. 8 Tony McDougal went over the line but John Frew wrapped up the ball, managed to steal it and then somehow got himself out of the in-goal area to avoid a scrum five.
On 67 minutes a surging run by hooker Gareth Black laid the foundation for Michael Binnie to cut through the Linden defence to score at the posts for Pick to convert and put Berwick 24-3 ahead. Four minutes later and Binnie was over the line again but Frew never gave up what looked a totally lost cause and miraculously caused a knock-on to save another try.
The Linden scrum had been under pressure throughout the game so did well to hold out at a scrum five, however, Geoff Logan picked up and had the reach to stretch to the line for the final touch-down which Pick converted. The game ended with that man Frew making yet another try saving tackle as he caught his man as he raced for the corner.
Whilst defeated this was still an encouraging performance from a young Linden side missing quite a few players against a team currently fourth in the League above. Credit to the forwards who, although under pressure in the scrum, never buckled and competed well in the line-out. Credit also to Stuart Hair who played the whole game whilst carrying a painful shoulder injury. James Hogg worked hard with one memorable big hit. Young Kieran Murphy did well filling in at stand-off and centres Sandy Walker and Graeme Anderson tackled hard. Absolutely outstanding though was John Frew. Although showing some of his trademark running, it was his defence that shone even brighter as he thrice thwarted what looked certain tries.
This Saturday the Royal Blues return to League duty as the League splits into a top six and bottom eight as they take on Dalkeith at the Volunteer Park.
Linden: J Frew, C Gracie, G Anderson, S Walker, S Grant, K Murphy, E Wood; J White, R Hartdegan, S Spalding, S Hair, L Robertson, M Parker, J Hogg, E Hair.
BT East Region League 2
Inverleith 9, Hawick Linden 33
The Linden completed their 13 scheduled League fixtures with a ninth consecutive victory at Inverleith. Following on from an initial draw and then three losses, it means the Royal Blues will almost certainly finish fifth as the League splits into a top six and bottom eight. A few other matches remain outstanding meaning exact placings are not yet determined but the win guarantees the Linden a top six spot.
The visitors travelled with 11 players unavailable giving some pre-match concern over keeping the winning run going. Coach Barry Sutherland and medic Ryan Elliot were pressed into bench duties but a full complement of 22 was still listed. The Linden played into a fairly strong wind in the first period and a narrow pitch was not really suited to their style of play particularly against a heftier pack.
A couple of early penalties from home full-back Mark Cant put Inverleith 6-0 ahead after ten minutes. Kirk Ford replied from the tee before Cant put over his third successful penalty goal. It was then left to Ford to keep chipping away on the scoreboard as he landed three more penalties to send the Linden into the break 12-9 in front. With the elements to come in the second period it was a satisfactory if not entirely comfortable position for the Royal Blues.
It looked like they might get the first touchdown of the game after a good line out drive when Conor Grace came on an inside ball to burst through. He was tackled just short and Keith Mabon was up in support to pick and drive over the line but he was held up. A weaving run from Kieran Murphy created some space but, when the ball was spread wide, there was a deliberate knock-on by the home team and Cant departed for a ten minute break.
The penalty was kicked to the corner and James Hogg won the line out with Stuart Hair on the peel popping the ball to hooker Reece Hartdegan who plunged over in the corner. Ford converted majestically from the touchline. Glen Welsh then released Ford who made a nice break and kicked in behind the defence. He was first to the ball and, showing some neat football skills, kicked the loose ball over the line and dotted down. Once more Ford struck over a lovely kick from wide out.
The score was now 26-9 and, following patient play by the visitors as they went through several phases, John Frew took the final pass to score his tenth try of the season. Ford added the extras to stretch the lead to 33-9 with ample time available to secure the try bonus point.
Unfortunately the Linden lacked some composure when opportunities came their way and they were unable to add to their total. Keith Mabon was yellow carded just before the end and then his fellow prop Jordan White was injured resulting in the referee calling time slightly early.
Given their circumstances this was a result the Linden would certainly have taken before the game but, as things transpired, they were left a little disappointed they couldn?t secure the full five points. Reece Hartdegen had a great game in his first start at hooker whilst at the other end of the scale Keith Mabon was an ever-willing ball carrier as he closes in on 200 appearances for the club which he will achieve in his next match. Euan Hair gave a good lead in his first game as captain and James Hogg put in a power of work in the back row.
Rory Graham put out a great service, Glen Welsh asked questions of the home defence with ball in hand and centres Sandy Walker and Kirk Ford enjoyed their first match together.
Linden: J Frew, C Gracie, K Ford, S Walker, K Murphy, G Welsh, R Graham; J White, R Hartdegan, K Mabon, S Hair, E Hair, M Parker, J Hogg, G Colville; Subs: E Wood, B Sutherland, R Elliot, L Robertson, K Walley, G Scott, M Knight.
BT East Region League 2 and BT Borders Shield
Gala YM 13, Hawick Linden 34
The Linden travelled to Netherdale to take on Gala YM in a double header in BT East League 2 as well as the Borders Shield and came away with full League points and a place in the semi-final away to Berwick on 7th January.
The visitors got off to a dream start taking the lead on four minutes. Following a line out, stand-off Glen Welsh drilled a kick into the home 22 which carried over the try line. The situation looked to be covered by the home full-back who was caught out by the pace of John Frew who won the race to touch down.
The Linden struggled to get structure to their game and gave away too many penalties, two of which were struck between the uprights by Lyle Campbell to put Gala YM 6-5 ahead after 13 minutes. From a well worked line out peel, involving Stuart Hair and Pete Drysdale, Euan Hair seemed to have scored in the corner before the ball squirted away but the try was disallowed. These things can even themselves out though and shortly after, from a quick tap penalty by Kieran Murphy, the forwards surged to the line before Graeme Anderson went over in spite of what looked a clear knock-on.
With both teams regularly incurring the wrath of the referee it was Gala YM who received the first yellow card and, down to seven forwards, the Linden squeezed and turned the home scrum allowing Graeme Colville to pick and put scrum-half Euan Wood in under the posts with Murphy?s conversion stretching the lead to 17-6 at the break.
The second period began like the first with an early Linden score. Colville made excellent yardage from his own half and linked with Murphy who went on a weaving run before touching down and converting his own try. The home team went back down to 14 when the experienced Tom Weir was binned for taking Jordan White out illegally at a ruck.
From a Linden scrum, the ball was worked to the blind side and Frew was able to force his way over the try line. The YM had a period of pressure but the Royal Blues defence held firm and a James Hogg breakout relieved the danger. At the other end a good drive by the visitors forwards sucked in the cover which enable Colville to exploit the unguarded blind side for a try which put the Linden 34-6 up on 62 minutes.
With quite a few old heads in the home pack the expectancy was for the more youthful Linden side to kick on to a bigger score. However, it was the YM who began to dominate possession and the Linden penalty count rose costing skipper Graeme Anderson ten minutes in the sin-bin. After the YM knocked-on over the line, centre Duncan Miller finally dotted down after a fine break with Campbell?s conversion proving the final score of the game.
Not a vintage performance from the Linden in a game that had too many mistakes and too much whistle all resulting in little flow and a lot of frustration. Reece Hartdegen enjoyed his start at prop as did Gary Alexander on the wing. Hartdegen, Drysdale and Keith Mabon in the front row did well at scrum time against some wily old campaigners at the YM coalface. Euan Wood celebrated his first touchdown for the club and John Frew capped an excellent performance with two tries.
Linden: J Frew, G Alexander, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, G Welsh, E Wood; K Mabon, P Drysdale, R Hartdegan, S Hair, E Hair, M Parker, M Mallin, G Colville; Subs: J White, C Tofts, J Hogg, S Grant, R Graham, B Sutherland, M Bell.
BT East Region League 2
Hawick Linden 28, Lismore 10
It was a special day for the Linden as they returned home to the Volunteer Park for the first time in eight months to play their first game on the new 3G pitch. A great deal of hard work by many people brought an ambitious plan to fruition and the 3pm kick-off meant the match was played under floodlights which helped show off the new pitch and surroundings at their spectacular best.
Visitors Lismore quickly let it be known they weren?t just there to make up the numbers for the Linden?s welcome home party. In the third minute a stunning run by Royal Blues? full-back John Frew saw the full-back slice through a host of would-be tacklers and deep into the 22. However, when tackled, he was isolated and turn over ball was deftly chipped in behind the Linden defence and the bounce sat up for Scott Hall to gather on his own 10 metre line and the full-back had the pace to go the distance. Conor McAndrew kicked the conversion and added a penalty goal to leave the Linden 10-0 down after ten minutes.
It could have gotten worse for the Royal Blues three minutes later as the Lismore No. 8 made great ground but what should have been a scoring pass was adjudged forward. The Linden made the most of the reprieve as they worked their way to the other end and a Matthew Mallin line-out catch set up a drive which went to ground near the line. Graham Colville spotted a gap to pick and go right through the middle of the ruck to touch down and Gavin Stirling converted.
It was turning into a ding-dong affair as the bigger Lismore forwards playing with control whilst the Linden looked to up the pace of the game whenever they had the ball but had to be careful with their clearing kicks as the visitors? back three were dangerous runners. It took until the 31st minute for another score as Stirling popped over a penalty goal for a high tackle to tie the scores at 10-all.
Soon after, great work from a scrum saw Colville make good yardage and linked with Matthew Bell on his outside but a kick in behind went into touch. Lismore then spilled ball in their own 22 and Graeme Anderson looked to capitalise as he hacked on but the ball ran dead in the now shorter in-goal area. A home score wasn?t to be denied though as, five minutes from the break, the Linden did well to win a ruck and it was Colville once more who charged on and managed to step out of a tackle to put his team in the lead for the first time.
With half-time looming Colville was at it again as another thumping run had would-be tacklers bouncing off him bringing roars from the crowd. Following yet another Colville run the Royal Blues created an overlap but the try opportunity was lost as a pass was dropped. Play was brought back for a penalty though and Stirling?s successful kick made it 18-10 to the Linden at the break.
The home team looked to extend their lead but two early second-half penalty goal attempts, the second after great play by the Hair twins, failed to find the target. The Royal Blues started to use their bench and replacement Kirk Ford took over the kicking duties to slot a penalty on 53 minutes. The Linden had the chance to go for the jugular but spurned a couple of chances to score. Lismore were not for folding and continued to threaten and long periods of possession tested the home defence which stood firm.
With time almost up, the Linden had the final say. A line-out was overthrown and Matthew Mallin greatfully caught the ball at the back and showed lightening pace to fly off into the Lismore half and quick ball from a ruck on the try line saw replacement scrum-half Rory Graham on hand to touch down and Ford?s conversion completed the scoring.
A great way for the Linden to start a new era at the Volunteer 3G securing win number seven on the trot in an entertaining game which Lismore greatly contributed to. One concern was the number of penalties given away and a lack of discipline when thrice conceding a further ten metres. That aside though, it was a very encouraging performance from the Royal Blues after a four week lay-off. The forwards were immense. Simon Spalding had a great tussle with his opposite number at scrum time and No. 8 Graham Colville was outstanding with ball in hand giving his young back row colleagues Macaulay Parker and Matthew Mallin a great lead.
The backs looked like they were enjoying the faster surface none more so than John Frew as did wingers Mtthew Bell and Kieran Murphy. The centre combination of skipper Graeme Anderson and Sandy Walker were as solid as ever.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, G Stirling, G Welsh; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, S Hair, E Hair, M Parker, M Mallin, G Colville; Subs: R Hartdegen, K Mabon, C Friell, K Ford, R Graham, G Alexander, J Hogg.
BT East Region League 2
Hawick Linden 53, Liberton 7
On a lovely sunny but cool afternoon at Wilton Lodge Park, the Linden took on bottom of the table Liberton. Although the visitors had lost all nine of their previous league matches, none had been by a big margin so the Royal Blues had to be wary to ensure they stretched their winning run to six games.
Although they suffered an early scare the Linden romped away to a convincing 53-7 victory racking up a half-century of points for the first time since clinching the East 2 title against Earlston back in April 2013.
The home team had a great start opening the scoring after only three minutes. From a line out, the backs took ball on and, when recycled, Pete Drysdale was on hand to touch down with Kieran Murphy converting. The visitors then hit straight back when poor Linden handling in their own 22 resulted in a loss of possession and Liberton capitalised when prop Paul Millar plunged over. Captain Darren Tiffney stroked over the conversion to tie the scores at 7-all.
The home team managed to retake the lead after James Hogg took ball on and Pete Drysdale gave a well-timed pass to Euan Hair who charged on and cut inside to touch down. After quarter of an hour the Linden lost an attacking line-out but, when Liberton tried to clear their lines, Hogg charged down and the ball fell kindly for Drysdale who simply had the simplest of touch downs for his second of the day. Murphy added the extras.
On the half hour mark the Royal Blues secured the try bonus point with a well worked try. From a line out they hit up in midfield then came back blind and good hands saw Graham Colville on the end of the overlap to go over in the corner. The Royal Blues looked like they would end the first period on a high. Knowing a penalty was coming their way, Gavin Stirling put a kick over the defence but the referee blew immediately and John Frew who was on the end of the kind bounce to touch down was left somewhat frustrated. However, 24-7 ahead at the break the Linden could be happy with their first half efforts.
They stretched their lead early in the second period when Colville picked from the scrum and made good ground to release Murphy who raced over for the try. It took until the 60th minute for their next score but it was a cracker. Liberton attacking ball was turned over and Matthew Mallin made good yardage before passing inside to Frew who had the pace to go the distance from inside his own half and Murphy?s conversion made the score 36-7.
Frew repeated the dose two minutes later as the Linden again attacked from their own half and Connor Tofts claimed the assist as he put his full-back away for another great try and Murphy converted once more. On 65 minutes prop Jordan White came on a short ball and plunged over for his first try in a Linden jersey. Tofts secured the kick-off and following some good handling Mallin put replacement Cammy Friel in at the corner for a debut try.
Another satisfying win for the Linden against a stuffy Liberton side who belied their league position by defending well and with a weightier pack made life difficult for the home team to secure as much quick ruck ball as they would have liked. Stuart Hair was in fine form up front well supported by brother Euan and the back row of James Hogg, Macaulay Parker and Graham Colville. Euan Wood sent out a good service with Sandy Walker and Graeme Anderson solid in the centre.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, G Welsh, E Wood; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, S Hair, E Hair, J Hogg, M Parker, G Colville; Subs: C Tofts, R Hartdegen, K Mabon, M Mallin, C Smith, C Friel, G Stirling.
BT East Region League 2
Northern 0, Hawick Linden 13
The Linden made the trip to Inverleith Park to take on Edinburgh Northern who had only lost two previous League games including a somewhat surprising defeat to Lismore the week before. The visitors knew they would be in for a tough afternoon and that is exactly how matters transpired.
As the two sides sounded each other out they were both pinged early for offside which set the stall that they would have to be disciplined in that area of the game. The Royal Blues took a ninth minute lead from the trusty boot of Gavin Stirling as he stroked over a penalty goal.
Clear cut chances were at a premium until Northern worked an overlap after 27 minutes and winger Kieran Murphy went for the interception. Although he looked to have made an attempt to catch the ball his knock-on received the double whammy of a penalty award and ten minutes in the bin. The resulting kick at goal should have levelled the scores but was badly struck to the relief of the visitors.
Two minutes later the home team looked certain to score as skipper Calum Harper romped over but somehow John Frew was able to get under the ball and prevent downward pressure. The Linden were struggling to impose themselves on the game as mistakes affected any fluidity mainly through some poor handling, a couple of missed touch kicks and lost line-outs.
As the first period neared its end both teams had half-chances to score in the same passage of play. Northern were first to threaten as their full-back made a searing break but that man Frew was on hand, not only to make the vital tackle, but also to turn over the ball. Numerous phases later the Linden had worked their way into the home 22. Alas, having opened up some space, what might have been the scoring pass didn?t go to hand and the half ended with the Royal Blues 3-0 ahead and the game was in the balance.
The home team had edged the first period but the visitors upped their game at the start of the second period. Following a quick tap penalty by Glen Welsh, Simon Spalding was held up over the line. From the scrum No. 8 Graham Colville picked and drove for the line to force his way over but, as he placed the ball on the line under the posts, he was somehow deemed to have knocked on.
The Linden continued to have the upper hand and, from a line-out, Graeme Anderson came on a short ball to make a lovely break. Colville took the ball on and chipped into the 22 but the danger was cleared into touch. Two minutes later Colville was once more involved in the lead-up, Welsh hacked on but his kick just went over the dead ball line.
The pressure was finally rewarded after 56 minutes. After an Anderson charge-down, Murphy kicked on and over the try line. It looked a straight race between the young winger and his opposite number but a wicked bounce evaded both of them and sat up for the supporting Colville who gratefully gathered the ball for one of the easiest tries he?ll ever score. Ten minutes later he became the creator. Having lost the bulk of Stuart Hair, a Linden attacking scrum creaked badly but Colville tidied up and surged down the blind side, drew the last man and sent Frew flying in at the corner. Although both teams continued to work hard there was no further scoring in the final quarter of an hour and the Linden winning streak was extended to five matches.
John Frew ran well with ball in hand and was outstanding in defence. Glen Welsh asked questions around the fringes with Gavin Stirling having an assured match as his game management continues to thrive in the fly-half role. The front row of Jordan White, Pete Drysdale and Simon Spalding worked hard. Euan Hair won good line-out ball, James Hogg did the dirty work up-front and Graham Colville looked like he?d never been away on his first start since his knee injury over a year ago.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, G Stirling, G Welsh; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, S Hair, L Robertson, E Hair, J Hogg, G Colville; Subs: M Boyle, M Parker, R Hartdegen, K Walley, M Knight, E Wood, C Gracie.
BT East Region League 2
Hawick Linden 48, Langholm 12
As work continues to improve the playing facilities at the Volunteer Park, the improvement in the Linden on-field fortunes also continued at Wilton Lodge Park as they made it four wins on the bounce against Langholm. Skipper Graeme Anderson led the way in the ninth minute as he cut back against the grain then veered out and just made it to the line for Gavin Stirling to convert.
Three minutes later a line-out take by Craig Smith was fed to Simon Spalding on the peel who proved unstoppable on a surging run to touch down. Mid-way through the first period, when Langholm were pushed off their own scrum ball, Craig Smith picked and made ground and his offload was gratefully gathered by Matthew Mallin who dived over to take the score to 17-0.
Some great handling by the Linden led to John Frew making good ground. When the full-back was tackled the Royal Blues won quick ruck ball and Smith burst through the visitors defence to romp in from outside the 22. Stirling popped over the conversion.
Not to be outdone Langholm worked their way to the other end and, when they worked the ball wide, Jack Pool was on hand to go over in the corner. As the interval approached, the Linden won a turnover near the touchline and more great hands ended with Anderson dotting down for the second time and Stirling?s conversion made the half-time score 31-5 to the Linden.
Early in the second period the Royal Blues started to use their bench and, with almost his first touch, Kieran Murphy was on the end of a lovely cross kick by Stirling to score wide out. Soon after a tap penalty was quickly passed out to Murphy who ran in for his second try and Stirling?s conversion saw the Linden cruising at 43-5 with 25 minutes to play.
With so many replacements used the home team seemed to lose some of their structure whilst the men from Milntown were not for folding and continued to compete with vigour. Their efforts were eventually rewarded with some good offloading getting them in sight of the try-line and a neat reverse pass allowed Alisdair Cavers to dive over. Sam Henderson added the extras.
The home team had the final say when a Spalding offload to Euan Hair saw the middle row gallop in for his team?s eighth touchdown of the day. The try contributed to Hair sneaking the Linden man of the match award and he was well supported up front by Simon Spalding and James Hogg. Playing only their second game together at half-back, Glen Welsh and Gavin Stirling combined well and centre Sandy Walker continues to improve with every game.
Linden: J Frew, G Alexander, G Anderson, S Walker, M Bell, G Stirling, G Welsh; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, E Hair, S Hair, J Hogg, M Mallin, C Smith; Subs: C Tofts, R Graham, A Hume, E Wood, K Murphy, K Mabon, G Colville.
BT East Region League 2
Leith 5, Hawick Linden 27
It was a case of sunshine on Leith for the Linden at Academy Park as they stretched their winning run to three in a row following a workmanlike performance. It was a real squad effort as they travelled with a weakened team, several players either injured or unavailable, nine in the forwards alone, which forced coach Kevin Brown into action for the first time in almost a year.
In the third minute the game stopped as the home stand off Ben Wilkinson retired with an ankle injury whilst the Linden?s Pete Drysdale and Sandy Walker both received treatment for head cuts, Walker leaving the field to be replaced by Gary Alexander. Two minutes later it was the referee who received lengthy treatment to a hamstring injury and the continuation of the game looked in serious doubt. To the referee?s great credit he soldiered on, although struggling to keep up with play at times, to ensure the game could be fulfilled. A reminder if it were needed that, without a ref, there is no game.
The home team were shading possession but neither side could exert real pressure to trouble the scoreboard. With so many players missing up front the Royal Blues scrum was constantly under pressure but Kevin Brown at No. 8 repeatedly cleaned up scrappy ball to get his side going forward. With half-time approaching Gavin Stirling kicked the first points of the game after Leith were penalised for offside and repeated the dose for the same offence to put the Linden 6-0 ahead at the break.
Some good handling by Leith put their winger clear to the try-line but play was called back for a forward pass. Good driving play by Brown and Simon Spalding ended with Leith again caught offside in the backs and Stirling landed the penalty goal. Barry Sutherland came on after 52 minutes for Alexander and slotted in at stand-off with some other positional switches.
Leith were penalised for obstruction when clearing their lines and Stirling split the posts again and the Royal Blues were 12-0 to the good. On 55 minutes the home team were on the attack but the experienced Sutherland read the play to intercept and made good ground before passing on to Kieran Murphy who had the pace to go the distance.
Five minutes later, following backchat from the home team, Stirling slotted his fifth penalty of the day. Soon after great driving play and handling with Matthew Bell, John Frew and Jordan White all involved, ended with Sutherland jinking and dummying to slice through and touch down with Stirling converting.
The Linden did well to hold out a Leith scrum five thanks to some spoiling at the base by Stirling who had earlier moved to scrum half. The home team were not for giving up though and had the final say when replacement Cameron Whiteside was awarded the touch down in spite of claims from Stirling that he was under the ball.
Great credit to the Linden players who came in and gave everything to keep the winning run going. Young Ryan Ali had a fine debut in the back row with Matthew Mallin outstanding at the line-out. It was also good to see further youth in the shape of Kieran Walley and Michael Boyle get some game time off the bench. In the backs skipper Graeme Anderson put in some thumping tackles as did Kevin Brown who won the Linden man of the match. Interestingly Bruce Connelly, originally from Hawick, won the Leith award and there was a further connection as former Linden player Robert Stitt made an appearance from the Leith bench for a couple of surging runs.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, G Stirling, G Welsh; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, K Mabon, M Mallin, R Ali, R Graham, K Brown; Subs: G Alexander, K Walley, M Knight, B Sutherland, M Boyle, J Hogg.
BT East Region League 2
Earlston 8, Hawick Linden 27
Just like buses that never seem to appear then two come along at once, the Linden won for the second week in succession after the worst losing sequence in their history. Unlike the previous week though, it was a performance riddled with mistakes as they made endless handling errors, gave away too many penalties and, compounded by some bad option taking, it meant they stuttered rather than strolled to victory. Given their winless barren spell, it is hard to be too critical when the Royal Blues came out on top when not at their best.
The opening score after five minutes in some ways set the tone for the Royal Blues as they knocked-on, could have then killed the ball but allowed a hack on by Scott Denholm who easily won the race to touch down. When Earlston came off their feet at a ruck, Kieran Murphy slotted the penalty goal with Craig Bruce responding in kind for the home team after a high tackle.
In perfect conditions the number of dropped balls by the Linden was inexplicable and had the coaching team tearing their hair out. After half an hour they eventually strung some passes together and Craig Smith give the final one to Glen Welsh who touched down for his first Linden try although he had to retire with a cut to the head.
The number of penalties being given away by both teams stretched the referee Andrew Edgar?s patience and firstly Linden?s Matthew Mallin was sent for a 10 minute break followed by an Earlston player a minute later. Murphy had a chance to put the Linden in the lead with the last kick of the half but his penalty slid wide and the half-time whistle blew with the score tied at 8-all.
Five minutes into the second period and the Royal Blues looked likely to score following a Sandy Walker kick through but Graeme Anderson knocked-on in the act of scoring. One area of the game the Linden dominated was the scrum and, when they had the squeeze on at a scrum five, Graham Colville picked to go over for a try converted by Murphy. It was a welcome return to a Royal Blue jersey for the No. 8 after over a year out with a knee injury. On the down side, he had replaced Craig Smith who was forced to retire with a shoulder injury.
Three minutes later the Linden looked certain to add to their tally. A run by John Frew, some good hands then a strong burst and well timed pass by Terry Skeet sent Keith Mabon romping over from 22 metres out but somehow he dropped the ball when flopping over the line. The Linden brought on the experienced Barry Sutherland for his first Linden game in three years and he immediately exerted some control as his piercing kicks started to play the game in the right areas for the visitors.
With Earlston down to 14 men, a solid Linden scrum and simple hands saw John Frew on the overlap to score wide out. Four minutes later they repeated the dose in almost identical fashion, Frew this time piercing a gap to score his second try of the day to secure the bonus point. Sutherland converted majestically from wide out to complete the scoring.
The Linden will take heart from winning for the second game in a row, something they haven?t done since December/January 2014/15 although they lacked the control and structure of the week before. Happiest on the day will be the front row of Jordan White, Pete Drysdale and Connor Tofts backed up by Reece Hartdegen and Terry Skeet as the Linden were in command at scrum time. The return of Colville and Sutherland was also encouraging for the Linden support in a good sized crowd at the Haugh.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, G Welsh, G Alexander, K Murphy, R Graham; J White, P Drysdale, C Tofts, S Spalding, K Mabon, M Mallin, J Hogg, C Smith; Subs: R Hartdegen, T Skeet, G Colville, K Walley, M Knight, S Walker, B Sutherland.
BT East Region League 2
Hawick Linden 24, Portobello 15
It was a long time in coming. Not since February 2015 had the Linden won a league fixture but they finally unloaded the proverbial monkey from their backs as they secured a hard fought but deserved victory over Portobello in the sunshine at Wilton Lodge Park.
A great drive by the Linden forwards led to a penalty award which Gavin Stirling slotted over in the third minute. Five minutes later Portobello drove from a line out and No. 8 Graham Culbertson peeled off to touch down.
The Royal Blues were having a torrid time in the scrum regularly being driven off their own ball. However, when they had a put-in inside the Portobello 22, the Royal Blue scrum was solid, Craig Smith picked, went blind, drew in the winger and slipped Matthew Bell over in the corner for a simple but well executed try.
After a good long kick from Graeme Anderson a serious of penalties to the home team ended in Stirling kicking his second of the match to stretch the lead to 11-5 after 16 minutes. Not long before the break the Linden tried hard to add to their tally. Following a line out, Anderson put Bell flying through a gap and the young winger looked likely to score until a half-tackle affected his momentum and he was held up at the posts. The Royal Blues pounded the line too often through the forwards and they were eventually penalised which relieved the danger for Porty.
Linden started the second half with a bang as some great driving by Craig Smith led to another penalty which Stirling converted. On 49 minutes Stirling put a neat kick through to the in-goal area and John Frew just won the race to touch down. Stirling added the conversion from wide out and his team were now 21-5 in front.
Portobello had the edge on possession and territory in the second period but some resolute Linden defending soaked up the pressure before Stirling popped over his fourth penalty goal to ease any home nerves. Some great work by Anderson put the Linden on the front foot again and, when Bell did well to keep the ball alive tight to the touchline, Smith surged to the line and put Frew over to dot down but Smith had already put a foot in touch.
From the resulting line out Portobello threw caution to the wind and the pace of Cameron Johnstone finished off a lovely length of the field try. The visitors weren?t finished as they went all out for a losing bonus point. With the last play of the game Ali Bain crossed in the corner despite Linden claims for a foot in touch and looking like he may have lost control before grounding. Alas for Portobello the difficult kick didn?t find the target and they left empty handed.
The Linden have shown promise in recent games in spite of some hard to bear results. The potential came together in a fantastic team performance where real structure and togetherness were evident for which credit is due to coaches Kevin Brown, Lee Stewart and Barry Sutherland.
Every single Linden player deserves plaudits with the experience of Graeme Anderson, Pete Drysdale and Craig Smith ensuring the younger players were given a superb lead. Smith revelled at No. 8 and had an outstanding match. Gavin Stirling had one of his best games in the fly-half role and John Frew was once again full of determined running. Up against a much bigger pack, the Linden forwards were fantastic. Previously unbeaten Portobello contributed to a great game of rugby and the lift given to the Linden by such a hard earned win can hopefully lead to more of the same in the weeks ahead.
Linden: J Frew, G Welsh, G Anderson, S Walker, M Bell, G Stirling, E Wood; J White, P Drysdale, C Tofts, E Hair, A Hume, M Parker, M Mallin, C Smith; Subs: S Spalding, K Mabon, K Walley, M McRae, M Knight, S Hair, S Grant.
BT East Region League 2
Dalkeith 62, Hawick Linden 14
In their previous away game at Broughton a competitive first half performance fell off in the second period and it was a similar tale at Kings Park, Dalkeith. The Linden took an early lead at one point but were 24-7 adrift at the break before the home side piled on the points in the second half.
Dalkeith scored first with a Jamie Simpson try in the corner but the Royal Blue response was instant. Scott Grant hacked on a dropped ball in the Linden half and John Frew kicked on again to dive on the ball. Gavin Stirling?s conversion put the visitors in front 7-5.
Just into the second quarter and it was Simpson who once more went over in the corner for Dalkeith and Steph Paton converted. Simon Spalding saw yellow for a dangerous tackle and, in the 10 minutes he was absent, Dalkeith touched down twice through Scott Rae and Darren McMillan with one converted to leave the home team 24-7 up at the break. Spalding's actions also ensured he won the Linden d&*k of the day and photos in his fetching post-match suit can be found on social media.
The Linden threatened following a Euan Wood break and link up with John Frew who showed great pace to go round his man but a great cover tackle denied the full-back. Scott Grant was then forced to leave the field after taking a nasty knock.
On 55 minutes the Linden were penalised for a high tackle which seemed a little harsh but veteran Stevie Halliday took advantage to plunge over for a try converted by Walker. From this point the home side added regular touch downs from Simpson, to complete his hat-trick, Paton (2), Davie Walker and Ewan Lockhart with three being converted. In between the Linden managed a try from Simon Spalding who followed up a Pete Drysdale drive to dot the ball down and Stirling converted.
There was some spirited play from the Linden but they?ll be disappointed at the number of first up tackles that were missed, particularly off first phase, which allowed the home team to get in behind too easily and cause danger. Half-backs Euan Wood and Gavin Stirling had sound games as did Sandy Walker in the centre. The front row of Jordan White, Pete Drysdale and Simon Spalding, together with replacements Connor Tofts and Michael Boyle, put in a tough shift against much bigger opponents. Aaron Hume made an impressive return and Euan Hair and Matthew Mallin won some great line out ball.
Linden: J Frew, R Graham, P MacTaggart, S Walker, G Alexander, G Stirling, E Wood; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, E Hair, A Hume, M Parker, S Grant, M Mallin; Subs: M Boyle, C Tofts, M McRae, K Walley, M Knight.
BT East Region League 2
Hawick Linden 13, Edinburgh University Medics 34
The Linden failed to secure their first win of the season at a sun-kissed Wilton Lodge Park as Edinburgh University Medics were just that bit tighter around the breakdown and direct in their running as they ran out deserved winners. The start was delayed for 15 minutes as the referee arrived late. The assembled crowd were able to pass the time though by enjoying the sunshine and taking in the feast of sporting action with two other rugby matches and four football games taking place ?up the Park.?
Perhaps the delay affected Linden?s concentration as they cheaply coughed up the kick off to hand the Students possession and territory which they dominated for the early part of the game. The Royal Blues eventually found their way to the other end of the field and won a penalty in front of the posts which they chose to run but came to nothing.
23 minutes were on the clock before the first score arrived as centre Rory Thompson burst through a gap in the home defence and Nick Bellamy converted. Kieran Murphy responded with a penalty goal for the Linden but Thompson, who was proving a handful, was on the end of an overlap to touch down for a second time for the Medics.
With the last play of the half, that man Thompson made another break before being well tackled just short of the try line. A forward picked and drove over but Gavin Stirling did well to get under the ball and prevent downward pressure but the referee who had been unsighted awarded a try. This appeared to knock some heart out of the home team as they were now 17-3 behind at the break.
Eight minutes into the second period and the ball was worked wide for Medics winger Scott Osborne to go over in the corner. Five minutes later the Linden hit back. After a couple of tap penalties and some phase play, Matthew Bell benefited from the overlap created to race over.
A neat inside pass put Uni centre Henry Searle clear to touch down and Bellamy converted. The city team added their sixth try of the day before the Linden had the final word when Murphy took a quick penalty and shot over.
Disappointment for the Linden that they couldn?t exert the control they would have liked on the game. Euan Wood had an encouraging first start at scrum-half and John Frew was once again full of determined running and was always threatening with ball in hand. Reece Hartdegen and Connor Tofts worked hard up front with sound support from the Hair twins.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, S Walker, K Murphy, G Stirling, E Wood; R Hartdegen, M Parker, C Tofts, S Hair, E Hair, J Hogg, S Grant, M Mallin; Subs: K Walley, P MacTaggart, J White, R Graham, M Boyle, M McRae, M Knight.
BT East Region League 2
Broughton 80, Hawick Linden 17
The Linden returned from Edinburgh on the end of a thumping loss to Broughton. Whilst undoubtedly well beaten, there was some head shaking at the margin of defeat as the final scoreline was very harsh on the visitors. The Royal Blues were forced into a late change as Macaulay Parker was suffering from illness and swapped places with Michael Knight who had been due to start on the bench.
On a glorious day in the capital, Broughton struck first with a penalty after four minutes from what was to become the faultless boot of Gavin Tainish. In the lead up to the award, Stuart Hair took a blow to the mouth, which later required stiches, in an accidental clash of heads and left the field. The early loss of the big middle row forced a reshuffle as Scott Grant moved into the forwards and Gary Alexander came on to the wing for his Linden debut.
Broughton extended their lead with a try in the corner by Craig Wishart converted by Tainish. The Linden hit back after quarter of an hour. Simon Spalding started it off with a strike against the head and, following some hit ups near the line, it was Spalding who finished matters off somehow twisting and turning to get the ball down. Kieran Murphy converted and soon after added a penalty goal to tie the score at 10-all after 20 minutes.
The home team regained the lead with touchdowns from Wishart and Dan Smith both converted by Tainish. The Linden had a chance to add to their tally with a penalty but the kick slipped wide and the half-time whistle blew with Broughton 24-10 ahead.
The second period got off to the worst possible start for the Linden as Broughton scored in the first minute and added three more by the 51st minute of the game and suddenly, in what felt like no time at all, the Royal Blues were now trailing 52-10. Injuries and fatigue were kicking in as seemingly endless changes were required for the visitors.
However, they showed some character with their best period of the half. Some good picking and driving and then a thrust by Stuart Hair, having bravely returned to the fray, who popped a short ball to his brother Euan who burst the line and had the pace to go over for the touchdown which was well converted by Phil MacTaggart.
Linden though couldn?t contain the hard running Broughton side who were able to add three further converted tries. Their second half home touchdowns came from Wishart, to complete his hat-trick, Andy Archer, Scott Rogers, Phil Rogers, Scott McClenaghan, Stu Hagen and Gavin Tainish with a brace. Tainish had a 100% success with the boot for a personal haul of 35 points.
A very disappointing outcome for the Linden following a first quarter where they were in the game. The home team were stronger and more together at the breakdown and, with the hard running of their backs, too many tackles were missed by the Linden particularly in the second period. John Frew was the stand out in the backs with some lovely running and Stuart Hair put in some powerful bursts on his return and was well supported by Simon Spalding. A special mention for Macaulay Parker who somehow managed some game time from the bench when he was clearly not well.
Linden: J Frew, M Bell, G Anderson, S Walker, S Grant, K Murphy, R Graham; K Mabon, S Spalding, J White, S Hair, E Hair, M Knight, C Smith, M Mallin; Subs: M Parker, K Walley, E Wood, G Alexander, P MacTaggart, R Hamilton.
Footnote: Just to quell any potential rumors, Gary Alexander mentioned in the report is not the same as the Past-President who was running touch and most certainly hasn?t come out of retirement!
BT East Region League 2
Hawick Linden 24, Trinity Accies 24
Linden opened their League campaign in East 2 with a 24-all draw against Trinity Accies at Wilton Lodge Park. The visitors were first to press and, although the Linden repelled a number of five metre scrums, when the ball eventually went wide they couldn?t prevent a try near the posts which Trinity converted for a 7-0 lead.
The home team then hit a purple patch with three rapid scores. First, good inter-passing took play to the Accies line and MacAulay Parker jumped over the grounded bodies to touch down for Kieran Murphy to convert. Some excellent interplay between backs and forwards, together with a good run by Reece Hartdegen, saw Parker on the end of the final pass and show a clean pair of heels for his second try. Murphy converted.
From the kick-off Craig Smith bumped his initial tackler before setting off on a mazy run to the posts and Rory Graham was on hand to pick up to complete another great try. Murphy?s third conversion stretched the Linden lead to 21-7.
Trinity then gained a foothold in the home half and, after a series of infringements, John Frew was yellow carded. The Royal Blues managed to hold on in his absence and were more than satisfied to turn around 21-7 ahead.
Accies regrouped after the interval and started to starve the home side of the ball. A straightforward penalty goal reduced the deficit and then Trinity?s scrum dominance resulted in a converted push over try and the Linden were now looking shaky at only 21-17 in front.
Murphy settled some nerves with a successful penalty and then the Royal Blues had a glorious chance to stretch their lead but, after a turnover in the shadow of their own posts, Colin Richardson looked like he would round off a length of the field try but just couldn?t get downward pressure in the act of scoring.
Momentum changed when the visitors looked to have knocked on at half-way but play was allowed to continue taking matters into Linden territory and Keith Mabon was shown yellow for coming in at the side. With the middle row still absent, Trinity went over for their second pushover try with the conversion tying the scores up at 24-each.
Linden and Trinity both had chances to take the lead with penalty goals before, with just a couple of minutes remaining, the Royal Blues had one more opportunity. Alas Gavin Stirling?s kick came back off the post meaning the teams could not be separated.
Progress for the Linden from last season as Craig Smith showed his experience and Macaulay Parker was the stand out of the younger contingent. With a number of players unavailable, and still to come back into contention, the early signs are much more encouraging for the Royal Blues in the season ahead.
Linden: G Stirling, J Frew, G Anderson, S Walker, M Bell, K Murphy, R Graham; R Hartdegen, M Parker, C Tofts, K Mabon, G Wardle, J Hogg, C Smith, M Mallin; Subs: M Boyle, M McRae, L Sharkey, E Wood, C Richardson, S Grant, M Knight.
The Linden continued their pre-season preparations by taking part in the Annan 15-a-side tournament at Violetbank in very wet conditions. With Stewartry unable to attend, the scheduled two groups of three were amended to a single group of five.
Linden?s first match was against Newton Stewart who already had a game under their belt as the Royal Blues lost out 21-5. Next up they took on National 3 side Dumfries Saints and did extremely well before going down 17-5 as Rory Graham touched down for the Linden.
Their third match against hosts Annan was scoreless with around 10 minutes remaining when Greg Baillie sustained a broken leg. This resulted in the game being abandoned. Thankfully an operation was successful and the best wishes of everyone go to Greg for a speedy recovery.
The Linden ended on a high as they won emphatically by 38-0 against Moffat including tries from John Frew, Simon Spalding, Kieran Murphy and Matthew Mallin.
Newton Stewart topped the table to claim the Violetbank Shield with runners-up Dumfries awarded the Coupland Trophy.
Apart from Baillie?s injury, this was a useful exercise for the Linden squad who all gained game-time as coach Kevin Brown tried various options that auger well for the season ahead.
Hawick Linden 14, North Berwick 38
In their first run-out of the season, the Linden took on old friends North Berwick at Wilton Lodge Park in a game played over three 20 minute periods. The Royal Blues put in an encouraging performance, and led 14-12 going into the final period.
The Linden tries came from Aiden Fairbairn, following a rumble near the line, and Graeme Anderson, both converted by Kieran Murphy. However, the weight and experience of the visitors told in the end as they stretched away to a 38-14 win to claim the Johnny Mitchell Trophy with tries from Matt Sanderson (2), Liam West (2), Bhrian Buchanan and Graeme Fairgrieve.
Linden skipper Anderson led from the front tackling everything that moved. The lineout worked well for the young home team and their scrum held up against a bigger pack. Matthew Mallin had a fine game at flanker with Jordan White and Pete Drysdale also showing up well in the pack. Gavin Stirling had a solid game after switching to scrum-half.
Match Reports Season 2015/16
Hawick Linden 3, St Boswells 34
The Linden played their last game on grass at the Volunteer on Wednesday night before the laying of the new 3G pitch. It was their sixth home game in less than six weeks as a result of only playing three home games in the first six months of this season. The paucity of matches at the Volunteer in the early part of the season was partly due to imbalanced fixture scheduling but mainly due to the very wet winter forcing so many cancellations. Many of the games called off may well have survived on a 3G surface. With the St Boswells match played on a mud-bath in April, the new facilities can’t come quickly enough.
Without a win to their name this season, and St Boswells having a 100% League record, it looked like the Linden would, in all likelihood, be on the receiving end of a hefty defeat. However, no-one foresaw the step up in the Royal Blues performance from Saturday’s match against Linlithgow and their desire and commitment forced the high-flying visitors into mistakes and regular back-chat to the referee that, on another day, would have seen some time spent on the naughty step.
The Linden had the chance to open the scoring after 12 minutes but Greg Baillie’s penalty kick went just wide. It was Baillie’s brother Andrew though, who grabbed the first score as he was up in support to charge over for St Boswells on 19 minutes. The Linden spent some time in the villagers 22, forcing a scrum five, but they could not get over the line. The first period ended with St Boswells just 5-0 ahead.
The villagers upped their game at the start of the second half and, from a scrum, Ross Nichol went over. A secure line out drive was then released to the backs and David Cassidy touched down for a try he converted himself to stretch his team’s lead to 17-0.
At the end of the third quarter, Greg Baillie put over a penalty kick to get the Linden on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, the Royal Blues fluffed the kick-off to surrender territory cheaply and Dean McCracken capitalised by going over for the bonus point touchdown. Soon after James Parker showed his pace and power to race over, Cassidy converting, and replacement Scott Tomlinson had the final say twisting over for the last try.
A fantastic effort by the Linden as bottom gave top-of-the table a contest the visitors didn’t appear to be expecting. Veteran Barrie Keown was to the fore of a very youthful home team. Youngsters John Frew, Macaulay Parker and Kieran Murphy did well against much more experienced opponents. The pack were immense and all deserve praise for raising their game to make life difficult for the team that will surely be crowned East 1 champions.
Linden: G Baillie, K McLeod, J Frew, S Grant, M Parker, K Murphy, R Graham; J White, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Spalding, C Tofts, L Sharkey, J Hogg, B Keown; Subs: M Knight, A Fairbairn, E Hair, T Skeet.
Hawick Linden 10, Linlithgow 43
After recent promising performances, the Linden fell to defeat against Linlithgow where the damage was done in the first half as too many basic errors contributed to some soft tries from a Linden perspective.
The visitors’ got off the mark in the first minute as Jack Frame slotted a penalty goal and three minutes later they turned over Linden ball in their own half. When the ball was worked to Frame in space he had the pace to finish off and convert himself.
At the other end debutant Greig Scott had a snipe at the line followed by several thrusts by the forwards which were well defended. Eventually the pressure was rewarded as Greg Baillie put over a penalty goal on the 15 minute mark.
However, a simple dropped ball at the kick-off by Linden immediately handed back field position to Linlithgow and they wasted no time in taking advantage as they moved the ball from the resulting scrum and centre James Timlin crossed for a try converted by Frame.
The Royal Blues then came surging back as Simon Spalding made a thundering charge that took him to the visitors’ 22 but failed to spot the unmarked Joseph Chipakupaku on his outside. The Mains Park team went back on the attack and the Royal Blues looked to have thwarted the danger as they turned over ball at a ruck in their own 22. Linlithgow were quickest to react to the loose ball though and Billy Edment hacked on to touch down for Frame to convert.
The Linden had a chance to reduce the leeway on the half hour mark but a penalty attempt slipped wide. With time almost up in the first half, lock Stuart Bell found himself on the wing and his hand off allowed him to surge to the corner and stretch the lead to 29-3 at the break.
The Linden were unfortunate early in the second period as Peter Drysdale burst through for a great try at the posts but, alas, the referee had whistled prematurely for a Linden penalty and could not award the score. The home side continued to work out a way through the Linlithgow defence and almost did so through a most unlikely source as prop Ryan Beattie produced a marvellously weighted cross kick to winger Scott Grant who couldn’t quite escape his man and was bundled into touch.
A Linden try eventually arrived from a superb run by Connor Tofts who felt the gap and went for the line. Just as he looked set to score he was denied by a high tackle and the referee immediately headed for the posts to signal a penalty try but undoubtedly a score that will deservedly be claimed by Tofts. Baillie popped over the extras to make the score 29-10.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Linlithgow scored a couple of quick-fire tries both from Timlin to complete his hat-trick and an impressive debut for the Reds. Both were converted by Frame to complete the scoring.
The Linden performance slipped off from that of previous weeks but there was no doubt Connor Tofts stepped up producing one of his best games for the Linden as the front-rower settled in to the new surroundings of the back row. James Hogg and Simon Spalding also worked hard up front and Euan Hair showed his versatility filling in at stand-off.
Linden: G Baillie, S Grant, P MacTaggart, C Gracie, R Graham, E Hair, G Scott; J White, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Hair, S Spalding, C Tofts, L Sharkey, J Hogg; Subs: M Knight, J Chipakupaku, M Boyle, J Wilson.
Hawick Linden 0, Murrayfield Wanderers 20
In total contrast to last Saturday’s glorious sunshine it was back to wet and miserable conditions for Murrayfield Wanderers first ever visit to the Volunteer Park. A minute’s silence took place before the game in memory of Past-President and Life Member Jock Edgar who sadly passed away on Wednesday. The visitors were a big and powerful looking side and, when lined up for the tribute to Jock the Dog, it looked like a long and difficult afternoon was ahead for the much smaller Linden team. However, the Royal Blues played with passion throwing themselves relentlessly into tackles against their bigger opponents and playing with wonderful enterprise in spite of the testing conditions. There were 18 minutes on the clock when the home team had the chance to break the deadlock but a penalty attempt slipped wide. There was lots of good play from the Linden with Kieran Murphy making a nice little break and Shaun Fairbairn and Ryan Beattie having more than useful carries as they took the game to Murrayfield. It was the Edinburgh team who opened the scoring after 22 minutes when they worked the Linden right and then left to suck in the defence and their winger took advantage of the space created to touch down in the corner. Six minutes later and the lead doubled following a scrum. After hitting up in midfield, the Murrayfield open-side was on hand to take the scoring pass. The hard running and tackling from both sides continued without further scoring before the half-time whistle blew with Murrayfield 10-0 ahead. In the second period Fairbairn made a cracking break from a scrum in his own half and linked with James Hogg who thundered on. When Hogg was tackled, the Linden were awarded a penalty at the breakdown but the kick at goal missed the target. It was then the visitors who looked certain to score when their No. 8 gave what looked like the scoring pass but a tap tackle somehow prevented the try and the Linden secured a penalty and cleared their lines. From a tap penalty Beattie, Fairbairn, Beattie again and Jordan White all made tremendous charges but, just when the Linden looked like they would score, they were turned over. Undeterred they went back on the attack and some great offloading contributed to creating an overlap, alas a potential scoring pass went forward. The Royal Blues continued to have the better of the territory and there was no let up with their enterprising play with John Frew and Joseph Chipakupaku both having useful runs. The Linden though just couldn’t find a way through the Murrayfield defence. On 65 minutes the Wanderers scored their third try on what was one of their few visits to the home 22 in the second period. Following a line out, their No. 8 had the power to go over too far out for the conversion. The Linden worked their way back up the other end running kickable penalties in the 22 and even managing to drive their opponents back from a line out but all to no avail. With the Linden on the attack, they were turned over and Murrayfield went the length of the field to score the bonus point try with the last play of the game. There was no denying Murrayfield were the better team overall but the Linden completely belied their lowly League position playing with real spirit, enterprise and no little adventure. Ryan Hamilton had a great game at nine, with youngsters Kieran Murphy and John Frew again running well. The pack were simply immense against their bigger opponents all deserving huge praise with Shaun Fairbairn, Peter Drysdale and Ryan Beattie sneaking an extra mention. Linden: K Murphy, S Grant, C Gracie, P MacTaggart, J Frew, G Stirling, R Hamilton; J White, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Hair, S Spalding, C Tofts, J Hogg, S Fairbairn; Subs: J Chipakupaku, M Boyle, M Parker, K McLeod. In total contrast to the weather that twice forced cancellations of the visit of Duns earlier in the season, Linden entertained their visitors at a sun drenched Wilton Lodge Park. The Royal Blues quickly took to their new home surroundings as they started well and had the first chance to score but a penalty kick slipped wide of the posts. On eight minutes they did break the deadlock following some good rugby the ball reached John Frew on the left wing who ran hard, Craig Smith carried on and Nicky Little charged over for the try converted by Greg Baillie. With the Linden looking the livelier side in the early stages, Duns were now the team in the ascendancy. They were rewarded on the 20 minute mark when, after a scrum five, the Linden defence was sucked in and a good wide pass found Hayden Martin unmarked on the wing. The stand-off, playing possibly his last ever game for the club, had the easiest of tasks to dot down and Lewis Craik struck an impressive conversion to tie the scores. A great run by Sean Goodfellow, supported by Craig Smith, threatened to unlock the Duns defence but came to nothing when the Linden were turned over. With half-time approaching, it was the visitors who took the lead. From a scrum in their own half, Danny Lamb made a searing break following a missed tackle, found his support runner who returned the favour for Lamb to cross at the posts and Craik converted. Into the second period and Duns broke from a scrum and only a great tackle by Kieran Murphy managed to avert the danger. Soon after Duns did score when winger Josh Herbert was on hand to pick up and plunge over under the posts. Craik’s conversion took the lead to 21-7. Duns’ Angus Tullie was shown a yellow card for a trip and Linden sensed their chance to get back in the game. A great cover tackle by Frew saw the Linden awarded a penalty. A quick tap by Goodfellow with support from Stuart Renwick and Smith frustratingly ended in a knock-on. The Royal Blues continued to apply pressure and drove over in the corner. Even more frustratingly the referee was rooted to the spot nowhere near the incident and simply blew up without bothering to check if the ball might have been grounded. Undeterred, the Linden continued to go all out for a try and Craig Smith, switched to No. 8 due to injuries, picked and drove for the line. When tackled just short, Smith was penalised for holding on and, to add insult, was yellow carded into the bargain and left the field utterly bemused. With that, the long period of Linden pressure came to nothing and the sucker punch came at the other end as Duns No. 8, Richard Burns, who had carried well all afternoon, surged over from a scrum five and Craik converted once more. With that, the game was well out of Linden’s reach and things got worse as Keown was the second home player to see yellow and Duns immediately capitalised as middle row Gavin Tait touched down with Craik converting. However, the Linden were to have the final say through a remarkable individual try. Replacement Scott Grant received the ball outside the 22 and set off on a run through heavy traffic full of side-steps, dancing feet, pirouettes, there may even have been a triple salchow in there, before touching down to the loudest cheer of the day. Baillie converted with the last kick of the game. A disappointing final scoreline for the Linden in light of their promising start to the game. However, given that 18 players were unavailable, it was a decent display with young PSA players Kieran Murphy, John Frew and Michael Boyle, making his debut, all showing up well. Linden: K Murphy, G Baillie, C Smith, S Renwick, J Frew, S Goodfellow, R Hamilton; N Little, C Tofts, R Beattie, J Wilson, A Fairbairn, L Sharkey, J Hogg, B Keown; Subs: P MacTaggart, M Boyle, G Wardle, S Grant.
Hawick Linden 14, Duns 35
In total contrast to last Saturday’s glorious sunshine it was back to wet and miserable conditions for Murrayfield Wanderers first ever visit to the Volunteer Park. A minute’s silence took place before the game in memory of Past-President and Life Member Jock Edgar who sadly passed away on Wednesday.
The visitors were a big and powerful looking side and, when lined up for the tribute to Jock the Dog, it looked like a long and difficult afternoon was ahead for the much smaller Linden team. However, the Royal Blues played with passion throwing themselves relentlessly into tackles against their bigger opponents and playing with wonderful enterprise in spite of the testing conditions.
There were 18 minutes on the clock when the home team had the chance to break the deadlock but a penalty attempt slipped wide. There was lots of good play from the Linden with Kieran Murphy making a nice little break and Shaun Fairbairn and Ryan Beattie having more than useful carries as they took the game to Murrayfield.
It was the Edinburgh team who opened the scoring after 22 minutes when they worked the Linden right and then left to suck in the defence and their winger took advantage of the space created to touch down in the corner. Six minutes later and the lead doubled following a scrum. After hitting up in midfield, the Murrayfield open-side was on hand to take the scoring pass. The hard running and tackling from both sides continued without further scoring before the half-time whistle blew with Murrayfield 10-0 ahead.
In the second period Fairbairn made a cracking break from a scrum in his own half and linked with James Hogg who thundered on. When Hogg was tackled, the Linden were awarded a penalty at the breakdown but the kick at goal missed the target. It was then the visitors who looked certain to score when their No. 8 gave what looked like the scoring pass but a tap tackle somehow prevented the try and the Linden secured a penalty and cleared their lines.
From a tap penalty Beattie, Fairbairn, Beattie again and Jordan White all made tremendous charges but, just when the Linden looked like they would score, they were turned over. Undeterred they went back on the attack and some great offloading contributed to creating an overlap, alas a potential scoring pass went forward.
The Royal Blues continued to have the better of the territory and there was no let up with their enterprising play with John Frew and Joseph Chipakupaku both having useful runs. The Linden though just couldn’t find a way through the Murrayfield defence.
On 65 minutes the Wanderers scored their third try on what was one of their few visits to the home 22 in the second period. Following a line out, their No. 8 had the power to go over too far out for the conversion.
The Linden worked their way back up the other end running kickable penalties in the 22 and even managing to drive their opponents back from a line out but all to no avail. With the Linden on the attack, they were turned over and Murrayfield went the length of the field to score the bonus point try with the last play of the game.
There was no denying Murrayfield were the better team overall but the Linden completely belied their lowly League position playing with real spirit, enterprise and no little adventure. Ryan Hamilton had a great game at nine, with youngsters Kieran Murphy and John Frew again running well. The pack were simply immense against their bigger opponents all deserving huge praise with Shaun Fairbairn, Peter Drysdale and Ryan Beattie sneaking an extra mention.
Linden: K Murphy, S Grant, C Gracie, P MacTaggart, J Frew, G Stirling, R Hamilton; J White, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Hair, S Spalding, C Tofts, J Hogg, S Fairbairn; Subs: J Chipakupaku, M Boyle, M Parker, K McLeod.
In total contrast to the weather that twice forced cancellations of the visit of Duns earlier in the season, Linden entertained their visitors at a sun drenched Wilton Lodge Park. The Royal Blues quickly took to their new home surroundings as they started well and had the first chance to score but a penalty kick slipped wide of the posts. On eight minutes they did break the deadlock following some good rugby the ball reached John Frew on the left wing who ran hard, Craig Smith carried on and Nicky Little charged over for the try converted by Greg Baillie. With the Linden looking the livelier side in the early stages, Duns were now the team in the ascendancy. They were rewarded on the 20 minute mark when, after a scrum five, the Linden defence was sucked in and a good wide pass found Hayden Martin unmarked on the wing. The stand-off, playing possibly his last ever game for the club, had the easiest of tasks to dot down and Lewis Craik struck an impressive conversion to tie the scores. A great run by Sean Goodfellow, supported by Craig Smith, threatened to unlock the Duns defence but came to nothing when the Linden were turned over. With half-time approaching, it was the visitors who took the lead. From a scrum in their own half, Danny Lamb made a searing break following a missed tackle, found his support runner who returned the favour for Lamb to cross at the posts and Craik converted. Into the second period and Duns broke from a scrum and only a great tackle by Kieran Murphy managed to avert the danger. Soon after Duns did score when winger Josh Herbert was on hand to pick up and plunge over under the posts. Craik’s conversion took the lead to 21-7. Duns’ Angus Tullie was shown a yellow card for a trip and Linden sensed their chance to get back in the game. A great cover tackle by Frew saw the Linden awarded a penalty. A quick tap by Goodfellow with support from Stuart Renwick and Smith frustratingly ended in a knock-on. The Royal Blues continued to apply pressure and drove over in the corner. Even more frustratingly the referee was rooted to the spot nowhere near the incident and simply blew up without bothering to check if the ball might have been grounded. Undeterred, the Linden continued to go all out for a try and Craig Smith, switched to No. 8 due to injuries, picked and drove for the line. When tackled just short, Smith was penalised for holding on and, to add insult, was yellow carded into the bargain and left the field utterly bemused. With that, the long period of Linden pressure came to nothing and the sucker punch came at the other end as Duns No. 8, Richard Burns, who had carried well all afternoon, surged over from a scrum five and Craik converted once more. With that, the game was well out of Linden’s reach and things got worse as Keown was the second home player to see yellow and Duns immediately capitalised as middle row Gavin Tait touched down with Craik converting. However, the Linden were to have the final say through a remarkable individual try. Replacement Scott Grant received the ball outside the 22 and set off on a run through heavy traffic full of side-steps, dancing feet, pirouettes, there may even have been a triple salchow in there, before touching down to the loudest cheer of the day. Baillie converted with the last kick of the game. A disappointing final scoreline for the Linden in light of their promising start to the game. However, given that 18 players were unavailable, it was a decent display with young PSA players Kieran Murphy, John Frew and Michael Boyle, making his debut, all showing up well. Linden: K Murphy, G Baillie, C Smith, S Renwick, J Frew, S Goodfellow, R Hamilton; N Little, C Tofts, R Beattie, J Wilson, A Fairbairn, L Sharkey, J Hogg, B Keown; Subs: P MacTaggart, M Boyle, G Wardle, S Grant.
On eight minutes they did break the deadlock following some good rugby the ball reached John Frew on the left wing who ran hard, Craig Smith carried on and Nicky Little charged over for the try converted by Greg Baillie.
With the Linden looking the livelier side in the early stages, Duns were now the team in the ascendancy. They were rewarded on the 20 minute mark when, after a scrum five, the Linden defence was sucked in and a good wide pass found Hayden Martin unmarked on the wing. The stand-off, playing possibly his last ever game for the club, had the easiest of tasks to dot down and Lewis Craik struck an impressive conversion to tie the scores.
A great run by Sean Goodfellow, supported by Craig Smith, threatened to unlock the Duns defence but came to nothing when the Linden were turned over. With half-time approaching, it was the visitors who took the lead. From a scrum in their own half, Danny Lamb made a searing break following a missed tackle, found his support runner who returned the favour for Lamb to cross at the posts and Craik converted.
Into the second period and Duns broke from a scrum and only a great tackle by Kieran Murphy managed to avert the danger. Soon after Duns did score when winger Josh Herbert was on hand to pick up and plunge over under the posts. Craik’s conversion took the lead to 21-7.
Duns’ Angus Tullie was shown a yellow card for a trip and Linden sensed their chance to get back in the game. A great cover tackle by Frew saw the Linden awarded a penalty. A quick tap by Goodfellow with support from Stuart Renwick and Smith frustratingly ended in a knock-on. The Royal Blues continued to apply pressure and drove over in the corner. Even more frustratingly the referee was rooted to the spot nowhere near the incident and simply blew up without bothering to check if the ball might have been grounded.
Undeterred, the Linden continued to go all out for a try and Craig Smith, switched to No. 8 due to injuries, picked and drove for the line. When tackled just short, Smith was penalised for holding on and, to add insult, was yellow carded into the bargain and left the field utterly bemused. With that, the long period of Linden pressure came to nothing and the sucker punch came at the other end as Duns No. 8, Richard Burns, who had carried well all afternoon, surged over from a scrum five and Craik converted once more.
With that, the game was well out of Linden’s reach and things got worse as Keown was the second home player to see yellow and Duns immediately capitalised as middle row Gavin Tait touched down with Craik converting.
However, the Linden were to have the final say through a remarkable individual try. Replacement Scott Grant received the ball outside the 22 and set off on a run through heavy traffic full of side-steps, dancing feet, pirouettes, there may even have been a triple salchow in there, before touching down to the loudest cheer of the day. Baillie converted with the last kick of the game.
A disappointing final scoreline for the Linden in light of their promising start to the game. However, given that 18 players were unavailable, it was a decent display with young PSA players Kieran Murphy, John Frew and Michael Boyle, making his debut, all showing up well.
Linden: K Murphy, G Baillie, C Smith, S Renwick, J Frew, S Goodfellow, R Hamilton; N Little, C Tofts, R Beattie, J Wilson, A Fairbairn, L Sharkey, J Hogg, B Keown; Subs: P MacTaggart, M Boyle, G Wardle, S Grant.
Hawick Linden 15, Forrester 26
Whilst the Linden fell to defeat again at the Volunteer Park, the improvement shown in their last couple of games continued and perhaps, on another day, they might just have squeezed over the winning line. A losing bonus point would certainly have been deserved.
It was the home team who started the brightest with Barrie Keown driving repeatedly and continually getting well over the gain line. Despite the Linden’s promising play, it was all within their own half. With 10 minutes on the clock it was the visitors who took the lead when, following a line out, the ball was quickly moved to the opposite wing and Graeme Dudgeon sped over. Fraser Newbury converted impressively from the touch line.
The Royal Blues got themselves up the other end and into the 22 courtesy of more carries from Keown well assisted by Jack Wilson who was in fine form before appearing to blow a gasket requiring some time on the sidelines before later returning to the fray.
Forrester went further ahead after 29 minutes when the whereabouts of a penalty award to the visitors didn’t appear to be clearly communicated. The Edinburgh side were quick to take advantage of the uncertainty as a tap was moved to Stewart Fulton who went over for the try again converted by Newbury.
Four minutes later the Linden hit back. Simon Spalding picked up a loose kick and when the Royal Blues recycled, they spread the ball wide and Conor Gracie timed his pass to perfection to send Euan Hair racing over. With no further scoring the first period ended with Forrester 14-5 ahead.
Scott Grant replaced Kyle McLeod at the break but it was the Edinburgh side who were first to threaten in the second half. However, a double hit from Keown and Ryan Beattie forced a knock-on and the danger was relieved. On 50 minutes the visitors did add to their total. Linden lost their own line out and some simple passing to the opposite side was poorly defended allowing Dudgeon to cross for his second touchdown. Newbury again added the extras from wide out.
The Linden were not for lying down and an impressive run by Greg Baillie up the cricket field side looked to have created a scoring possibility but a knock-on ended the danger. Linden encamped in the 22 pounding at the line and running penalties but an interception ended the siege. The pressure continued and from another tap penalty Scott Grant broke and his inside pass to Liam Sharkey saw the wing forward tackled without the ball with the line in sight. Another tap was taken and reward finally came when Stuart Hair joined his brother on the scoresheet.
Trailing 21-10 the Linden were desperate to get up the other end again and ran the ball from the kick off with some lovely offloads but alas a knock-on surrendered field position. With six minutes remaining the Linden failed to clear their lines and when Forrester secured a line out in the home 22, a controlled catch and drive ended with captain Paddy Bree coming up with the ball that secured the try bonus point.
The home team had the final say when some good handling, with both Hair twins involved, saw Gracie again turn provider for Baillie to cross for the try. The Linden had one last throw of the dice to try and secure a further touch down that would have secured two bonus points but it was to no avail.
Up front Keown, Wilson and Beattie were outstanding with Liam Sharkey also showing up well. Behind the scrum the new centre pairing of Phil MacTaggart and Euan Hair both had fine games.
Linden: C Gracie, G Baillie, P MacTaggart, E Hair, K McLeod, G Stirling, R Hamilton; J White, C Tofts, R Beattie, S Hair, J Wilson, L Sharkey, J Hogg, B Keown; Subs: M Knight, A Fairbairn, S Grant, S Spalding.
BT East Regional League Division 1
Hawick Linden 6, Hawick Harlequins 27
Quins eventually came out on top in the local Derby at a soft and muddy Volunteer Park. The home team started well. Following a strong run by Barrie Keown, a chip ahead collected by Greg Baillie led to a long period of possession which eventually drew a penalty. Baillie slotted the kick in the fourth minute but only three minutes later Scott Peffers levelled matters when the Linden were caught offside.
In the 11th minute the Quins took the lead going blind from a scrum and Adam Hall drew the last man before passing inside to send Peffers over for a try that the centre converted himself. The Linden had an opportunity to reduce the deficit when awarded a penalty straight in front of the posts but opted for a quick tap which eventually came to nothing.
The Royal Blues continued to press and a Baillie penalty attempt caused havoc when it dropped slightly short rebounding into play off the post pad. This led to another penalty as the Quins tried to clear their lines and, when they transgressed once more near their line, it was Ieuan Elliot who was shown a yellow card. Baillie put over the resulting penalty to pull his team back to 6-10 behind.
The Quins looked to have created a try scoring chance with a great backs move but Gavin Stirling put in a superb cover tackle and won the ball to save the day as the first half drew to a close.
Kirk Ford replaced Kyle McLeod at the break and the Linden were first to threaten with some good running from their own half and a deft back-of-the-hand pass from Stuart Hair on the hoof. However, Quins began to take control with Gavin Douglas showing his experience with some astute kicking to get his team into the right areas of the field.
A long period of Quins pressure finally paid off when the ball was spread wide and Sam Bandeen crossed in the corner. The Linden were then penalised at the breakdown and a quick tap and kick ahead into the Royal Blues 22 saw Adam Hall hack on to dot down with Peffers converting. The two quick-fire tries effectively killed the game as a contest.
As the Quins returned to the home 22, Linden’s Simon Spalding became the second player to depart to the sin-bin for too many penalties in the red zone. Once again the visitors’ were able to draw in the Linden defence after sustained pressure and hooker Finlay Robb was on hand out wide to go over for the bonus point try to complete the scoring.
From a Linden perspective they will be a little disappointed not to have gained more for their first half efforts but the Quins turned the screw in the second period as Douglas exerted his authority. The home pack were outstanding with the front row of Ryan Beattie, Peter Drysdale and Jordan White ever-willing ball carriers. Aaron Hume had a great game, Barrie Keown showed life can begin at 40 and Euan Hair provided some choice line out ball. Greg Baillie had one of his best games in Royal Blue with centres Graeme Anderson and Craig Smith running hard.
Linden: K Murphy, G Baillie, C Smith, G Anderson, K McLeod, G Stirling, R Hamilton; R Beattie, P Drysdale, J White, S Hair, S Spalding, A Hume, E Hair, B Keown; Subs: K Mabon, K Ford, P MacTaggart, L Sharkey.
BT East Regional League Division 1
Dunbar 33, Hawick Linden 0
Although falling to another defeat, the Linden put in an outstanding second half effort that, despite total dominance, failed to register on the scoreboard. On a soft pitch but one that was a whole lot firmer than could be found back home in Hawick, Dunbar took first advantage of a strong breeze blowing towards the Hallhill clubrooms.
After 15 minutes the Linden missed touch with a penalty kick but thought they had been thrown some good fortune when the attempted catch was dropped. Alas the glaring knock-on was deemed to have gone backwards, despite the recipient kicking the ball away in disgust. The home team regathered, were awarded a penalty and a quick tap reached full-back Andy Taylor who sped over in the corner and Ross Charlton converted well from the touchline.
The Linden were giving as good as they got until Dunbar added a second try after 26 minutes. A line out catch and drive ended with hooker Chris Baikie squeezing over. Four minutes later and a fight broke out in the Dunbar half. Scrum half Blair Mills ignored the distraction to weave his way through the stretched Linden defence to run under the sticks for Charlton to convert.
At 19-0 down, just a couple of minutes to the break and the elements in their favour in the second half, the position was encouraging for the Linden. However, two quick-fire tries transformed matters. The Royal Blues were pick-pocketed at their own scrum and Dunbar eventually worked their possession to Taylor whose hard running, aided by some weak tackling, saw him cross for his second touchdown converted by Charlton.
With the last play of the half, a five metre penalty was tapped by Baikie who forced his way over and Charlton’s kick meant the match had a whole new outlook as Dunbar turned around 33-0 ahead.
The Linden started the second period in determined fashion. First Aaron Hume was held up over the line and then Craig Russell was bundled into touch as he raced for the corner. Next Ryan Beattie was held up short as the Royal Blues set up camp in the home 22. The home team conceded endless penalties and the referee eventually lost patience and produced a yellow card.
The siege continued but the Linden just couldn’t find a way through the organised and resolute home defence. Further penalties resulted in a second Dunbar player seeing yellow but, even with their opponents down to 13 for a period, a score still eluded the Linden as they were once more held up in-goal. Alas the Royal Blues were not to gain any reward in a scoreless second period that was played almost entirely in the home 22. Credit to Dunbar for being more clinical in taking their chances in the first half and for firmly shutting the door on their visitor’s attempts to score.
The Linden pack put in a huge shift and can hold their heads up high especially after getting the squeeze on at scrum time in the second period. The backs played their part with centres Graeme Anderson and Craig Russell running hard and tackling like demons. Mark McCall made a welcome return until retiring following a head knock and there was a debut from the bench for Kyle McLeod.
Linden: M McCall, G Baillie, C Russell, G Anderson, J Wilson, G Stirling, R Hamilton; S Spalding, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Hair, A Hume, L Sharkey, J Hogg, E Hair; Subs: M Knight, K McLeod, J White.
BT East Regional League Division 1
Hawick Harlequins 20, Hawick Linden 0
The ‘Quins lived up to their pre-match favorites tag by winning the East League Division 1 derby against local rivals the Linden. However, the Royal Blues gave their all and pushed the home team hard. It wasn’t the easiest game on the eye with heavy underfoot conditions being partly responsible for a number of unforced errors.
The threat of the ‘Quins backs was quickly evidenced as good hands and hard running, aided somewhat by poor Linden tackling, ended with Adam Hall crossing for the opening try on six minutes. The visitors’ cause wasn’t helped as Centre Will Barker retired injured after 17 minutes resulting in a reshuffle as Euan Hair moved to the midfield and Liam Sharkey came on in the back row.
As the game approached the half hour mark, a pick and drive to the line saw Finlay Robb plunge over for the ‘Quins and Adam Hall’s conversion took the score to 12-0. ‘Quins scored again soon after and a good line out catch and drive allowed the ball to be spread out wide and Sam Bandeen sped over to touch down. Following Linden hands in a ruck, Hall slotted a penalty goal with the last kick of the first period to put his team 20-0 ahead at the break.
The second half wasn’t much to shout about. Both teams huffed and puffed but no-one could break through each other’s defence and not another point was scored. Graeme Anderson had one dazzling run into ‘Quins territory but, when the ball was moved wide, the Royal Blues were squeezed out at the corner.
Anderson was undoubtedly the biggest threat for the Linden with some great runs, thumping tackles and one superb catch from his own high kick ahead. The Linden forwards worked hard as did the backs who were up against useful opposition. The visitor’s will be disappointed not to have got on the scoreboard but there are definite signs of progress from the heavy defeats of the recent past.
Linden: G Anderson, S Grant, C Richardson, W Barker, R Graham, G Stirling, S Beattie; J White, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Spalding, S Hair, J Hogg, E Hair, B Keown; Subs: A Fairbairn, L Sharkey, G Baillie, C Tofts.
BT East Regional League Division 1
After their difficulties of the past few weeks, the Linden were a team transformed on Saturday putting in their best performance of the season. On possession and field positon they probably deserved their first win of the campaign but it was not to be as a lack of composure at times in the danger zone resulted in too many chances to capitalise slipping away.
With Hawick 2nds game called off the Linden resisted the temptation to make any changes to their line up with the exception of ex-skipper Shaun Fairbairn coming in for Aaron Hume who failed to recover from the injury he sustained at Linlithgow. The faith placed in those who had travelled to play in the recent tough fixtures was rewarded as they put in a top effort with the forwards in particular playing some great rugby. One other change was Kevin Brown returning for his first game since the North Berwick match and both he and Fairbairn were instrumental in getting the home side on the front foot.
Before the game a minutes silence was observed for Linden legend Ronnie Nichol, surely the best uncapped player to ever play for the club, including many of his former team-mates attending an ex-players day. It was Fairbairn who made a superb early break surging into the 22 but alas his scoring pass was adjudged forward. From looking certain to take the lead, the Royal Blues went behind after five minutes when Dunbar went blind from a line out and managed to create an overlap for John Peebles to touch down.
The Linden went back on the attack though but could not turn pressure into points. Worse than that an interception by the visitors in their own 22 allowed field position to be gained at the other end and a nice inside ball put Sandy Thomson under the posts. Ross Charlton converted and the home team and their supporters were left wondering how their side was 12-0 down.
They finally got themselves on the scoreboard after 17 minutes when, from a tap penalty, Fairbairn somehow managed to twist in the tackle to touch the ball down. Joseph Chipakupaku, who looked dangerous whenever in space, made a great run to get his team back in the Dunbar 22. After a number of phases, and a penalty coming Linden’s way, Peter Drysdale burst through a gap to score at the posts but, such is their luck this season, the referee had whistled a fraction beforehand to give the penalty.
A score wasn’t delayed for long though. Linden opted for a scrum from the penalty and No. 8 Fairbairn picked and drove. Euan Hair carried further then good hands from Gavin Stirling, Keiran Murphy and John Frew put Rory Graham over in the corner. On the stroke of half time the Linden had a chance to take the lead with a penalty goal but it just failed and they went into the break 12-10 down.
Early in the second period Dunbar stretched their lead. From a line out in their own half they put a neat little kick behind the Linden defensive line. The chaser certainly appeared to be in front but play went right on to the home line and, when the Linden were penalised at the breakdown, the penalty was spread wide and Peebles crossed in the corner for his second try of the game.
The Royal Blues went back on the offensive and Chipakupaku threatened when he went blind but was squeezed into touch. The second half was turning out like the first as Linden couldn’t turn field position into points, too many turn overs in the 22 not helping their cause. When awarded a penalty they opted, not for the first time, to take a scrum following which a number of thrusts were made which ended with Kevin Brown forcing his way over at the posts. Kieran Murphy’s conversion tied the scores at 17-all.
On 67 minutes the Linden infringed at the breakdown and Charlton stepped up to calmly slot the penalty to put Dunbar back in the lead. The Linden were straight back on the attack with another great run by Brown which resulted in a penalty being awarded. Unfortunately in tricky conditions the kick slipped wide. From this point Dunbar played with great control ensuring play was all in the Linden half and their stranglehold made it extremely difficult for the Royal Blues to escape. They did have one last go right at the death working their way into Dunbar territory but a knock on ended their chances.
Great credit to the whole 19 who pulled together after such a horrendous run of results to show what they are really capable of. Although a possible win may have slipped through their grasp, the confidence they will have gained from such a performance will stand them in good stead going forward.
Gavin Stirling and Ryan Hamilton were solid at half-back, Kieran Murphy had some lovely breaks and Chipakupaku was full of running. The forwards were immense with Fairbairn and Brown giving a great lead, the Hair twins having numerous carries, James Hogg did the unseen work and the front row were on top in the scrums.
Linden: J Frew, J Chipakupaku, K Murphy, W Barker, R Graham, G Stirling, R Hamilton; J White, P Drysdale, R Beattie, S Hair, E Hair, J Hogg, K Brown, S Fairbairn; Subs: A Fairbairn, L Sharkey, S Spalding, C Gracie.
BT East Regional League Division 1
Forrester 50, Hawick Linden 6
Showing six changes from last week’s trip to Linlithgow, the prospects did not look good again for the Linden as they travelled to Edinburgh to take on Forrester. However, they made a great start to the match and probably shaded things in the first 25 minutes, having worked extremely hard to take a narrow lead. Alas a costly interception try saw the momentum swing and the home team start to take control.
The visitors were caught out by a neat chip to the corner in the 14th minute and the home winger won the race for the touchdown. The Royal Blues responded well with some thundering charges by skipper Gary Wardle and two Steven Beattie penalty goals put the Linden 6-5 ahead after 24 minutes.
Just before the half hour mark came the crucial interception as the Linden tried to play their way out from deep and the Forrester stand-off read the situation to stroll over and convert. The Royal Blues were still well in the game but any chance of a positive outcome started to slip away as half-time approached.
Firstly, Forrester scored a lovely converted try through their full-back following nice handling after a line out. Then, deep into injury time, with Ryan Beattie receiving treatment, the remaining seven forwards couldn’t contain a controlled line out drive and the try took the Forrester lead to 24-6 at the break.
Two second half tries for Forrester both resulting from good line out play, the second nonchalantly converted by their wing forward from wide out, stretched the score to 34-6. The Linden then had a long period of pressure in the home 22 but they just couldn’t break down a stonewall defence.
Almost typically the next score was at the other end although it was somewhat controversial. The teams seemed set for a line out when Forrester took a quick throw-in away from the mark and got in behind the Linden defence in the 22. When they chipped ahead full-back Steven Beattie tackled the player without the ball for an unquestionable penalty and yellow card. However, although there were other Linden players converging, the referee awarded a penalty try and Beattie’s frustration took over and, when he spoke out of turn, the official showed him a red card.
The easy conversion was added and a further seven pointer followed with the game well into injury time to bring up a half-century for the home team. In the end a well-deserved victory for Forrester but a tough final scoreline for the Linden to take after being in the game for so much longer than has recently been the case. The effort was exemplary as they fought hard and tackled like demons from beginning to end.
Gary Wardle gave a captain’s lead with some excellent runs off retreating scrum ball, often making more yards than looked possible. The front five stuck manfully to their task and in the backs Graeme Anderson made a welcome return putting in some trademark big tackles.
BT East Regional League Division 1
Linlithgow 52, Hawick Linden 0
Once again unavailability and injuries badly affected the Linden as they made the trip to Mains Park, Linlithgow. However, there were positives with promising League debuts for PSA youngsters John Frew, Macaulay Parker and Kieran Murphy.
The home team took the lead when scrum half Mikey Walker went blind from a scrum to touch down. Wing forward Stuart Bell then surged through a gap to go under the posts despite protests from the Royal Blues that a potential tackler had been impeded by the referee. Prop John Pauley went over from close range and two Jack Frame conversions put the home team 19-0 ahead.
A yellow card was shown to Bell for a dangerous tackle on Aaron Hume to give the Linden a man advantage and they did their best to capitalise. A line out catch by Stuart Hair saw the big middle row make a strong surge for the line but he was stopped just short. Murphy also had a penalty attempt at goal from half-way which just slipped wide. Once back to full strength a second try by Walker converted by Frame made the half-time score 26-0.
The second period started disastrously for Linden as Ross Martin touched down and Frame converted. Injuries were starting to take their toll for the visitors with constant changes required. Further tries were scored by Garry Anderson, Walker (to complete his hat-trick) and Frame with the latter converting two. His last conversion stretched the lead to 52-0 and the referee’s final whistle brought relief for the Royal Blues who by this time had a number of players soldiering on in spite of injuries.
Despite the scoreline the Linden can be proud of their tackling, particularly at close quarters, against a big, strong side who have clearly spent more time in the gym than Greggs. It says a lot for the visitor’s young side that they continued to front up against a much more physical team.
Frew and Parker ran well when given the opportunity and Peter Drysdale, Gary Wardle and Hume put in big shifts up front. Man of the match for the Royal Blues was young fly-half Kieran Murphy who showed some lovely touches in a most assured performance.
Linden: J Frew, G Baillie, E Hair, S Grant, M Parker, K Murphy, R Hamilton; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, S Hair, J Wilson, G Wardle, J Hogg, A Hume; Subs: S Beattie, A Fairbairn, G Cunningham.
BT East Regional League Division 1
Hawick Linden 10, Dalkeith 52
Injuries and unavailability resulted in an understrength Linden team slumping to their fourth consecutive League defeat of the season. Seven players made their first appearance of the League campaign with debutants Aiden Fairbairn and Liam Sharkey giving determined performances.
An early converted try for the visitors was responded to when Steven Beattie stroked over a penalty goal. Two more converted touch downs stretched the Dalkeith lead to 21-3 as the strong running of their centres in particular was cutting holes in the Linden defence not helped by some poor tackling.
Dalkeith had secured the try bonus point before adding a fifth on the stroke of half-time to leave the Linden 33-3 in arrears at the break.
The Linden could not capitalise on a yellow card for one of the visitors’ forwards with no scoring during his ten minute break. Once back to a full complement Dalkeith showed great hands when attacking from their own 22 for a cracking length of the field try.
The Linden secured their only touchdown of the day when, following a line out catch and drive, hooker Peter Drysdale came on a short ball to stroll over and under the posts for Beattie to convert.
The home joy didn’t last long as Dalkeith went up the other end to score another try and the Linden couldn’t prevent the visitors from adding to their total resulting in the home team leaking over fifty points for the third time this season.
The Linden forwards stuck in well against a big pack with Simon Spalding and Barrie Keown showing up well. Ryan Hamilton did admirably filling in at stand-off whilst Will Barker and Euan Hair never gave up in the centre against slick opposite numbers.
Linden: P MacTaggart, R Elliot, W Barker, E Hair, S Grant, R Hamilton, S Beattie; R Beattie, P Drysdale, S Spalding, S Hair, A Fairbairn, J Hogg, L Sharkey, B Keown; Subs: A McSorley, G Baillie.
The third Hawick Linden Sevens took place at the Volunteer Park on Saturday on a pitch heavy with midweek rain but managed to stand up well to an afternoon of entertaining rugby.
Unfortunately the holders St Boswells were a late withdrawal resulting in a group of four teams and another with only three. Pool A was topped by Berwick who won all three of their games with Hawick Harlequins runners-up. Pool B was won by Hawick Linden, winning both their games, followed by Jed-Forest.
There was controversy in the first tie of the day. Tries from Leon Farmer, Scott Grant, two from Nick McLennan and two Farmer conversions totaled 24 points for the Linden President’s VII. However, the referee had failed to record one of Farmer’s conversions so the official result was a 24-22 win for Hawick Harlequins. The President’s VII lost out 33-0 to Berwick but won their last tie against Langholm 22-12. Lewis Anderson scored three tries and a conversion with the other try going to Ben Gilchrist.
The host club were comfortable 29-10 winners in their first tie against Jed-Forest thanks to tries by Craig Russell (3), Kirk Ford and James Hogg with Ford adding two conversions.
Their other group game was against Penicuik and the Linden strolled to a 54-0 win. Tries were scored by Ryan Elliot (2), Kirk Ford, Stuart Renwick (2), Craig Russell and Graham Colville (2) and Ford converted six and Renwick one.
The other Hawick side, the Harlequins, made it to the semi-finals thanks to their 24-22 win over the President’s VII and 43-12 victory against Langholm. They gave Berwick an early scare taking a 12-0 lead before the East League 1 champions came back to win 24-12.
This resulted in an all Hawick semi-final. Two Craig Russell tries both converted by Ford put the Linden 14-0 up but the Quins hit back with tries by Dale Johnstone and Ross Anderson to make the half-time score 14-10. The Linden stretched away in the second period through touch downs by James Hogg, Kirk Ford and Conor Gracie, the latter two converting their own scores, to make the final score 33-10 to the hosts.
In the second semi-final Berwick were always in control of their tie with Jed-Forest and a 34-12 win secured their place in the final for the first time since they triumphed in the first tournament in 2012.
First blood in the final went to Berwick when a quick tap penalty saw Ally Grieve go over with Jack Learmonth converting. Linden responded as Russell put Ryan Elliot on a long run for the line and the youngster touched down in the corner. A Gracie break was supported by Phil MacTaggart. When the latter was tackled the ball was recycled and Kirk Ford went under the posts and his conversion made the half-time score 12-7 to the hosts.
A defensive mix-up allowed Tom Riddell the easiest of tasks to fall on the loose ball for a try that squared the tie at 12-all. The Linden then kept possession well and, when the gap eventually opened, Elliot had the pace to run in from half way. Craig Russell broke and linked with Ford who put Elliot over for his hat-trick to a great roar from the good sized crowd. The flying winger thought he had a fourth but a call from the touch judge brought play back for a forward pass. It proved irrelevant as, with no further scoring, the final score of 22-12 meant the Linden had won their own trophy for the first time.
Credit to the whole Linden squad who worked hard all day and deserved to win some silverware for themselves as well as coach Kenny Colville and Team Manager Davy Gray.
Club President John Tait presented Linden captain Graham Colville with the Life Members Cup. The medals, sponsored by the family of the late Billy Russell, past-President and Life Member of the Linden, were handed over by his good friend Bruce Logan.
The player of the tournament trophy donated by Moira Black was presented by the tea lady extraordinaire to the referees choice of Jack Webster of Berwick.
The Linden wish to express their thanks to all clubs who supported the event, the referees (G Denholm, D Douglas and I Dunlop), Moira and her kitchen staff, Desport & Gray (Flooring Specialists), the Russell family, tournament organiser George Wilson as well as everyone who helped on the day.
Linden: R Elliot, C Russell, K Ford, S Renwick (replaced by L Farmer who was replaced by A Hall), G Colville, S Spalding, J Hogg, P MacTaggart, C Gracie, W Barker.
Hawick Harlequins 24, President’s VII 22; Langholm 7, Berwick 28; Hawick Harlequins 43, Langholm 12; President’s VII 0, Berwick 33; Hawick Harlequins 12, Berwick 24; President’s VII 22, Langholm 12.
Jed-Forest 31, Penicuik 12; Hawick Linden 29, Jed-Forest 10; Hawick Linden 54, Penicuik 0.
Hawick Linden 33, Hawick Harlequins 10; Berwick 34, Jed-Forest 12.
Hawick Linden 22, Berwick 12.Player of the tournament: Jack Webster (Berwick).
It looked like the Linden would end their season on a high as they took early control and a deserved lead. Alas North Berwick were able to gain ascendancy in the second quarter to take a lead they never lost despite second half territorial dominance from the home team.
Only five minutes were on the clock when Kirk Ford stroked over a 45 metre penalty goal. Five minutes later and Rory Smith fielded a clearance kick near the touchline. Following his run the ball was worked wide to the other side of the pitch. Ryan Elliot showed his pace to go outside his opposite number then cut inside, drew the last man and found Kirk Ford up in support to go over for a lovely try. Ford’s conversion made the score 10-0.
North Berwick started to turn the screw and had a good chance to score but knocked-on. Although the home team managed to clear the danger, the visitors were straight back on the attack. They worked their way up the blind side from a ruck on the Linden 22 and Murray West ran in for the try converted by his older brother Liam.
The Linden were then guilty of conceding too many penalties which allowed North Berwick to work their way into good field position. From a close range line out, the catch and drive was finished off by Robbie Mercer. Soon after home skipper Graham Colville was forced to leave the field with a leg injury.
The visitors looked like they would score in the left corner but, when the Linden defence held firm, the ball was moved right. With defenders all sucked in, Graeme Fairgrieve was able to stroll over and Liam West’s conversion took the score to 19-10.
With Colville back in the fray, the Linden rejected a couple of possible penalty kicks at goal and instead kicked to touch. The second time was close to the North Berwick line but the gusting wind caught the throw and with the squint infringement came the half-time whistle.
Injuries started to take their toll for the Linden as Jordan White and Bradley Mercer both had to retire as did Connor Tofts later in the game. On 54 minutes a lovely backs move looked sure to end in a score for North Berwick until Steven Anderson put in a try saving tackle. The reprieve was short lived though as, from the line out, the visitors took play infield before spreading wide to Fairgrieve who touched down in the corner.
The remainder of second half saw the Linden have most of the possession and territory but they just could not crack the visiting defence to gain another score which they undoubtedly deserved. Defeat means the Linden end the season in a creditable 6th place in BT East League Division 1.
A good effort by the Royal Blues where the front row of White, Mercer and Tofts worked hard until all three retired with injuries. Gary Wardle was prominent in only his second start of the season and Rory Smith once again led from the front. Ryan Hamilton was a sound link at scrum-half and Steven Anderson had some dancing runs. Credit to Kirk Ford and Conor Gracie who played in all 24 games during the season with Bradley Mercer and Phil MacTaggart only one behind and Graham Colville, Stuart Hair and Alex McSorley each turning out 21 times.
Linden: S Anderson, P MacTaggart, G Anderson, C Gracie, R Elliot, K Ford, R Hamilton; J White, B Mercer, C Tofts, B Keown, J Hogg, R Smith, G Wardle, G Colville; Subs: W Barker, S Beattie, K Mabon, A McSorley.
After the high of defeating league leaders Berwick in their last outing, it was back to earth with a hefty bump for the Linden at Castle Park, Duns.
No-one could have foreseen the final outcome following an impressive start by the visitors’ with some early good play rewarded by a Kirk Ford penalty goal which brought up 200 points for the season for the young stand-off. Linden stretched their lead after 10 minutes when solid drives by David Lowrie and Jordan White saw ball recycled and Lowrie, involved again, delayed his pass to put Graeme Anderson over in the corner.
Duns hit back when a couple of short passes and good running lines created the space for Steven Crawford to go over at the posts and Lewis Craik converted. The Linden were having the better of exchanges but it took until the half hour mark to put more points on the board with a second penalty from Ford. Greg Cunningham was forced to retire with a shoulder injury to be replaced by Rory Smith.
The Royal Blues laid siege on the Duns line but a series of thrusts could not break down the Duns defence. Some reward finally came just before the break with a third Ford penalty for hands in the ruck. Turning round 14-7 ahead, the Linden could be satisfied with their performance although disappointed they had not been able to secure a more commanding lead.
The second half begun with a missed penalty by the Linden and soon after, a turn-over in midfield followed by good handling by the home team, saw Callum Redden racing in at the corner and Craik converted from the touchline. The score seemed to put belief into the Dingers and from this point they took charge of proceedings.
The Linden cause wasn’t helped by a host of injuries which had medic Brian Nichol working overtime but there was no escaping the transformation in Duns play with hard running, good support and a willingness to spread play into wide areas that regularly had the Linden defence at full stretch.
The Royal Blues thought they had been let off the hook when a simple penalty in front of the posts was pushed wide. However, when the drop-out failed to cross the 22, Danny Lamb broke from the resulting scrum and took advantage of some weak tackling to touch down under the posts and Craik made no mistake this time with the conversion.
Five minutes later Redden was credited with his second touch down which secured the try bonus point and Craik’s kick took the score to 28-14. Into the final 10 minutes and replacement Andrew Baxter finished off an overlap, Craik adding the extras. The Linden did try to have the final say as they ran a series of penalties with David Lowrie and Rory Smith prominent, Duns winger Scott Maceachen taking a yellow card for his team, but their efforts came to nothing. In injury time, from a scrum on the Duns 22, the home team went the length of the field with Dale Robertson finishing off to score the final try.
After such a promising start, it was a most disappointing outcome for the Linden. Injuries certainly didn’t help, with a few players playing on after the bench was emptied when they would otherwise have retired. Ryan Hamilton put out a good service and Conor Gracie ran hard in the centre. Jordan White carried ball well with James Hogg, David Lowrie and Rory Smith putting in a power of work.
After being unfortunate not to pick up any points on the road in the last two weeks against the second and third placed teams in East League Division 1, the Linden looked to be heading towards another hard luck story against top of the table Berwick at the Volunteer Park. Down 12-25 with only five minutes remaining, the Royal Blues only having scored seven points to that stage of a second half they had dominated, all the signs were pointing towards another tale of valiant losers.
However, reward came in a dramatic finale as the Linden touched down three times during the closing minutes to snatch a superb victory that meant only a second league defeat of the season for their high flying visitors.
Matters began in the same manner for the Linden as the past couple of weeks with their opponents taking a healthy lead and seemingly control of the game. A line out catch and drive by Berwick in the second minute ended with Shane Armstrong claiming the touch down. He added the conversion and a penalty goal for offside to take the score to 10-0.
From receipt of the kick-off, some neat offloading opened up space behind the Linden defence and hard running by Lee Douglas beat the last tackle for a superb try. The Linden managed to get themselves into the game but a period of pressure did not bring about a score. Berwick worked their way into the home half and another drive from a line out saw Scott Owens apply the downward pressure. Armstrong’s conversion put Berwick 22-0 ahead after only 25 minutes and it seemed the Linden were faced with keeping the score line respectable.
The introduction from the bench of Rory Smith and Gary Lowrie was the beginning of an unlikely turnaround. On the half hour mark, some controlled play through a number of phases ended with Graeme Anderson running hard to go over for the Linden’s first try of the day and the centre’s first of the season. Heading into the break 22-5 down, the Royal Blues had a sniff of a chance but Berwick were undoubtedly still firm favourites.
11 minutes into the second period the Linden kicked a penalty to the corner and following the line out Berwick were penalised again. Ryan Beattie took a quick tap and his fellow forwards drove on and took play to the visitors’ line. A surge by Graham Colville saw the skipper somehow twist himself when held in the tackle to force the ball down and Kirk Ford’s conversion reduced the deficit to ten points.
Berwick applied pressure at the kick-off and, when the Linden were penalised for holding on, Armstrong put over the penalty to take the score to 25-12. From this point the Linden were dominant. They showed great control to continually play through several phases against a well organised and forceful defence. Unfortunately they failed to get over the whitewash after a sustained period of pressure on the Berwick line.
After the Scremerston side cleared their lines the Linden once more gained a territorial foothold and pounded away at the Berwick line once more but just could not find a way through a resolute defence which quickly closed down any half gaps when they appeared.
It looked like it just was not going to be the Linden’s day. With five minutes remaining though, they switched play to the blind side and David Lowrie worked his hands out of the tackle to offload to Bradley Mercer who dived over in the corner. Ford’s touchline conversion came back off the crossbar.
With Berwick looking to wind down the clock they kept things tight from a scrum on half way by passing back inside but the alert Gary Lowrie read it perfectly to intercept and had the pace to go all the way. With Ford missing the conversion, the score read 25-22 to Berwick, but at least the Linden could take consolation that they had scored a fourth try and reduced the lead to less than seven and therefore, in all likelihood, secured two bonus points.
However, the Royal Blues were not finished and they tried one last throw of the dice which epitomised their efforts of the second half in particular. From a scrum they went blind and both Graeme Anderson and Ryan Elliot made good ground. Greg Cunningham took the ball on and he delayed his pass to put Graham Colville into space. The No. 8 charged on and he delivered the final pass to Elliot who went flying over for a spectacular score and a truly dramatic ending to the game. Linden hands were in the air and Berwick hands on heads. Ford’s missed conversion was immaterial as the referee immediately blew for full time.
A sore way for Berwick to lose but a fantastic finish for the Linden which in some ways was a reward for their efforts of the last three weeks. Some of their play in the second half on a heavy pitch was out of the top drawer especially against such a good side as Berwick who defended ferociously. It would be unfair to single anyone out from such a huge team effort as everyone in a royal blue jersey was a hero.
Linden: S Anderson, P MacTaggart, C Gracie, G Anderson, R Elliot, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, A McSorley, S Hair, B Keown, D Lowrie, J Hogg, G Colville; Subs: S Beattie, G Cunningham, R Smith, G Lowrie.
For the second week in a row the Linden were on the road, this time to Kings Park, Dalkeith, and for the second time came away with nothing from a game they contributed greatly to with an immense effort from start to finish.
The home team, sitting in third place in East League 1, put over an early penalty goal and went further ahead with a converted try after 15 minutes from good hard running aided by missed tackles by the Linden.
Kirk Ford missed a chance to put the Linden on the scoreboard as his penalty kick hit the outside of the post. Dalkeith stretched their tally to 17 with another converted try as their full-back dotted down following a scissors move.
Ford then pounced to charge down a kick following a Dalkeith scrum and easily picked up to run in for a touchdown he also converted. With the first half into injury time, a late tackle saw the home right winger sent for a 10 minute break but Ford hooked the relatively straightforward kick. Dalkeith worked their way up the other end and a high tackle offered a chance of a penalty kick at goal which was slotted over to put the home side 20-7 ahead at the break when it could so easily have been 17-10.
The Royal Blues upped their game in the second period and when the home team failed to roll away in the tackle Ford found his radar and put over the penalty. Four minutes later he added another for offside to bring the score to 20-13 and the Linden were looking the better side at this stage. However, they couldn’t quite get back into areas to control the game and when Dalkeith went blind from a scrum they managed to squeeze over in the corner.
In the remaining 11 minutes plus injury time the Linden tried their hearts out to get at least one more score. A scything break by Ford from his own half was taken on by Steven Anderson. Into the home 22 he had support either side but when he passed inside a great cover tackle checked the move and the visitors were a little unlucky to be penalised at the resulting ruck and the chance was gone.
The game ended on a sour note when the referee had little option but to show a straight red card to one of the home centres for a punch on Ryan Beattie. In the remaining five minutes the Linden just could not capitalise on the numbers advantage to secure a losing bonus point their efforts undoubtedly deserved.
Dalkeith were a very useful outfit and the Linden players from 1 to 15, as well as the replacements, showed real desire for the jersey. There were periods when bodies were put on the line as they at times defended heroically. All deserve praise with special mention warranted for David Lowrie who had a storming game and showed his experience in the way he cajoled his team mates.
Linden: C Gracie, R Elliot, S Anderson, G Anderson, P MacTaggart, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, S Spalding, S Hair, B Keown, D Lowrie, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: J Hogg, A McSorley, S Beattie, J White.
The Linden came away from Recreation Park with nothing when their second half efforts warranted some form of reward. Things didn’t start well for the Royal Blues playing up the tough slope as the home team opened the scoring after 7 minutes. Following a line out the ball went along the back line for full-back Nick Hammond to earn the touch down.
On the quarter hour mark it was a break from centre Dougie Laidlaw which led to North Berwick’s second try from Ben Inglis. When the kick-off failed to go 10, Jamie Dove picked and made good ground and Inglis was up in support to take the final pass to score and Liam West’s conversion stretched the lead to 17-0 after 17 minutes.
Five minutes later and the home team secured the bonus point try. Despite a great tackle by Graeme Anderson, North Berwick were able to recycle and Lee Inglis finished off and Liam West’s conversion left the Linden staring down the barrel at 22-0.
The Volunteer men started to get a foothold in the game and, after the home team had been penalised several times, a quick tap saw Kirk Ford go over for a try he also converted to give his team a sniff of a chance as they headed in to the break 22-7 down.
Ford added an early second half penalty for offside but North Berwick hit back straight away and good hands along the line ended with Murray West touching down. On 53 minutes Ford slotted his second penalty for offside and the Linden were now behind 27-13.
From this point the Royal Blues held the upper hand. Most of the play was in North Berwick territory and the home team were guilty of giving away numerous penalties which only resulted in one yellow card. The visitors opted to run a number of kickable penalties or take a scrum which all came up against brick wall defence and no reward on the scoreboard.
The pack all put in a great shift with David Lowrie and the Smith brothers to the fore and Graeme Anderson had another excellent game in the centre tackling everything that moved.
Linden: C Gracie, P MacTaggart, S Anderson, G Anderson, G Cunningham, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, S Spalding, S Hair, D Lowrie, R Smith, C Smith, G Colville; Subs: A McSorley, E Hair, R Graham.
Overnight frost left parts of Jenny Moores Park hard underneath the soft topping but both sides were keen to play and the BT Borders Regional Shield game went ahead. It was the visitors who started the liveliest and when the home team were caught offside, Kirk Ford missed what was an easy kick by his standards.
He made amends shortly after though. Ryan Hogg lashed out at Ryan Hamilton, making a welcome return to a Linden shirt for the first time since October. No card of any colour was shown and, following backchat, the penalty was advanced 20 metres. Ford waited whilst Hamilton received treatment but the scrum-half was forced to leave the field for repairs to be completed. Ford made a much sweeter strike than before to open the scoring.
St Boswells went on the attack but a turn over, courtesy of Alex McSorley, in the Linden 22 was followed by a good kick-chase into home territory. When St Boswells lost their own line out, Ford put a dangerous looking cross kick to the corner but it was just too heavy.
Another Linden hack and chase caused havoc in the home defence which resulted in Greg Cunningham going over near the posts for his first try of the season and Ford converted for a 10-0 lead after 17 minutes. A missed tackle in midfield meant St Boswells got in behind the Royal Blues defence and former Linden prop Terry Skeet finished things off from short range.
The home team were talked to twice for back chat but no penalty was forthcoming and both teams were guilty of breakdown offences which went unpunished. St Boswells then took the lead after 31 minutes. The Linden adopted the now common approach of standing off the line out catcher so that the drive becomes an illegal truck and trailer.
From an attacking scrum Hogg picked and went on a loop move to score and McCracken converted to stretch the lead to 19-10 at the break. The referee had been struggling with the intensity of the game and there was a delay in his return to the field for the second period which was met with warm applause from the crowd to show their appreciation of his efforts.
The edge went out of the game in the second half and the home team started to take control of proceedings helped by their domination in the scrum. They scored four further touch downs from David Cassidy, Adrian Donoghue, Stephen Hill and Finlay Robb which were all converted by McCracken. The victory puts St Boswells top of the Borders Regional Shield group and a win in their final game against Hawick Harlequins would see them pip Berwick for a place in the semi-finals with the Linden in third place.
The Linden will take encouragement at their promising start, which had their hosts flustered, but disappointed at falling away in the second period. Ryan Hamilton did well in his comeback game especially playing on after his facial knock whilst Kirk Ford had another good game. The Anderson brothers tackled soundly with the front row all working hard well supported by the Smith brothers and Greg Cunningham prominent in the loose.
Linden: C Gracie, P MacTaggart, S Anderson, G Anderson, R Elliot, K Ford, R Hamilton; A McSorley, S Spalding, J White, S Hair, C Smith, R Smith, G Cunningham, G Colville.
The Quins came out on top in a closely fought local derby with the Linden at the Volunteer Park. With the Linden having won twice at Wilton Lodge Park earlier in the season, in League and Shield, it was the Quins turn to win away from home in a game that didn’t have much flowing rugby as defences were well on top.
Kirk Ford kicked an early penalty goal for the Linden after Quins were caught offside at a line out. The Baker Street side then had a long period in Linden territory which they couldn’t turn into points as the home team struggled to clear their lines. Just when it looked like they had, a Quins kick and chase required Ford to go down on the ball in the shadow of his posts. When the referee penalised the Linden at the break down, Ford was shown a yellow card and Adam Hall slotted the goal.
The Royal Blues hit back with a strong run from Ryan Beattie which led to a penalty in front of the sticks on the 22. With Ford still off the field, Steven Anderson stepped up for the shot at goal which just slipped wide. It looked like the Linden would be made to pay further for their miss when, at the other end, the Quins worked the ball wide from a scrum and Hall made a run for the corner but good defending ended the threat.
After a series of penalties against the Quins, Mark Young was the recipient of a cumulative yellow card. Ford lined up the resulting penalty but hooked his kick to leave the scores tied 3-all at the break.
A lovely break from their own half by the Linden with Conor Gracie, Greg Thomson and Phil MacTaggart all involved almost produced a score. The home team then set up camp near the Quins line with a series of scrums and thrusts at the line which they just couldn’t turn into points against some resolute defending.
From another period of Linden pressure, Ford put a chip kick into the in-goal area and Steven Anderson and a Quins defender dived for the ball which broke free for MacTaggart to touch down but alas for the Linden a knock-on was given against Anderson.
Eventually the Quins managed to break out and the Linden were penalised for holding on in the tackle. A quick tap, Linden offside at the ruck and Hall stepped up to put over the penalty kick to stretch the lead to 11-3.
The Linden were straight back on the attack and also took a quick tap penalty which caught the Quins not back ten. However, when they went wide and knocked on, play was not brought back for the penalty in a kickable position. With 11 minutes to go they were awarded a penalty which Ford put over and the Linden were only five points behind.
A silly late tackle gave Quins field position and a series of scrums near the Linden line. The home team did well to hold them but, when the Quins decided to pick up, scrum-half Young went blind and dived over in the corner for the clinching score.
A frustrating defeat for the Linden but in tight local derbies it’s often the team who make least mistakes who come out on top and the Quins made less than their hosts. Rory Smith, returning from injury, was best for the Linden putting in a huge effort against his old team.
Linden travelled to Hallhill Sports Ground looking to do the double over a Dunbar side they had defeated comfortably at the Volunteer just four weeks ago. The home team however were out to exact revenge and showed their intent right from the off.
With just five minutes on the clock, full-back Antoin Penrose burst through some weak Linden tackling to touch down at the posts and Ross Charlton converted. Kirk Ford responded with a penalty double to reduce the deficit to 7-6. A well organised line out drive from the home team ended with Connor McLellan claiming the touch down which Charlton converted.
Gary Peebles flew up the touchline to outpace the Linden defence and Charlton’s fine conversion stretched the Dunbar lead to 21-6 which was reduced by three when Ford struck his third penalty goal. The Linden cause wasn’t helped when Steven Beattie retired with a hand injury to be replaced by Greg Thomson.
Dunbar secured the bonus point try on 33 minutes through Chris Greco and the Linden were staring down the barrel at 26-9. The signs didn’t look good for the Royal Blues but they were not for folding and another Ford penalty was followed by a fine solo try from Craig Smith. The No. 8 latched onto a loose ball and his powerful run saw him barge through the final tackle fo a try near the posts which Ford converted. Now 26-19 down at the break the Linden were right back in the game.
Ten minutes into the second period and Ford put over his fifth penalty kick and the Linden started to gain the ascendancy as the home team gave away a number ofpenalties which escaped further sanction. When the home team attacked the Linden line Gary Wardle was adjudged offside at the side of the ruck and was also shown a yellow card to the frustration of the visitors. Once more the Linden could have crumbled but a Steven Anderson interception released the pressure although his efforts to run the distance were thwarted by a fine cover tackle.
The pendulum swung back in favour of Dunbar as Jordan White was helped from the field to leave the Linden with 13 but it then swung right back again. The home team were penalised for which Chris Bryce was sin-binned. At the same time prop Chris Baikie spoke out of turn and was also yellow carded which was immediately changed to red when further comment was directed to the referee.
Once the chaos had settled, Ford stroked over the resultant penalty and Linden were a point behind at 26-25 and had returned to a full complement to Dunbar’s 13. As often happens in such situations it was the short-handed home team who raised their game and from a forward drive, full-back Penrose kept the legs pumping to go over in the corner. Linden had one last chance when Phil MacTaggart charged down a clearance kick but to his bemusement a knock-on was awarded and his team had to settle for the losing bonus point.
An entertaining game that had many twists and turns that was influenced by both teams allowing refereeing decisions to affect them. The Linden can be happy at showing great character in coming back from a significant deficit against a well drilled side but frustrated they could not capitalise when Dunbar went down to 13. The forwards stuck in manfully against a bigger pack with Craig Smith having a number of powerful carries. Kirk Ford had a fine game at 10, striking the ball beautifully for a personal haul of 20 points.
There didn’t appear to be any Mad-Friday hangovers for the Linden as they blew visitor’s Dunbar away at the Volunteer Park. An early break by Steven Anderson set up the field position and a few phases later Gary Lowrie forced his way over for the touchdown with only 3 minutes on the clock.
A neat line out move between Gary Lowrie and Bradley Mercer sent the hooker storming up the touchline and his kick ahead was carried over by Dunbar. From the scrum 5, skipper Graham Colville somehow managed to drive himself over the try line at the corner to put his team 10-0 up after 6 minutes.
Dunbar broke through into the home 22 and a score looked likely until Sean Goodfellow, already imposing himself on the game, put in a try saving tackle. Some great counter rucking by the Anderson brothers won the Linden a penalty near half way. Goodfellow took a quick tap, raced deep into the 22 and the ball was moved blind for Colville to go over in the corner. Kirk Ford converted majestically from the touchline.
That man Goodfellow was at it again as he caught a missed kick to touch and was off on a scything run, leaving defenders in his wake with side-steps and dummies and his long pass looked to have created a certain try but alas it was dropped. Not only did it look a sure-fire score, it would also have been one of the tries of the season.
It was turning into the Goodfellow show as another superb run by the scrum-half led to Dunbar infringing at the breakdown and Ford put over the penalty kick. The visitor’s backs were ever willing to run the ball and an excellent breakout from their own 22 followed by good handling and running threatened at the other end until Graeme Anderson’s tackle saved the day.
With half-time approaching, Colville picked up from a scrum and fed Goodfellow whose lovely delayed pass put Ford under the posts and the stand-off converted to stretch the Linden lead to 27-0 at the break.
The Royal Blues started the second-half with another bang with a superb team score. Backs and forwards combined well, there was some fine handling with simple drawing and passing ending with Colville going over for his hat-trick. It was the No. 8’s 16th try of the season in only 13 appearances.
Soon after a nice move from the backs after a scrum was then taken on by David Lowrie and his nice offload was gratefully received by brother Gary who went under the posts. It was the younger Lowrie’s fifth try of the season in just three games. Ford’s conversion made it 39-0.
Into the final quarter and Dunbar, for the first time in the match, gained a foothold in the home 22. A sustained period of pressure was defended excellently by the Linden as they simply refused to give anything away. They were then able to exert the sucker punch by working their way up the other end, more aggressive defence turned the ball over and the ball was spread out to Steven Anderson who spun out of the tackle to race over and Ford converted.
The Linden got off to a flier in their East League game with Langholm at the Volunteer Park with a try in only the third minute. Steven Beattie fielded a clearing kick and some good hands spread the ball wide for Conor Gracie to run in at the corner. A second touchdown came 20 minutes later from a scrum on the Langholm 22. When it wheeled, skipper Graham Colville picked up and a huge gap opened up for the No. 8 to race over at the posts and Kirk Ford converted.
The Milntown men worked their way into the Linden 22 following a fine run by Alasdair Cavers. Several controlled phases later, a nice inside ball to Steven Nicol saw the visitor’s captain drive over for the try.
Linden scrum half Steven Beattie retired with a shoulder injury to be replaced by Ross Armstrong. From a line out the Royal Blues worked some space for Kirk Ford who had men outside but his pass was deliberately knocked-on. Ford stepped up to slot the penalty kick to stretch the lead to 15-5.
With time almost up in the first period, Ford put a deft chip over the Langholm defence but he was just beaten to the ball short of the line. However, it squirted from the Langholm players grasp and Phil MacTaggart was on-hand to pick up and fall over the line for the easiest of touchdowns.
After two squint feeds and a couple of penalties against the Linden, Ross Armstrong was shown a yellow card but Langholm were unable to take advantage. Mid-way through the second half the Royal Blues secured the try bonus point. Ford fielded a kick and linked with Graeme Anderson whose chip ahead struck a Langholm defender and rebounded straight to Anderson who offloaded to his brother Steven and the full-back raced over. Ford added the conversion.
A late tackle on Steven Anderson resulted in a sin-bin for the Langholm player. The Linden tried to capitalise and a lovely break by Ford cut-open the visitors defence but his long pass to the wing was dropped with a try looking certain if it had been held.
Scott Grant and Colville were both held up over the line before Steven Anderson went on a darting run and side-stepped his way over for the final try which Ford converted.
A great effort by both teams in the heavy conditions. The Linden will be happy with their defending as Langholm had periods of pressure which they couldn’t turn into points. The front row of Jordan White, Bradley Mercer and Alex McSorley all worked hard and Graham Colville had some storming runs. The Anderson brothers also had some good runs with Kirk Ford displaying some nice touches.
With three wins in their last four games, and the only defeat being a narrow one to high-flying Berwick, hopes should have been high for the Linden’s trip to Mains Park, Linlithgow. However, some changes from the week before took the edge off such hopes to create some concern for the Linden faithful.
Such concerns came to fruition when the visitors were slow out of the blocks and some weak tackling contributed to two tries in the first five minutes for the home team. A third was to follow soon after and the Linden finally put themselves on the scoreboard after quarter of an hour with a Kirk Ford penalty to reduce the leeway to 3-17. It was a significant kick for the 19-year-old as it took him past the 100 point mark for the season.
Linlithgow clinched the bonus point touchdown with a converted try after 31 minutes to which Ford replied with his second penalty goal. A soft try from a Linden perspective by the home scrum-half just before the break left the Volunteer Park side trailing 6-29 at half-time.
The Royal Blues started to play better after the turn around and were rewarded for some pressure when Aaron Hume touched down. They continued to play well for just over half-an-hour of the second period with much of the play in their opponents half. However, the final few minutes were a disaster for the visitors as Linlithgow ran in three tries under the posts, all of which were converted.
The late scores meant a cruel final scoreline for the Linden but they can certainly take encouragement from their efforts in the second period until the floodgates opened in those last few minutes.
The Linden were the first to exert their authority on the BT Borders Regional Shield game at Wilton Lodge Park as three Kirk Ford penalty kicks put the visitors 9-0 up after 25 minutes. The Quins then started to turn the tide and, after too many penalties near their own line, Linden’s Craig Smith saw yellow and the home team quickly turned the numerical advantage in their favour when Ross Aitken forced his way over and Adam Hall converted.
The first half ended with the Linden pounding at the Quins line with Ross Armstrong, Graham Colville, Keith Mabon and Barrie Keown all making thrusts which were well defended by the Baker Street side. Finally the defensive lines were broken when Armstrong took a quick tap penalty and Kirk Ford kicked cross field. It looked a well-judged kick but the ball just evaded its intended target of Conor Gracie. The alert Steven Anderson was on hand though to pick up and spin over the line and the Linden led 14-7 at the break.
The Quins started the better in the second half and two Adam Hall penalties reduced the deficit to a single point after 50 minutes. The Linden responded with a drive by Craig Smith from which Armstrong’s kick eluded the Quins full-back and Steven Anderson dived on the ball with Ford converting.
When the Quins’ Dale Johnstone was sin-binned mid-way through the half, the Linden turned up the pressure which they took nine minutes of his sentence to turn into points. They were eventually rewarded when Stuart Hair did well to free his hands in the tackle to offload to Steven Anderson who dived under the posts to complete his hat-trick. Ford added the extras to complete the scoring.
A rather typical early forenoon kick-off with a number of mistakes throughout the game. For the Linden Steven Anderson had an excellent match. Aside from his hat-trick of tries, he had some fine runs and searching kicks. Up front Keith Mabon was a willing ball carrier assisted by Connor Tofts and Barrie Keown.
Linden: S Anderson, P MacTaggart, S Renwick, G Anderson, C Gracie, K Ford, S Beattie; K Mabon, B Mercer, C Tofts, S Hair, B Keown, C Smith, J Hogg, G Colville.
East Division 1 met East Division 2 in the BT Borders Regional Shield at the Volunteer Park. Based on League positions and recent results the Linden were overwhelming favourites but a rather ragged performance from the Royal Blues together with a great effort from Earlston ensured the home side had to work hard for their win.
The men from the Haugh opened the scoring with an early Scott Bell penalty goal. From a scrum five, Kirk Ford’s deft pass put Phil MacTaggart over at the posts and the stand-off converted. Connor Tofts won a penalty for his side near half-way and skipper Graham Colville took it quickly. When Earlston were penalised for not being 10 metres, Ford stepped up to land the penalty to put his team 10-3 ahead after 17 minutes.
It took the Royal Blues until the 33rd minute to score again. Another tap penalty by Colville, this time near the try line, saw the ball recycled and Craig Smith had the strength to go over with Ford converting. The half ended with the Linden 17-3 to the good.
10 minutes into the second period the Linden won a line out and Ford kicked into the in-goal area. An Earlston defender seemed to have it easily covered but made a mess of kicking clear and the alert Steven Anderson pounced for an opportunist try. With half-an-hour to go there seemed ample time for Linden to secure one more touchdown for the try bonus.
However, the game became bogged down and somewhat untidy. Some high tackles crept in culminating in a clothes-liner from Craig Smith who was rightly sent to the naughty step. Earlston were not for lying down and after a long period of pressure, which had been well defended by the home team, scrum-half Ian Dick spun out of a tackle for try the visitors richly deserved to reduce the lead to 22-8 with just 10 minutes remaining.
It was only from this point that the Linden exerted some real authority going over for three converted touch downs before the final whistle. They came to life from the kick-off after the Earlston try with a thundering run by Chris Turnbull. Rory Smith came on a short ball breaking through at pace just outside the 22 and was able to take on the full-back and score although he was injured in the process. Ford added the extras.
With time almost up a scrum five was driven forward by the home pack which allowed Colville to go over for try number 12 of the season for the No. 8 and Ford converted. Into injury time and Craig Smith’s angle of run near the line saw him stroll over and Ford’s conversion completed the scoring.
Not a vintage performance from the Linden but they got the job done and the final 10 minutes put some gloss on the scoreline. Anything the Gray brothers could do, both scoring against Argentina, the Smith brothers could do too as each touched down although Craig managed to go one better than Rory. Their back-row colleague Graham Colville also put in another excellent shift and big Stuart Hair showed up with some surging runs.
With the Smith brothers scoring the tries it was the Anderson brothers who put in the big hits, Steven putting in some beauties at full-back. Phil MacTaggart and Greg Baillie also showed up well in the backs.
Linden: S Anderson, G Baillie, G Anderson, P MacTaggert, C Gracie, K Ford, S Beattie; A McSorley, C Turnbull, C Tofts, S Hair, J Hogg, R Smith, C Smith, G Colville; Subs: R Beattie, S Spalding, S Renwick, S Bouglas.
The Linden eventually came out on top after a thrilling contest on their first visit to Duns’ new home of Castle Park in a match played under floodlights. The Royal Blues got off to a flyer with an early Kirk Ford penalty goal in the third minute which was beautifully struck from distance. Soon after skipper Graham Colville picked up from a scrum five to go over for his 11th try of the season in only eight appearances. Ford added the conversion and another two penalty kicks and the Linden were 16-0 ahead after 16 minutes and looked in total command.
However, Duns had other ideas and after half an hour winger Scott Maceachen showed his pace to win the race to touch down. Stewart Calder then went over on the stroke of the interval and Lewis Craig converted with the last kick of the half to reduce the lead to 16-12.
The Linden had lost their early control so a good start to the second half was required. It couldn’t have been worse though as Duns No. 8 Richard Hume somehow clung on to a short ball, more or less catching it behind his back, to touch down at the posts. Maceachen’s conversion put the home team 19-16 ahead.
The Linden response was ideal as they went up the other end and Barrie Keown was on hand to take the final pass of some great play to plunge over. Ten minutes later and a Lewis Craig penalty put the Dingers back in the lead at 22-21.
On 61 minutes the lead changed hands yet again as Kirk Ford put over his fourth penalty kick. Six minutes later and he added another to stretch the Linden lead to 27-22. When Bradley Mercer went for an interception on half-way he was deemed to have deliberately knocked on and was yellow carded leaving the Royal Blues to see out the game with 14 men.
With a minute to go Sean Potts took a nasty blow to the head and, with the medics calling for the game to be halted, Duns were penalised when on the attack. Ford cleared to touch on half-way but it was clear there were real concerns over the seriousness of Potts’ condition and the game was halted as an ambulance was called.
With only five points between the teams consideration was given to playing the final minute on an adjoining pitch but eventually common sense prevailed and the game was ended.
Both teams deserve great credit for ensuring a ding-dong affair for the healthy sized crowd. An excellent performance from the Linden in the early part of the game although they will be concerned how they then drifted out of it. Steven Beattie filling in at scrum half put out a good service, there were some trademark hard hitting tackles from Graeme Anderson and stand-off Kirk Ford continues to blossom showing deft skills with ball in hand and with the boot.
The patched-up front row again worked hard, well supported by Stuart Hair and Barrie Keown in the engine room with Gary Wardle in fine form after coming off the bench.
The Linden wish to express their grateful thanks to all from Duns who assisted Brian Nichol and the paramedics in safely transferring Sean Potts to the ambulance. Thankfully, despite a thumping headache the next day, Potts did not suffer any serious injury and was discharged from hospital.
Having lost 64-6 in a League game at Berwick just three weeks ago, the signs were ominous for the home team as they lined up against a largely unchanged visiting side in their opening BT Borders Regional Shield match.
In the first half-hour Berwick were able to show once again their pace and clinical ability to put away chances to seemingly wrap up the victory with only the extent of the margin to be determined in the remainder of the game. However, the Linden spirit was evident as they totally dominated territory in the second period and just fell short of producing another score that might have secured what would have been a well deserved draw.
With Craig Smith delayed in traffic, a last minute change was required as Keith Mabon moved into the starting line-up. The Linden were first on the attack with a Graeme Anderson break but when the Royal Blues were turned over Berwick worked their way down the other end for Roy McFarlane to touch down and Shane Armstrong to convert.
The Linden responded with a Kirk Ford penalty goal and were on the attack again until they lost their own line-out throw and excellent handling by Berwick saw them go from their own 22 for Armstrong to score a superb try which he also converted. Steven Anderson’s lovely run set up good field position for the Linden and, from a scrum pick up, skipper Graham Colville took Berwick bodies with him as he powered over the line to reduce the deficit to 8-14.
They had other ideas though and a breakout from Rory Smith and a surge to the line by Greg Cunningham saw Berwick penalised for killing the ball. A yellow card was shown and Ford kicked the goal.
The second period was played almost entirely in the Berwick half. Eight minutes in, the Linden lost their throw on the Berwick 22 but the visitors sent back scrappy ball and Colville pounced to go over for his second try. A long period of Linden pressure ended in Berwick being penalised, receive another yellow card and Ford’s penalty reduced the leeway to one converted try with 18 minutes remaining. Despite their best efforts the Royal Blues just couldn’t conjure up another score.
Rory Graham had a solid game in his first start at scrum-half in a competitive match giving Ford good service. The Anderson brothers, Steven and Graeme, had some good runs and Phil MacTaggart hit up well at centre. There was another excellent performance from the back row of Rory Smith, Cunningham and Colville aided by the returning Kevin Brown.
The greatest credit however must go to the front row all of whom came into the game carrying injuries. They were no doubt grateful to Keith Mabon, pulled out of retirement again, who allowed some sensible rotation which helped avoid aggravation of the injured trios aches and pains.
With intermittent heavy downpours the weather was trying for both teams in the second match of the Volunteer Park double header. Each side was guilty of a number of errors, many due to the conditions, which led to a low scoring game that had supporters biting their nails right to the final whistle.
It was the Linden who started the brightest and a powerful surge by Barrie Keown, supported by his middle-row colleague Craig Smith, looked threatening but came to nothing. The Royal Blues were not averse to playing open rugby despite the weather and seemed certain to open the scoring just after the first half mid-point. Unfortunately with a 3-on-1 the scoring pass failed to go to hand. Almost immediately they created another opportunity when the Anderson brothers, Graeme and Steven, combined but again the chance was lost with a poor pass.
Just a minute later the forwards took over with a number of drives at the line and Graham Colville finally put points on the board as he drove across the line to touch down. Although the Linden had been in the ascendancy for the first half hour, Duns ended the half on top. After the Dingers missed an easy penalty goal, Dale Robertson took over kicking duties to slot a similar award a couple of minutes before the break.
Into first half injury time and Robertson had another shot from distance with the last kick of the half. When it fell short the Linden tried to kick to touch from centre field which sliced into their own in-goal area causing major panic before a Royal Blue hand was first to the ball.
The Royal Blues tried to respond straight away when Ryan Elliot pounced on a Duns dropped pass to hack on over the line but was called back due to an earlier Linden infringement. They were soon back on the attack from their own half when a good old kick and chase in the foul conditions resulted in Duns knocking-on near their line. From the scrum the Linden forwards pounded at the line which ended with Colville once more surging over. The normally right-footed Steven Beattie put the conversion over with his left.
Duns were not for giving up and they tried right to the end but the home defence, which had been good all game, held out. It was a victory they deserved more as a result of their first half ascendancy although they were perhaps guilty of playing too much rugby in the conditions. Duns played a simpler game through their forwards which accounted for them having the better of the second period.
Alex McSorley did a good job at hooker with Connor Tofts, Barrie Keown and Craig Smith carrying ball well. Ryan Elliot showed his pace at times and the experience of Steven Anderson was often evident. Graham Colville gave a captain’s lead, scoring both tries and, when awarded Linden man-of-the-match, comfortably defeated his Duns counterpart in their after match boat-race.
It was no picnic at the seaside for the Linden at Scremerston. Despite a tremendous start by the Royal Blues, the speed and ruthlessness in taking chances of the home team resulted in a comprehensive defeat. This was a much better performance by the Linden than the scoreline would suggest, the reality was though that Berwick were a very good side.
It was the visitors who started the brightest right from when Rory Smith, back in a Linden jersey for the first time in five years, caught the kick-off. The Linden dominated possession playing with real control through multi-phases with backs and forwards combining well. They took the lead after 10 minutes with a Kirk Ford penalty and the young stand-off added a second soon after.
The Linden were quickly back on the attack but, when they lost their line-out in the Berwick 22, the visitors showed their speed in breaking up the stand side and Gareth Hill touched down. Straight from the kick-off some great passing put Dan Law in at the corner. The lead was stretched further when lock Scott Owens profited from a line-out catch and drive.
The Linden had a great break out but unfortunately knocked-on. From the scrum Berwick found space on the outside for Jamie Pick to score the bonus point try. With the first half into injury time two quick-fire tries by Gareth Hill and Jack Webster had the Linden wondering how they were so far behind after their early promise. Flanker Shane Armstrong converted all six first half tries to put his side ahead 42-6 at the break.
The Linden cause hadn’t been helped by prop Alex McSorley being forced off in the first period with an ankle injury and he was followed off early in the second half by Greg Cunningham who suffered a head knock. The Linden dug in again though and they had a sustained period in the Berwick 22. After they were held up, the home team turned the ball over and went the length of the field for Hill to apply the finishing touch.
The Linden continued their efforts turning down kickable penalties. Once again they were turned over and a kind bounce allowed Shane Armstrong to race in for another full length try. Tommy McColl then found a gap to go over at the posts with Armstrong converting and the final try came from a forwards drive.
An unkind scoreline for the visitors after their excellent start. However, the difference was that they made no mistakes in the early stages whereas when they subsequently made any errors, the home team had the speed and firepower to ruthlessly punish them. Kirk Ford had a fine game with two cracking cover tackles and seemed to have added length to his kicking from hand. Graeme Anderson was solid in the tackle and up front Rory Smith was outstanding carrying ball relentlessly.
The Linden gained a bonus point win at Wilton Lodge Park, a venue where they have often come unstuck against the Quins in the past. The heavy overnight rain saw the game played on the middle pitch rather than the traditional Quins riverside one. The underfoot conditions were surprisingly good though and the fine early autumnal sunshine attracted a healthy crowd.
The home side were straight on the scoreboard with an Adam Hall penalty kick in the second minute. Kirk Ford levelled the scores in similar fashion following hands in the ruck. The first try of the game came after a thumping hit by Greg Thomson when chasing a high kick. This set the platform for the Linden to camp on the Quins line and the forwards eventually surged their way over the line with the biggest surprise being winger Sean Potts emerging from the pile of bodies to claim the touch down.
Ryan Elliot did well on the right wing near half-way and then the ball was moved left. Potts showed his pace on the outside racing into the 22 and feeding inside to the supporting Conor Gracie who sold a glorious dummy to storm under the posts. Kirk Ford converted both tries to put his team 17-3 ahead.
The Linden looked certain to score again when Graham Colville took a short ball at pace and charged to the corner but lost the ball in the act of scoring. He didn’t take long to make amends though. The Quins were penalised at the resulting scrum, the Linden opted for a repeat, influenced by having regularly shunted their opponents backwards, and Colville picked and strolled over for the easiest of tries. Ford converted and the Linden were in command at 24-3 with only 28 minutes played.
With the Royal Blues seeming to think they had done the hard work, the Quins took control of possession and the Linden regularly offended which ultimately ended with Hall slotting his second penalty. Just before the break a Linden clearance kick was charged down, the Quins shipped the ball wide and Hall benefitted from the overlap to race over and reduce the Linden lead to 24-11 at the interval.
The visitors missed a couple of penalty kicks early in the second period. They then took to running a number of similar awards which eventually paid off when Kirk Ford shot through a gap to touch down. As the game moved into the final 10 minutes Colville ripped the ball and took off on a storming run to the line but incredibly, for the second time, lost the ball as he dived behind the posts.
The Quins were rewarded for a period of pressure when Dale Johnstone powered to the line and stretched out to score with Hall converting. The Linden had the final word when Ford put over his second penalty kick to complete a personal haul of 17 points.
The first appearances of the season by Graeme Anderson, Greg Thomson and Barrie Keown were big factors in the Linden performance showing not only their experience but their desire and hard edge in contact. Conor Gracie had a fine game at full-back capped by his try with the front row scrummaging extremely well. Released from the middle row, James Hogg excelled with the extra freedom of wing forward and all of the bench made an impact.
Linden: C Gracie, R Elliot, P MacTaggert, G Anderson, S Potts, K Ford, G Thomson; R Norman, B Mercer, A McSorley, S Hair, B Keown, J Hogg, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: S Beattie, C Tofts, J White, S Anderson.
For the second time this season the Linden were left wondering how they failed to secure even a bonus point when they made the trip to previously winless Portobello. With a number of players unavailable and a couple of late call-offs, the changes meant the Royal Blues took some time to settle and the home team took advantage with an early try from Mitch Walker converted by Robbie Mott.
After 15 minutes Kirk Ford broke following a scrum on half-way and Graham Colville surged on powering through several tackles to stretch out and touch down. Kirk Ford’s conversion levelled the scores.
The visitor’s joy was short lived as powerful running from Rob Ritchie and some weak tackling by the Linden saw the Portobello winger go over for a try. The half ended with the home side on the attack and Phil MacTaggart departed for ten minutes, paying the price for one too many penalties by his side compounded by consistent questioning of the referee’s decisions.
A half-time rollicking by assistant coach Ian Barnes ensured vastly improved discipline in the second period. Whilst still a man down, good Linden pressure resulted in Portobello being penalised. A quick tap penalty and Colville ran over and Ford’s conversion put the visitor’s 14-12 ahead.
The young stand-off tried to stretch the lead with a penalty and then a drop-goal, both from long range, but each fell short of their target. Despite the Royal Blues having been in the ascendancy for the early part of the second-half, Portobello broke out and forced a 5 metre scrum from which Will Murray drove over and Mott converted.
Portobello then applied considerable pressure but the Linden held out with some stout defence. With the match into injury time, the visitor’s bravely chased the game running from their own 22 but an interception saw Murray Boyter go over for the bonus point try, converted by Mott, to deny the Linden what would have been a deserved losing bonus point.
Although the first-half performance was marred by too much back-chat, the Linden should be congratulated for chanelling their efforts to much greater effect after the turn around. Josh Farmer worked hard on his return, Kirk Ford had some nice touches at stand-off and Ryan Hamilton stuck in well in the unaccustomed position of centre. In the pack the front row of Ross Norman, Bradley Mercer and Alex McSorley scrummaged their hearts out with Graham Colville carrying ball well and Greg Cunningham outstanding in the loose.
On a gloriously sunny day, with the sounds of a pipe band in the distance, the Volunteer Park crowd were anticipating an afternoon of entertainment. Alas for the Linden faithful, the majority of the rugby, certainly in the first period, was played by the visitors from Dalkeith.
Playing with a physicality the lighter home pack struggled to cope with, Dalkeith also showed great enterprise in the backs. An early glimpse of this was shown after a Linden lineout went wrong and the visitors ran from their own half. When the Royal Blues were caught offside, a quick tap penalty saw Graeme Duke touch down with Paul Clugston converting.
Kirk Ford responded with a penalty goal for the Linden which was quickly followed in similar fashion by Clugston. When put under pressure in their 22, the Linden did well to work the ball into space but a poor clearing kick was run back by Dalkeith and full-back Steven Hamilton crossed and Clugston converted.
Ford slotted a penalty but Dalkeith went straight up the other end to score. After a driving maul, skipper Ryan Reid came on a short ball to go over at the posts giving Clugston an easy conversion.
Ford put over his third penalty before Dalkeith secured the try bonus when Chris Naylor stepped inside and a huge gap opened up to allow him to race over with Hamilton this time converting.
The second half had been scoreless until, with the final play of the game, a chip through by Dalkeith ricocheted off legs straight into the arms of Stef Paton who fed Naylor and he went over for his second touchdown. Hamilton converted with the last kick of the game.
Although well beaten in the end the Linden can take heart from their performance particularly in the second half. They had no answer to the Dalkeith driving maul and found it difficult to play through phases as they were often out-muscled at the break down and yet will feel disappointed at not getting any reward for their second half efforts.
With a number of players missing, Greg Bouglas was forced into back row action and put in a great performance. Graham Colville also had a fine game with Alex McSorley showing up well at hooker. Despite a lack of bulk, James Hogg gave another hard working display. Kirk Ford did well at stand-off with Stuart Renwick showing some nice touches in his first game of the season.
The late summer sunshine and good underfoot conditions saw a points bonanza at Milntown as the Linden eventually ended up comfortable victors but not before the home team had made them work hard for the spoils.
Langholm took the lead with a well-taken Steven Nicol try converted by Nathan Smith. The Royal Blues hit back with two quick tries courtesy of Graham Colville, following an excellent Linden scrum, and Gary Lowrie, after Conor Gracie’s break taken on by Steven Bouglas who passed on to Lowrie to finish in style.
Stand-off Niall Cubbon broke through some weak tackling to go over at the posts and Smith’s conversion put Langholm back in the lead at 14-10. From another dominant scrum, Ford linked with Steven Bouglas who sprinted over and Ford converted. Just before the break Smith slotted a penalty goal to tie the scores at 17-all at the interval.
The Milntown men were back in front again when Nathan Smith carved his way over for a touchdown he also converted. The Linden evened things up with Steven Bouglas’ second try and Ford’s conversion. Two minutes later and Colville also touched down for the second time with Ford adding the extras.
When Langholm lost a man to the sin-bin the visitors grabbed hold of the game. First Phil MacTaggart dived over at the posts for Ford to convert quickly followed by Colville completing his hat-trick and the Linden were 43-24 to the good. Langholm responded when Jordan Reid ploughed over with Smith converting.
The Linden went up the other end and after a Jordan White surge, Sean Potts finished off an overlap in the corner. A Colin Jardine try gave Langholm the final word in a ding-dong affair that was great entertainment for the sun-drenched crowd.
A heartening performance by the Linden although they will be disappointed at shipping so many points which contributed to taking so long in taking control of the game. Kirk Ford put in a fine performance linking well with Steven Bouglas at centre whose angles of hard running were a constant threat. The front five put in a powerful shift with the scrummaging first class, regularly putting the home eight in all kinds of trouble.
Season 2013/2014 - scroll down for previous match reports
The curtain came down on the Lindens rollercoaster of a XVs season at Milntown in the RBS Border Shield. Not for the first time the Royal Blues travelled light with only 15 players and once again injuries left them playing men down and contributing to the eventual outcome.
From an attacking scrum, Aaron Hume picked up and, when Langholm failed to release in the tackle, Ryan Beattie put over the penalty. The visitors increased their lead when they kicked a penalty to touch. Following the lineout, Langholm were penalised and a quick tap created the chance for Shaun Fairbairn to plunge over for a try.
The Milntown men hit back when No. 8 Alan Tyler picked from a scrum and found a gap in the Lindens open-side defence to touch down and Niall Cubbon converted. Right on half time Langholm had a scrum in a similar position to their first score but this time they went blind. Simple hands created an overlap for winger Dane Massie to dot down in the corner to put his side 12-8 ahead at the break.
Linden started the second half with a bang. From a scrum on half-way, Fairbairn went on a nice run and put Greg Baillie away on a scorching run up the waterside touchline. Baillies kick ahead hit the corner flag, no longer out of play, and sat nicely over the try line for the winger to dive on the ball for a great try. It was a bittersweet score though as Ross Norman was knocked in the lead-up and was led groggily from the field to leave the Linden down to 14.
From this point the home team took more control of the game and their good work was rewarded when Massie scored his second try and Langholm were back in front at 17-13. After a long period of pressure Niall Cubbon darted over for a try converted by Massie. Aaron Hume had to depart with a shoulder injury and for the last quarter of an hour the Lindens 13 remaining players tackled their hearts out.
It took deep into injury time with the last play of the game for Langholm to exploit their numerical advantage when Josh Duffy touched down.
Greg Thomson put in a typically wholehearted performance in his final game, Shaun Fairbairn didnt look out of place at stand-off with Greg Baillie showing his pace when he got the chance. The forwards may have lacked height and weight but were not short on heart and passion throwing themselves into contact.
Team: S Grant, G Baillie, P MacTaggart, C Gracie, K Douglas, S Fairbairn, G Thomson; R Beattie, B Mercer, J White, M Knight, K Mabon, R Norman, G Blacklock, A Hume.
Saturdays heavy lunchtime rain on top of an already very wet Volunteer Park forced a late switch of the Lindens game with Duns to Wilton Lodge Park. Although still very soft underfoot, both teams put the difficult conditions aside to serve up a close encounter which could have gone either way.
The Linden had the first opportunities to open the scoring. However , the tricky surface contributed to Kirk Ford being unable to strike the ball well with two early penalty kicks. After 12 minutes Danny Lamb struck a penalty for Duns when the Linden were caught offside. It was third time lucky for Ford as he found his range to tie the scores but Lamb regained the lead for the visitors when he put over his second penalty goal.
The Royal Blues struck back with a cracking score. Greg Thomson fielded a clearance kick near half-way and took off. Some lovely inter-passing with Conor Grace, simply letting the ball do the work, ended with Shaun Fairbairn up in support for the skipper to romp over. Ford slotted the conversion and followed up soon after with a penalty earned through Graeme Andersons excellent kick-chase and thumping tackle.
Turning around 13-6 behind, Duns brought the scores level after 8 minutes of the second period. A penalty kick to touch gained field position and a period of pressure by the forwards ended with Colin Tait claiming the try which Lamb converted. The Dingers scrum-half then added a penalty goal to put his side back in the lead.
It was a welcome return after injury for the Lindens Chris Telfer, who made his first appearance since September 2012 when he replaced Keith Mabon. He made an immediate impact as his aggressive running lead to a penalty which Ford put over to tie the scores once more.
Phil MacTaggart did well to retain possession in contact and, when Duns were penalised at the breakdown, Ford put the Linden back in the lead with another penalty. He added his fifth such award when Stuart Williams was high tackled and with 10 minutes remaining the home side led 22-16.
Duns made great efforts to snatch the win, running a kickable penalty and applying sustained pressure on the Linden line. A mixture of heroic tackling and spurning an overlap with a forward pass left the Linden celebrating as the full-time whistle blew with no further scoring.
The match programme asked for the players to respond with character after last weeks record defeat and there was character in abundance. The front row scrummaged well and Graham Blacklock and Aaron Hume once again tackled with the force of men twice their size.
The centre pairing of Stuart Williams and Graeme Anderson were solid throughout, the latter putting in big hits and securing a number of turn overs. Conor Grace had one of his best games for the club and Greg Thomson was a steadying influence at full-back.
On a surface like a thick bowl of broth, and with a ball that resembled a pound of haggis, goal kicking was no easy task. However, Kirk Ford belied the difficult conditions and his 17 point haul proved to be the fine malt that secured the win for his side thus ensuring he was the toast of all Linden laddies and lassies!
Linden: G Thomson, P MacTaggart, G Anderson, S Williams, C Gracie, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, J White, K Mabon, G Wardle, G Blacklock, A Hume, S Fairbairn; Subs: R Norman, C Tofts, G Baillie, C Telfer
RBS East League Division 1
Preston Lodge 129 - 0 Hawick Linden
Preston Lodge clinched the RBS East League Division 1 title in style as they subjected the Linden to a record 129-0 defeat at Pennypit Park. The Linden had given the East Lothian side a real run for their money at the Volunteer earlier in the season but injuries and unavailability meant it was a vastly different Linden team for the return fixture, particularly up front.
This was where the visitors found it difficult to obtain possession of any note. With all three of their front row starting the game carrying injuries, the Linden scrum was under constant pressure and the soft pitch did not suit their lightweight pack.
It took the home team 21 minutes to secure the four try bonus point and by half time they stretched their lead to 49-0 with seven converted tries. Mid-way through the second half the tally was 75 points when the Royal Blues were a little unlucky to be penalised at the breakdown which was compounded when the bemused Andrew Ford was yellow carded for a comment which appeared to have come from the crowd.
This wasnt the only time the Linden felt harshly treated as they were strictly refereed from 1st to the 80th minute and, even when over 100 points down, were forced to kick-off when a player was receiving treatment. Admittedly not front row, so technically correct, but somehow it just didnt sit comfortably with the state of the game.
League reconstruction in recent years has held Preston Lodge back from playing at a higher level and they can now deservedly move on to where their power, pace and the intensity they play the game will challenge any side. They played quality rugby and scored some thrilling tries for their large support.
For those not in attendance at the game, most will view the result from a Linden perspective with astonishment but no-one should criticise the predominantly young side who pulled on the jerseys and never threw in the towel. The front row all played through the pain barrier whilst the back row, led by skipper Shaun Fairbairn were immense, flankers Aaron Hume, making his debut, and Graham Blacklock tackling like demons throughout.
Linden: G Thomson, G Baillie, P MacTaggart, S Williams, C Gracie, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, J White, A Ford, J Hogg, G Blacklock, A Hume, S Fairbairn; Subs: M Knight, R Norman.
RBS East League Division 1
Hawick Quins 15 - 10 Hawick Linden
The Linden returned to league duty on Saturday and made the short journey to Wilton Lodge Park to play Hawick Harlequins.
On a cold but bright day Linden started with a bang and after a good surge into the Quins half they were awarded a penalty for offside, however Kirk Ford just failed with his kick to open the score. Quins began to pressure the Linden in their own half and they opened the scoring in six minutes when Linden were penalised and Peffers slotted the kick.
The Quins were dominating territory and in the scrum they were causing the Linden all sorts of problems . In twelve minutes Quins increased their lead to 6 - 0 when the Linden conceded another needless penalty and again kicked the points. The Linden were finding it difficult to break out of their own half and when they tried to run the ball they were met by determined Quins tackling. After thirty minutes the Linden had conceded a further two penalties and Peffers kicked the Quins to a 12-0 lead.
Worse to follow for Linden in thirty three minutes when standoff Kirk Ford was yellow carded. Down to fourteen men the Linden finally got into the game and after a good break by Stuart Williams they were awarded a penalty which Shaun Fairbairn kicked to make the score 12-3. From the restart the Linden again swept up to the Quins line but a solid defence held the Linden at bay to half time.
The Linden raised their game in the second half and it was their turn to pin the Quins in their own half. Good breaks by Shaun Fairbairn and Craig Smith put Linden on the front foot but the Quins defence held firm. In fifty minutes the Linden scored a try when Craig Smith broke down field the ball was moved to Stuart Williams who side stepped the Quins defence and crashed over to the right of the posts. Kirk Ford converted the try and the Linden were back in the game at 12-10. Straight from the restart the Linden coughed up another penalty and again Peffers kicked the points to increase their lead to 15-10.
In sixty nine minutes Linden winger Sean Potts suffered a serious injury and the match was halted so the player could be attended to. After consulting both teams it was agreed to restart the match on the next pitch.
The Linden pounded away at the Quins line looking to win the match. The Quins were giving away penalties which the Linden opted to run but again the Quins tackled like demons and they held the Linden out to the final whistle.
1 C Turnbull 2 C Tofts 3 R Beattie 4 B Keown 5 A Baillie 6 G Wardle 7 C Smith 8 S Fairbairn
9 R Hamilton 10 K Ford 11 C Gracie 12 S Williams 13 P McTaggart 14 G Thomson 15 G Anderson
Subs B Mercer J White J Hogg S Potts
Friendly vs Selkirk 2nds
Selkirk 2nds 34 - 0 Hawick Linden
The Linden were able to blow away some of the festive cobwebs in their first game for three weeks at Philiphaugh. The home team opened the scoring in the eighth minutes when a long switch pass back to the blind side by stand-off Rory Banks created the space for his inside centre to go over for the touchdown. The lead was doubled when Linden lost their own line out and the home loose head prop came on a short ball to plunge over.
A poor Linden line out in the Selkirk half squandered possession and a half break by their centre allowed his right wing to show his pace and race in at the corner. After half an hour Jordan White was forced to retire and was replaced by Graham Blacklock.
A wide pass by Ford led to Greg Thomson making good inroads into Selkirk territory and Stuart Williams thrust to the line ended with Selkirk turning the ball over. The Linden were trying hard to open their account and Greg Baillies chase of his own kick ahead into the in-goal area just failed to do so.
Just before the break Bradley Mercer left the field injured with Sean Potts coming on necessitating some reshuffling of the Linden line up.
The home team stretched their lead to 20-0 when they went blind from a scrum five and their centre touched down as he twisted in the tackle. This was quickly followed by a soft try from the Lindens perspective as a Selkirk middle row barged over from a quick tap penalty and Banks converted. At this point a hand injury forced Blacklock to retire leaving the Linden with only 14 players.
Selkirks final score came when play was spread wide and their right wing flirted with the touchline as he sped up the stand side and Banks conversion completed the scoring.
Team: G Thomson, G Baillie, S Williams, P MacTaggart, C Gracie, K Ford, R Hamilton; J White, C Tofts, R Beattie, C Turnbull, K Mabon, B Mercer, B Keown, S Fairbairn; Subs: G Blacklock, S Potts.
RBS East League Division 1
Hawick Linden 0 - 39 Dunbar
The Lindens injury woes continued on Saturday. In the lead in to the game Blaine Willison fell through a roof and Barry Sutherland dropped a kettle on his foot. The squad of 19 was picked from those left standing, including the returning Stuart Williams who passed a fitness test, however, he proceeded to severely cut a finger on a tuna tin at lunchtime whilst Chris Turnbull was forced into calling off 15 minutes before kick-off.
They say it never rain but it pours. Not only was that the case with the Lindens injuries but also from the heavens as it was certainly pouring. The howling cold wind didnt help either. After seven minutes the Linden defence was sucked in and Dunbars right wing ran over in the corner.
The Linden went on the attack and had an easily kickable penalty in front of the posts but chose to go for a quick tap penalty. Ryan Beattie was held up over the line, Dunbar turned over the resulting scrum, shipped the ball wide and it was their left-wingers turn to score as he finished off a length of the field try. Stunning by the visitors but soul destroying for the home team as the conversion rubbed further salt in the wounds.
Gary Wardle then suffered an ankle injury to be replaced by Graham Blacklock. Dunbar had a sustained period of pressure as the Linden defended their line and a series of scrums for fully 12 minutes. The pressure eventually told when the Hallhill side sneaked over in the corner.
With the interval looming, a Dunbar move deep in the home half broke down and Graeme Anderson hacked and chased on. His kicks took him right into the visiting 22 when he was cynically taken to ground and the Dunbar full-back was binned. The home crowd roared in vain for a penalty try and a couple of tap penalties by the Linden came to nothing as they left the field for new jerseys 17-0 down.
Wardle returned early in the second period when Blacklock took a loud hit. Some controlled pick and drives led to the bonus point try for Dunbar and some good continuity play in the conditions saw them go over again soon after. Bradley Mercer then took play close to the Dunbar line with another kick and chase but the ball was kicked dead by the visitors. From the scrum five, a Linden pass was caught in the wind and Dunbar ran down the other end for a converted try.
The visitors added one more try to stretch their lead to 39-0 at which point Greg Thomson left the field suffering from hypothermia. With others heading the same way officials and coaches of both clubs agreed the match should end early and the referee sensibly brought matters to a conclusion after 60 minutes which, under league rules, would allow the result to stand.
Cups of tea were hurriedly supplied to each changing room to assist the players recovery from the elements. Well done to both teams for playing as long as they did in such trying conditions.
Team: G Thomson, G Baillie, P MacTaggart, G Anderson, C Gracie, C Russell, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, C Tofts, K Mabon, M Kali, G Wardle, J Hogg, S Fairbairn; Subs: G Blacklock, S Campbell.
RBS East League Division 1
Portobello 52 - 10 Hawick Linden
Despite suffering from injuries and unavailability, the Linden had a squad of 16 selected which they still felt was strong enough to get a result at Cavalry Park having gained a bonus point win over Portobello at the Volunteer earlier in the season.
Their plans were turned upside down when three players with whom arrangements had been made to be picked up en route did not show. All efforts to make contact proved fruitless and, even with Coach Lee Stewart forced into action, the visitors were still left to play with only 14 players.
Before the kick-off a minutes applause took place in recognition of Alastair Cuthbertson, an esteemed school coach and of the Portobello club in its glory days. The home side started with a bang as their tight-head prop crashed over for a converted try after only 2 minutes. The Linden hit back quickly with a Kirk Ford penalty goal but the home side responded immediately. A quick tap penalty followed by some poor Linden tackling saw the Portobello hooker storm over. The try was converted as was the next touchdown when the Royal Blues were pushed off their own scrum.
The home team scored another three tries, two converted to stretch their lead to 40-3 after only 29 minutes. The visitors chaotic preparations had clearly had an adverse effect and it obviously took some players who were playing out of position a little time to settle into their new roles. However, from this point forward the Linden were immense. Their tackling improved to the point of being heroic and the effort was huge.
Seven minutes into the second half, a lovely wide pass by stand-off Ford created the space for Greg Cunningham, playing on the wing, and he linked with Conor Gracie who gave the scoring pass to Graeme Anderson for a fine try. Ford converted. Alas Cunningham was forced to retire with a shoulder injury after just 15 minutes of the second period to leave the visitors with just 13 players.
This did not dampen the Linden spirit which was typified when they turned over a Portobello 5 metre scrum, then won their own scrum ball which had been under severe pressure throughout the game and ultimately cleared their lines. It took until the 71st minutes for the home team to score which was followed by a converted try with five minutes remaining and the Linden down to 12 following another retiral.
If ever a team could take heart in a comprehensive defeat then it was the Linden. No-one should be singled out for acclaim as the commitment of all those who pulled on the blue jersey with pride was absolutely immense. Questions however remain over those who failed their club and team-mates in not appearing for duty.
Team: C Gracie, G Cunningham, G Anderson, S Fairbairn, G Baillie, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, A Ford, M Knight, J Hogg, G Wardle, L Stewart.
RBS East League Division 1
Hawick Linden 7 - 68 RHC Cougars
The Linden had come up against a very useful RHC Cougars team earlier in the season but on Saturday at Wilton Lodge Park the Barnton side had improved even further from that match in September.
With RHC playing a high tempo game with strong running, offloading and excellent support play, the home side were under the cosh for much of the match. They did however tackle like demons throughout and looked threatening on the few occasions they were able to gain good go forward ball.
There were 10 minutes on the clock when the visitors opened the scoring with a pushover try by their No. 8, the scrum being an area of dominance for RHC. By the 27th minute they had scored four converted tries to lead 28-0. At this point Blaine Willison, Craig Mitchell and Greg Bouglas entered the fray and this seemed to give the Linden a lift.
Just before half-time, following some good phase play, Kirk Ford dinked a kick behind the RHC defence which bounced up for the onrushing Greg Thomson whose offload found Graeme Anderson in support and the full-back stormed over from the 10 metre line for a great score converted by Ford.
The second period started badly for the Royal Blues as RHC scored after two minutes thanks to the scorer making a great pick-up off his toes and then a lineout catch and drive stretched the lead to 42-7. Following this the Linden enjoyed a good period of possession but were eventually turned over and RHC were clinical in scoring at the other end. Two late converted tries, the RHC kicker only missed one all day, completed the scoring.
Credit to the Linden who never faltered in their effort against a slick side who were not only physically bigger but also well conditioned. Greg Thomson stood out in defensive duties throwing himself into numerous tackles and Graeme Anderson showed how to put bigger men down by going low. The front row of Ryan Beattie, Bradley Mercer and Jordan White, making his first start, simply never gave in against bigger opponents.
Team: G Anderson, G Thomson, S Renwick, S Williams, C Gracie, K Ford, R Hamilton; R Beattie, B Mercer, J White, K Mabon, J Hogg, G Wardle, G Cunningham, S Fairbairn; Subs: C Mitchell, B Willison, G Baillie, G Bouglas.
Season 2012/2013 - scroll down for previous match reports
R B S East League Div 2
Ross High 8 Hawick Linden 36
This was Linden`s first game for 4 weeks and it showed in an rather ordinary and lethargic first half, against the bottom of the league team . Linden forwards struggled to gain possestion against a big and overweight pack who continually rumbled forward with the ball, keeping it tight, allied to the fact that they played uphill on a pitch with quite a slope.Kicking off with the slope ,early pressure by the home side kept Linden pinned back in own 22 ,Sean Goodfellow relieved the pressure with a couple of good clearance kicks . Remarkably it was Linden who took the lead . Quick pass by Stuart Campbell from a rather untidy line out to stand off Ryan Hamilton on to Steven Bouglas who released S Goodfellow on a powerfull run to line and touch down
Ross High replied with a penalty goal, A lovely cross kick by R Hamilton saw winger Greg Thomson impeded as tried to pick ball on run for line, which went unoticed by ref. Back on Linden`s line good work by S Bouglas and Blaine Willison foiled Ross High`s hopes of a try.
Indiscipline in the Linden ranks then talking back to ref led to a yellow card for Terry Skeet , and 20yds of lost ground, a lucky escape as an easy penalty went wide from in front of the posts. Half time and an edgy lead for Linden .
A stern half time team talk by coach Lee Stewart, change of personel and a shuffle of players did the trick . Almost from kick off ,on the attack ,great take by Sean Fairbairn at the line out, taken on by B Willison fed Craig Mitchell who sent center Stuart Williams at pace crashing over at posts to score, Barry Sutherland converted. From the kick off C Mitchell set off on 50yd galloping run though a memerised defence, pulled down, ball was won and B Willison strode majestically down the wing to touch down at corner,B Sutherland converted. An Linden committee man was overhead commenting `weve dun more in 10 minutes than in the first half`.
With Linden now in control ,scrum against the head, stand off B Sutherland long pass found S Bouglas unmarked and a strong run down the line to score,B Sutherland converted.With Linden backs now getting plenty of good possesion a powerfull scamper by S Goodfellow should have been a score if not a penalty try as G Thomson was in position to take scoring pass only to be pulled back by the jersey,once again went unoticed by ref, not Greg`s day. Powerfull brenge by forwards from poor line out saw winger Ben Gilchrist dive over in corner. Ross High replied with a forward`s rumble try. Just on full time good line this time second rower C Mitchell acting as stand off ,run open then pass to the blind for B Gilchrist to pick his second try. A very poor first half followed by a powerfull second half that just blew Ross High challenge away. For Linden center`s S Bouglas and S Goodfellow were in top form in attack and defence , R Hamilton had a solid first half,till replaced by B Sutherland who controlled with ease in second half, he was luckier ,Linden`s pack were in control. In the forwards K Mabon worked tirelessly,C Mitchell , G Cunningham and B Willison were the pick
Team N Murray G Thomson S Bouglas S Gooodfellow C Gracie R Hamilton S Campbell T Skeet C Turnbull K Mabon S Fairbairn C Mitchell B Willison G Cunningham G Colville S Williams B Sutherland B Gilchrist G Wardle W Davies S Harkness S Renwick
Hawick Linden v's Forrester RFC
The Linden knew nothing less than a victory was required to maintain their position as league leaders. Their hosts were undefeated at home and on a perfect day for rugby this always going to be a pulsating match and so it proved.
RBS Borders Regional Shield
Gala YM 51, Hawick Linden 6
On paper the same two teams were playing on consecutive weeks but in reality the sides lined up vastly different from the previous weeks League contest. The
The wider spaces of the main Netherdale pitch was to their liking with Gala 2nds curiously playing their match against West of Scotland on the traditional YM pitch. Interestingly, off fields matters were orchestrated for the YM by Gala 2nds coaches Chris Dalgleish and Ewan Johnstone.
Straight after this change, the YM scrum half took a quick tap penalty and shot off to put his winger in for his second try. An excellent scrum by the
When YM failed to roll away at the tackle, and were penalised 10 metres for protesting it could have been more, Renwick kicked his second penalty goal. Right from the restart, a poor
The second period couldnt have begun much worse for the visitors when Keith Mabon was yellow carded and YM touched down thrice in his absence, two converted, whilst Blair Irving, on as a replacement, retired with a recurrence of a knee injury. The
Perhaps a game
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, G Stirling, S Renwick, C Gracie, R Hamilton, S Campbell; J Gilchrist, S Harkness, R Beattie, K mabon, J Hogg, B Willison, G Cunningham, C Mitchell; Subs: T Skeet, B Irving, M Knight, J Scott.
RBS East League Division 2
Hawick Linden 44, Gala YM 3
Following their defeat at Trinity Accies a fortnight ago, the
The home backs always looked dangerous but took some time to exert themselves fully on the game. The
The second try couldnt have been simpler. As a scrum twisted near the YM line, scrum-half Ryan Hamilton found wing forward Gary Wardle looping round to speed over in the corner. As the first period moved into injury time some great play by the
The Linden were now looking for a vital bonus point try which took until the 23rd minute of the second half before it arrived. Replacement scrum-half Stuart Campbell found Hamilton, who had moved to stand-off, and his pass to Sean Goodfellow saw the strong running centre spin out of a tackle and go under the posts. Goodfellow converted his own try.
With time almost up, Thomson sped up the touchline and his kick ahead ricocheted kindly for Greg Bouglas to hack on and plunge over for his second try of the day and the Lindens seventh. Skeets conversion slipped narrowly wide.
Greg Thomson ran hard and defended well with Stuart Campbell looking like he had never been away. Ryan Hamilton showed his versatility proving a useful link at fly-half. The front row of Jamie Gilchrist, Chris Turnbull and Terry Skeet worked hard against experienced opponents with Ryan Beattie showing up well from the bench.
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, S Goodfellow, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; J Gilchrist, C Turnbull, T Skeet, K Mabon, S Fairbairn, G Wardle, B Willison, C Mitchell; Subs: G Bouglas, S Harkness, G Cunningham, R Beattie, S Campbell, B
RBS Borders Regional Shield
Hawick Linden 27, Hawick Harlequins 0
With both teams out of the running for qualification from their group in the RBS Borders Shield, it came as little surprise that the match took a while to get going. Even when it did, it didnt get much beyond second gear. There were fully 20 minutes on the clock before the Quins had the chance to open the scoring but Rory Andersons penalty attempt slipped wide.
Seven minutes from the interval the
Into the second period and a good counter ruck by the
With the visitors suffering injuries in their front row the game went to contested scrums. Soon after a neat Renwick grubber into the in-goal area saw Greg Thomson race on and dive for the ball as it neared the touchline but no try was awarded and the
Not a vintage performance from the
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, S Goodfellow, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; J Gilchrist, C Turnbull, T Skeet, K Mabon, S Fairbairn, B Willison, G Wardle, C Mitchell; Subs; S Harkness, M Kali, W Barker, R Beattie
RBS East League Division 2
Trinity Accies 18, Hawick Linden 10
It was the Linden who started the brighter playing some excellent structured phase play into the relatively stiff breeze but the organisation and tackling of Accies proved hard to break down. The visitors took their chance to spread play wide from a tap penalty but, having created space on the left, an inside pass was intercepted by the home right winger who had the pace to run in to the corner from his own half to strike a real hammer blow for the Royal Blues. The lead was stretched to eight points with a penalty goal when the
Soon after Sean Fairbairn was harshly sin-binned for what was deemed a deliberate knock-on when he tried to intercept a pass although no damage was done on the scoreboard during his absence. Sean Goodfellow burst into enemy territory to create real danger but when Steven Bouglas was tackled in the 22 the threat came to nothing. The visitors would have been satisfied with only an eight point deficit at the break but Accies struck a crucial blow right on half-time. A line out catch and drive was released to the backs and the Trinity full back ran a nice angle to slice through and go over at the posts and the conversion left the home side 15-0 ahead.
Turning round with the slight slope and wind in their favour the game was far from beyond the
The Accies stand-off who turned in a useful all round performance kicked a penalty to restore the 15 point lead. Substitutions were made by the
A disappointing result for the
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, S Goodfellow, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; J Gilchrist, C Turnbull, T Skeet, K Mabon, S Fairbairn, B Willison, J Hogg, C Mitchell; Subs: L Stewart, G Cunningham, R Beattie, M Knight, S Williams,
R B S East League 2
Lismore 18 Hawick Linden 62
In a high scoring game Linden proved to good for their city opponents running in 10 try`s in the process .Some sparkling running and passing overwhelmed their opponents who`s only answer to Linden`s attacking style was to tuck the ball up their jumper and roll forward, a real turn off for the rugby conessuir. This has become to prevalent in today`s game as teams with big heavy forwards rule ,to the detriment of their backs . In perfect coditions on a slightly soft pitch Linden got off to a sticky start ,Lismore took no time in showing of their tatics of the forward roll ,their reward a penalty in front of the posts.
This was the last time they threatened LInden, till they found themselves 45points down and Linden brought on subs. A yellow card against Linden was the catylist for them to wake up , a great run by Sean Goodfellow took play to Lismore ,good work from Sean Fairbairn and cross kick from Stuart Renwick saw Greg Thomson pick up and race in to score. converted by S Renwick. Good line out ball resulted in quick release of ball, out to center S Goodfellow dummy and inside break ,touch down at posts ,S Renwick coversion. From kick strong run by Terry Skeet supported by Keith Mabon and Jamie Gilchrist out to backs in came No8 Craig Mitchell at pace to power over. Try`s were coming quick and fast ,pressure on Lismore line,penalty in front of posts Quickly taken by S Renwick who danced over to score and convert. A brilliant solo effort next Gary Wardle robbing opponent of ball in own 22 raced through a demoralised defence to score.A yellow card against Lismore just before half time .
With the turn around their was no relief for 14 man Lismore, a sloppy kick into Linden`s 22 by the Lismore stand off was picked up by full back Nathan Murray who raced down the touch line, past a bedraggled defence to eventually score between posts, S Renwick converted. Pressure once more on Lismore line T Skeet drove forward out to S Fairbairn who drove through the defence to score, S Renwick converted. Changes to the Linden team plus they seemed to sit back as the game was well and truly won ,allowed the big Lismore forwards to drive forward and pick up a push over try. Back came LInden ball won by forwards along line to Steven Bouglas inside to S Goodfellow to score.S Renwick converted Back came Lismore with a roll by big forwards to score. Another couple of Yellow cards by ref, one to each side reduced both teams ,the ref seemed to be enjoying giving out cards. While Lismore concentrated on rolling the ball with their forwards , not Linden ,S Bouglas picked up loose ball to jink through the opposition defence and send in N Murray to score.Back came Lismore with a forward rumble to score. Linden had last laugh C Mitchell and Ryan Hamilton combined to set up S Renwick an outrageous dummy sent in Conor Gracie at corner to score.
A good solid victory for Linden, with G Thomson ,R Hamilton and S Goodfellow full of running,S Renwick pulling the strings at stand off. In the forwards T Skeet ,J Gilchrist and S Fairbairn to the fore with G Wardle outstanding in everything except his yellow card.
N Murray GThomson S Bouglas S Goodfellow C Gracie S Renwick R Hamilton T Skeet S Harkness J Gilchrist K Mabon S Fairbairn G Bouglas G Wardle C Michell R K Beattie K Murray M Knight B Sutherland G Cunningham L Stewart
RBS Borders Regional Shield
Hawick Linden 13, Duns 32
It was then the
Following some great play by the
The referee finally lost patience with the visitors ruck infringements and showed a yellow card for killing the ball. Sutherland kicked the penalty to bring the
A second Duns player was sent to the sin bin for slowing ball but the
Team: G Thomson, G Bouglas, S Bouglas, S Renwick, C Gracie, B Sutherland, R Hamilton; J Gilchrist, S Harkness, T Skeet, S Fairbairn, K Mabon, G Wardle, G Cunningham, B Willison; Subs: S Goodfellow, W Barker, R Beattie, M Knight
R B S Border League Shield
Berwick 21 Hawick Linden 8
Linden`s game went ahead with Berwick on a bitterly cold but sunny day at Scremerston with the pitch suprisingly soft considering the frosty weather. Linden went ahead with a Barry Sutherland penalty after Berwick backs conseeded when under pressure .Linden should really have went further ahead with another penalty right in front of posts ,it was quickly taken, Berwick did not retire the requisite 10 and play just fizeled out. Berwick began to get on the ascendancy with their forwards popping and bashing their way forward from one such move they went ahead with a converted try. Linden back on the attack were denied ,after a great run up the touch line by Conor Gracie who was pulled down just short of line .From the resultant play,Linden were awarded penalty in corner, quick thinking by Greg Cunningham say him dive over for try before the home side could get organised. B Sutherland hit post with conversion. Turning round 8-7 up Linden you could say were happy with the way things were going .
Second half was an uphill battle as they were continually battered back by the Berwick forwards and penalty`s as Berwick kicked three in sucesion. Though Linden were never out of game in second half they never realy got into it at all .With time running out ,calamity in defence say Berwick pick up an very easy try .
For Linden full back Greg Thomson was a pillar in defence putting in some crushing tackles,with Ryan Hamilton and Greg Bouglas in the backs to the fore, especially the latter when he moved to wing forward . In the forwards G Cunningham tackled like a tiger with J Gilchrist , C Mitchell and K Mabon
Team G Thomson C Gracie C Russell S Renwick G Bouglas B Sutherland R Hamilton T Skeet S Harkness J Gilchrist S Fairbairn K Mabon G Cunningham C Mitchell B Willison N Murray R Stitt M Knight RBS Borders Regional Shield
Hawick Linden 38, Earlston 20
Having met only four weeks earlier on League duty, Saturdays Borders Shield match followed a very similar pattern and ended with an almost identical scoreline. Once again the Linden managed to get ahead of the men from the Haugh but were continually pegged back and consequently were unable to stretch their lead on the scoreboard despite looking capable of doing so.
Following a line out in the 10th minute, Nathan Murray was brought down just short of the line but Graham Colville was in support to go plunge over with Barry Sutherland converting. Soon after, skipper Sutherland showed the ball and, with the visitors defence caught out by the dummy runners, slipped through and under the posts giving himself an easy conversion.
With the Royal Blues in command at this stage, they let Earlston back into the game. An intricate backs move following a line out looked like it was going well until a pass was intercepted by Sean Megahy on the Linden 10 metre line and he ran in for a try converted by Harry Eves. The Earlston stand-off then reduced the deficit to four with a penalty goal after the Linden were caught offside at a ruck.
The home team hit back when Ryan Hamilton took a quick tap penalty in the Earlston 22 and Stuart Renwicks neat grubber kick was pounced on by Sutherland for his second try. Right on half-time, a tap penalty on half-way saw Sutherland, Renwick, Sean Fairbairn and Steven Bouglas all involved and, when quick ball was moved left, Murray raced in at the corner to put the Linden 24-10 ahead at the break.
Earlston were first to score in the second half when their blind side flanker came up with the ball after a line out catch and drive. The Volunteer men won a line out, Steven Bouglas hit up and the ball was released to Sutherland. With another lovely dummy, the stand-off sliced through to secure his hat-trick of tries and added the conversion for good measure. However, once more Earlston came back and after a tap penalty it was their No. 6 who again went over from short range.
The Linden had the final word though when Sutherland threw out a lovely pass to put Greg Thomson in space who showed his pace and drew the last man to give Sean Goodfellow an easy run in. Sutherland converted to complete a personal haul of 23 points. He was well supported in the backs by Ryan Hamiltons slick service whilst Greg Thomson was full of running and Stuart Renwick slotted in well at centre. Props Chris Turnbull and Jamie Gilchrist put in a good shift against bigger opponents and the back row of Gary Wardle, Greg Cunningham and Graham Colville were always in the thick of things. An additional bonus was the return from injury of Blair Irving and Blaine Willison who both came off the bench.
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, S Renwick, C Gracie, B Sutherland, R Hamilton; C Turnbull, S Harkness, J Gilchrist, S Fairbairn, K Mabon, G Wardle, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: B Irving, B Willison, S Goodfellow, G Bouglas
Hawick Linden 59,
The Royal Blues were quickly on the scoreboard. From a tap penalty Steven Bouglas linked with Sean Fairbairn who in turn fed Greg Bouglas who went over for the first try. Soon after, Graham Colville drove on from a scrum and his excellent offload found Sean Goodfellow in support who had the pace to run in from half way. Stuart Renwick converted majestically from the touchline. From another srummage pick up, some good offloading led to Steven Bouglas bursting through the visitors defence on half way and rounded the full back to go under the posts and give Renwick an easy conversion to stretch the lead to 19-0 after only 12 minutes.
The Canadians were now tiring as the
Even the introduction of former
Team: N Murray, G Anderson, G Bouglas, S Bouglas, C Gracie, S Renwick, S Goodfellow; K Mabon, S Harkness, J Gilchrist, S Fairbairn, S Mabon, G Wardle, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: W Barker, M Knight, S Beattie, C Turnbull, L Lawrence, R Beattie, G Douglas
RBS Borders Regional Shield
Langholm 43, Hawick
It was a severely understrength
The unfamiliar line up took time to settle and before they knew it were 14 points down after only seven minutes. Failure by the
It took ten minutes for the Royal Blues to wake up and, when they did, produced a superb length of the field try. Skipper for the day Sean Fairbairn covered excellently showing composure to work away from his own line and link with Stuart Renwick. Fairbairn carried on for a second time and from the ruck in the
Four minutes later the scores were level. Williams charged down a Langholm kick and the
The visitors responded when Renwick landed a sweetly struck penalty but then suffered a blow when Bradley Mercer was stretchered off with a serious ankle injury. This forced a re-shuffle, centre Greg Bouglas moving into the forwards. With no further scoring the
The second period was a tougher affair as Royal Blue possession dried up and the Langholm forwards played with control. Three tries were scored by the home team, two converted to stretch the lead to 38-17. The
This was a great effort, especially in the first half, by a
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Williams, G Bouglas, C Gracie, S Renwick, S Goodfellow; C Turnbull, S Harkness, R Beattie, K Mabon, R Stitt, B Mercer, S Fairbairn, G Cunningham; Subs: S Beattie, G Stirling, M Knight, R Hamilton
RBS East League Division 2
Hawick Linden 38, Dalkeith 25
The home team were really putting things together and played through some lovely phases which eventually sucked in the Dalkeith defence but Sean Goodfellow couldnt hold on to what would have been a scoring pass. The visitors were penalised however and Sutherland took a quick tap to put Graham Colville over and Sutherland added the extras. They stretched their lead further as Sutherland made a dart, Goodfellow was involved and his pass found Thomson who had the pace to score. Sutherland converted majestically from out wide.
With the bonus point in the bag after only 26 minutes, and the Linden playing at a pace Dalkeith could not live with, it looked like a case of how many points could the home team rack up. However, the visitors had other ideas and were able to gain more possession, slow the game down and force the Royal Blues into giving away too many penalties. Just when the home team appeared to have soaked up a long period of pressure on their own line, Dalkeith eventually went over with the last play of the half and the conversion reduced the
The second period started badly for the
In some ways the Linden were at their best and worst, looking world beaters in space when playing the game at pace but making mistakes and giving penalties away when the visitors were in possession. Skipper Sutherland, well served by scrum half Rory Hamilton, got his backs moving well. Murray, Thomson and Steven Bouglas showed their paces in the backs and Stuart Williams had some powerful runs after coming off the bench. Keith Mabon worked hard up front and was well supported by Mercer, Wardle and Cunningham.
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, S Goodfellow, G Bouglas, B Sutherland, R Hamilton; K Mabon, B Mercer, T Skeet, B Keown, S Fairbairn, G Wardle, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: S Renwick, C Gracie, S Williams, J Gilchrist, S Harkness, J Scott
R B S East League Div 2
Earlston 23 Hawick Linden 38
In a most unusual start to any match after awarding a penalty to Earlston in first couple of minutes, which the kicker managed to miss . The referree ,indicated that a shout from the touchline could have caused him to miss it, stating he wanted it taken again, this time he converted. This is a new one for the Law book, International ref`s,take note
While this incident could have had an effect , it certainly didn`t put off the Linden, great move from Barry Sutherland and Terry Skeet took play to Earston line. While this move came to nothing , Linden pilled forward T Skeet was once again in the move taken on Jamie Scott to Gary Wardle lovely inside pass to Nathan Murray who finished it off in style. From inside own half, once again T Skeet with hands on ball out to G Wardle who absolutly blasted his way through the Earlston defence from the half way line to score. With time almost up a strong run by Sean Goodfellow took play to Earlston line,when held he cleverly turned and fed the inside to the ever present N Murray,B Sutherland converted. Inside injury time some rank bad tackling by Linden let Earlston back into game with a converted try.
With barely minutes into second half some more bad tackling allowed Earston to score in right hand corner, from a comfortable position Linden now had to step up a gear and thats what they did. Pick up by No8 Graeme Colville from scrum, inside to G Wardle who was tackled in the midst of catching it close to line. From resultant pressure B Sutherland kicked penalty,Earlston replied with penalty. Back on the attack on Earlston line ,panic in the defence and G Colville pludered to score at posts,B Sutherland converted. A great run through the opposing defence by N Murray was foiled as G Thomson under pressure failed to take almost certain scoring pass. Mid way through half, break by S Goodfellow on to T Skeet ,J Scott out to Sean Fairbairn inside to B Sutherland who dived over . Earlston trailing but not down replied with a nice try. With time running down B Sutherland kicked two late penalty`s to put the result byond doubt.
This was a cracker of a game some excellent handling from both sides, some cracking try`s, especially from the Linden. Even the introduction of all seven subs during the game from Linden did not disrupt play, Linden coaches will be well pleased.
For Linden N Murray was in cracking form, his pace on the ball was allways a worry for Earlston. Captain B Sutherland controlled the game knowing when to pass and when to kick, with G Bouglas and R Hamilton in good form. In the forwards, a superb effort from all ,I suppose it would be unfair to pick out one forward , but if one did it had to be Greg Cunningham
Team N Murray C Gracie S Bouglas S Goodfellow G Thomson B Sutherland R Hamilton K Mabon S Harkness T Skeet S Fairbairn J Scott G Cunningham G Wardle G Colville S Renwick B Mercer G Stirling G Bouglas C Turnbull B Gilchrist J Gilchrist
Match Report Courtesy of Billy Russell
R B S East League Div 2
Hawick Linden 51 Forrester 31
In an entertaining game and also a try feast at the Volunteer park on Saturday,13 try`s in total, Linden eventually ran out easy winners. Though this was not the case at half time with visitors Forrester leading 12-10. Linden`s lighter pack struggled to gain meaningfull possesion against a much heavier pack , though looking at the Forrester pack there was allways the thought that they would tire as the game went on and so it turned out.
With play pretty even a strong run to the line by Blair Irving who slipped and had to retire injured, with play resuming on the Forrester line ,forwards and backs combined,Craig Mitchell drove forward for Rory Hamilton to feed Stuart Renwick who skipped over to score. Forrester replied with a converted try. Midway through half Stuart Harkness drove forward ,taken on by forwards with Graeme Colville making a decisive break complete with chip kick which Greg Thomson picked up to race in and score. With backs to the wall Linden forwards were shunted over the line for a push over try by Forrester. Just on half time a lovely move by Keith Mabon and G Colville half the lenght of the field was snufled out by an desperate Forrester defence.
After the turn around it was a different Linden, coach Lee Stewart rejigged the backs with Greg Bouglas and Sean Goodfellow coming on and they made some difference 5 try`s between them. But first Forrester scored a converted try after some poor tackling by Linden. Barry Sutherland reduced the difference with a penalty. Then a real suprise Linden`s light pack shunted Forrester back in a scrum on their own line for No8 G Colville to pick up and drive over,B Sutherland converted. Forrester replied another try
With Linden on the attack and awarded penalty ,instead of taking kick at goal, confidence in their scrum was growing, ball won, pace of Nathan Murray left opposition stranded and the power of Sean Goodfellow finished of move ,B Sutherland converted.From the kick off fielded ball was hoisted up and under by B Sutherland the Forrester defence failed to secure ball and Greg Bouglas was up to collect as easy a score as he will get all season, B Sutherland converted
It was all Linden now with the Forrester forwards down to a walking pace ,Linden forwards supplying plenty ball which was whipped along the line for G Bouglas to scorch in at corner.Quick pen by B Sutherland in own half out to S Goodfellow who blasted his way through several tackles from 60yards to score . With changes to Linden pack concentration slipped for Forrester to score . Linden had last score as Terry Skeet burst through several flaling tackles out ot S Goodfellow to score , B Sutherland converted . For Linden in the forwards G Cunningham was perpetual motion, K Mabon,T Skeet , S Harkness and J Scott put in the hard graft. In the backs R Hamilton was a good link at scrum half, N Murray and G Thomson put in a power of running with super subs S Goodfellow and G Bouglas coming on and serving up the try`s.
Team N Murray G Thomson S Bouglas B Sutherland C Gracie S Renwick R Hamilton J Gilchrist S Harkness T Skeet K Mabon G Colville G Cunningham C Mitchell B Irving S Goodfellow G Bouglas B Mercer J Scott C Turnbull RK Beattie
Match Report Courtesy of Billy Russell
RBS East League Division 2
Gala YM 31, Hawick
The Linden were unlucky not to pull off a hard fought victory at Netherdale as Gala YM scored a late try to snatch the points. With Gala 2nds match against
The Royal Blues struggled to get into the game with the home team playing well and the
After half an hour some fantastic interplay took the
Linden managed to hold up a number of scrums near their line and when YM shipped the ball a dropped pass was hacked on by Sutherland and Murray, back on the field, with the latter winning the race to touch down. Sutherlands conversion put the visitors in the lead for the first time. Failure to secure the kick off allowed Gala to gain field position which ultimately led to a try in the corner. The
Once more the
It was a cruel end to a match the
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, B Sutherland, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; T Skeet, B Mercer, K Mabon, S Fairbairn, B Willison, G Wardle, G Cunningham, B Irving; Subs: S Harkness, J Gilchrist, C Turnbull, C Mitchell, RK Beattie, W Barker, R Stitt
RBS East League Division 2
Hawick Linden 12, Trinity Accies 12
There was much shaking of heads after the
The Royal Blues started well. From inside their own half Barry Sutherland, Greg Thomson and Steven Bouglas were all involved in some lovely running into the visitors 22. When the play was spread wide Blair Irving was well tackled into touch. Shortly after Thomson went off on a great run and was also well tackled when, had he been able to offload, the supporting Sutherland would surely have scored.
Trinity started to take control of the game aided by some mistakes and poor options from the home side. The
Having lost Lee Stewart to an ankle knock towards the end of the first half, replaced by Bradley Mercer, further changes were made at half-time as Stuart Williams and Jamie Gilchrist entered the fray. The second period didnt start well for the Royal Blues. After winning a line out, albeit with what didnt appear the straightest of throws, the Trinity stand-off showed his kicking class with a magnificent strike from around 40 metres to stretch his sides lead to 9-0.
From this point the
Five minutes later and
Gary Wardle and Graham Colville, both returning from injury, came on to provide fresh legs up front. Sutherland made a another break and found Williams in support who was tackled just short of the line. From the resulting scrum
With the clock ticking down, the visitors missed a couple of penalty chances before leveling the scores with their third drop goal despite the protests of Mercer who was impeded as he attempted a charge down. With the game moving into injury time Trinity were penalised and with advantage being played the
Quite how the
Team: G Thomson, N Murray, S Bouglas, B Sutherland, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; T Skeet, L Stewart, C Turnbull, S Fairbairn, K Mabon, W Barker, G Cunningham, B Irving; Subs: S Harkness, J Gilchrist, B Mercer, S Campbell, S Williams, G Wardle, G
RBS East League Division 2
Edinburgh Northern 32, Hawick Linden 48
With Edinburgh Northerns
The Royal Blues worked their way into the game and skipper Barry Sutherland stroked over a hat-trick of penalties to put his team into the lead. Following a number of breakdown offences the home No. 8 was sent to the sin bin but the
With the visitors scrum under huge pressure, Blair Irving did well to pick up and made a surging run from his own half into enemy territory but his offload couldnt find a support runner. He was forced from the field with an ankle injury shortly after to add to
Lindens front row received a welcome break as a fresh front three came on for the second half and it was the Lindens turn to start with a bang. Sean Fairbairn seized the kick off, Lee Stewart hit up and Steven Bouglas burst through and rounded the full back for a great score, Sutherland converting. An excellent kick chase by Greg Thomson forced a penalty which Sutherland slotted over. Northern replied with a penalty before Gavin Stirling had to leave the field with a head cut having made a tremendous tackle.
A home 22 drop out was fielded by Sean Goodfellow who took off on a superb run, side-stepping and bursting and twisting out of tackles to go surge over for a magnificent individual try which Sutherland converted. Will Barker and Chris Turnbull took ball on to suck in defenders and when moved wide, Terry Skeet, Greg Cunningham and Craig Mitchell handled with the latter touching down. The
A howler of a mistake allowed Northern a try in the corner and they showed excellent spirit to add a converted score not long after. Stewart and Fairbairn combined to provide lovely line out ball and slick handling put Stuart Campbell in at the corner. The home side had the final say with their powerful scrumming laying the foundation for a converted try which gave Northern a deserved bonus point.
All the front row deserve credit for working hard against heavier opponents, Greg Cunningham tackled everything that moved and Will Barker had his best game of the season. All the backs ran well with Sean Goodfellows powerful charges causing all sorts of problems.
Team: G Thomson, G Stirling, S Bouglas, B Sutherland, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; K Mabon, S Harkness, J Gilchrist, S Fairbairn, C Mitchell, W Barker, G Cunningham, B Irving; Subs; S Campbell, RK Beattie, C Turnbull, S Goodfellow, T Skeet, L Stewart
RBS East League Division 2
Hawick Linden 27, Lismore 14
The visiting forwards were a big and well drilled unit and began to take control of the ball but despite a long period of pressure the home defence held out. Sean Fairbairn made a surging break and showed great awareness to put in a cross field kick which, with a luckier bounce, may well have led to a score. After 26 minutes Greg Cunningham cleaned up well at a line out and when the ball was released to the backs, full back Thomson made a lovely intrusion into the line to make another great try as Greg Bouglas went over.
Lismore were back on the attack when a surging run by their No. 6, who had been forced into the backs by an injury, created the field position for the visiting tight head to drive over for a converted try. Shortly before the break Greg Bouglas was stretchered off with a leg injury to add to the
The second half saw the visiting pack take a stranglehold on the game nullifying the threat of the home backs who were denied any worthwhile possession. After defending for a long period the
However, the Royal Blues clinched the match and the bonus point with a spectacular try. With Lismore on the attack they prodded a kick behind the home defence which full-back Thomson picked up on his 22. Showing electrifying pace, he burst up the cricket field touchline, and outpaced all of the visiting cover for as fine an individual try as you are likely to see. Sutherlands conversion was the final score of the game.
Behind the scrum Ryan Hamilton gave a slick service allowing Stuart Renwick to bring his backs into the game with Thomson, Steven Bouglas and Gracie running well. The forwards were up against it in all areas but great credit to the front row who gave their all. Sean Fairbairn was a constant workhorse and Blair Irving made some surging runs.
Team: G Thomson, G Bouglas, S Bouglas, B Sutherland, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; K Mabon, B Mercer, C Turnbull, J Gilchrist, S Fairbairn, W Barker, G Cunningham, B Irving; Subs; B Willison, S Harkness, M Knight, S Campbell, RK Beattie, C Murray
RBS East League Division 2
Hawick Harlequins 6, Hawick Linden 18
Once they got hands on ball the
From a Quins tap penalty,
The Quins responded and, when the
Given their horrendous injury list, this was a pleasing performance from the
Team: G Thomson, G Bouglas, S Bouglas, B Sutherland, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; K Mabon, B Mercer, C Turnbull, S Fairbairn, B Willison, G Wardle, G Cunningham, B Irving; Subs; C Russell, M Butler, S Harkness, W Barker, S Williams, M Knight, G Anderson
R B S East League Div 2
Hawick Linden 58 Ross High 18
After observing a minutes silence for the passing away of former Captain ,President and Life member Viv Sharp ,Linden and Ross High went on a try scoring spree in an entertaining game at the Volunteer Park . With both teams running the ball on at will this proved a fitting testament to one of the most popular men who has graced the Linden colours.
Linden kicked off on the attack and were soon awarded a penalty which was converted by Barry Sutherland.From a poor clearance kick by Ross High ,Steven Bouglas picked up and made ground out to Stuart Renwick who found Keith Mabon steaming up on the wing to score. Linden now began to take control, good lineout ball from Blaine Willison ,quick ball ball from S Renwick to Steven Bouglas who out paced three defenders to touch down at posts,B Sutherland converted.With Linden camped on the Ross High line ,forward pressure proved to much and S Renwick picked up easy try as he side stepped in from two yards with B Sutherland converting. A period of pressure saw Ross High respond with first a penalty then a lovely try as their winger scorched in to score at corner. Back on the attack prop Terry Skeet caught the opposition napping when he took a quick penalty with S Bouglas inside pass to B Willison who was on hand to capitalise, touching down at posts,B Sutherland converted. Just on half time Ross High caught Linden napping with a try to make score 29-13 in Linden`s favour at the turn around. Almost from the kick off wing forward Greg Cunningham made a scintillating break through the middle of the Ross High defence to link up with S Bouglas who outpaced the flailing defence and touch down at posts ,B Sutherland converted. S Bouglas was having a field day,intercepting in his own half he outpaced the Ross High full back to just get the touch down in corner. Stuart Campbell who had just made entry from subs, bench, fielded poor clearance kick in the wing position beat his opposite number slipped and fell but managed to feed S Bouglas who ran in to score, B Sutherland converted. Ross High replied with a try. With the game well and truly won and time running down some glorious interpassing betwen forwards and backs and Blair Irving stormed in for a try. Just on time once again forwards and backs combined for Conor Gracie to score at corner. This a very good performance by Linden after last weeks defeat by Dalkeith, S Bouglas was full of running hence 4 try`s could have been more,Captain B Sutherland at the unacustemed position of scrum half showed a remarkable service , Greg Thomson was and ran with spirit.In the forwards K Mabon , T Skeet and Sean Fairbairn put in the hard graft and Greg Cunningham was outstanding in the loose.
G Thomson G Bouglas S Bouglas W Barker C Gracie S Renwick B Sutherland K Mabon S Harkness T Skeet B Willison S Fairbairn G Cunnningham C Telfer B Irving L Stewart B Mercer R Hamilton N Murray S Campbell C Turnbull R Stitt
Match Report Courtesy of Billy Russell
RBS East League Div 2
Dalkeith 28 Hawick Linden 3
Linden went down to a more expierenced Dalkeith side on Saturday. Playing with an helping cross wind first half which they realy did not use to their advantage, Linden found themselves down 12 points in as many minutes. Two early scores, the second almost gift had Linden on the back foot. From which they never realy recovered. Through the second quarter of the first half,Linden had Dalkeith under severe pressure at times ,a resolute home defence held firm and all they had to show for it was a Stuart Renwick penalty. Linden never got into the second half as the lighter Linden forwards struggled for possession and continually found themselves on the wrong side of the referree ` decision`s. In fact the ref, played 9 minutes injury time ,he must have been enjoying himself ,certainly the Linden wern`t. Not the result Linden were looking for ,but this should be looked on as a learning curve for a young Linden side.
G Thomson C Gracie S Bouglas G Anderson G Stirling S Renwick R Hamilton T Skeet B Mercer K Mabon B Willison S Fairbairn G Wardle G Cunningham G Colville W Barker C Turnbull S Harkness M Kali M Knight B Irving S Goodfellow
Match Report courtesy of Bill Russell
Hawick Linden 19, Annan 5
A thoroughly engrossing friendly at the
The visitors soon worked their way back up the field and were simply unable to unlock the home defence and resorted to a penalty kick at goal which was missed and run back with purpose by Steven Bouglas. The Royal Blues then hit Annan with a sucker punch to take the lead. Ryan Hamilton fielded a clearing kick and fed Craig Russell who made an excellent break, linked with Stuart Renwick who sold a lovely dummy before sending Graham Colville over. After another period of pressure, Annan finally managed to suck in the
Neat work at the front of the lineout between Fairbairn and Bradley Mercer led to Blair Irving taking a short ball and bursting through tackles and staying on his feet to score. Russell converted from wide out. Annan almost had the final word but the referee couldnt see what looked like a try.
An excellent performance from the
Team: G Thomson, G Bouglas, S Bouglas, W Barker, C Gracie, S Renwick, R Hamilton; T Skeet, B Mercer, K Mabon, S Fairbairn, B Willison, G Wardle, C Telfer, G Colville; Subs; C Russell, S Harkness, R Stitt, G Cunningham, C Turnbull, S Williams, B
Kelso 2nds 12 Hawick Linden 38
Linden started their season with well earned and comprehensive victory over their junior counterparts at Kelso on Saturday. With most of last seasons regulars back and a good sprinkling of young newcomers, Sean Fairbairn ,Rory Hamilton ,Will Barker, Bradley Mercer and Connor Gracie things look not to bad for the forthcoming season.
With play pretty evenly spread in opening exchanges ,a cracker of a try for Linden`s first of the season fowards winning ball in own half it sped quickly along the line ,Steven Bouglas made ground and released Nathan Murray witha superbly timed pass who sped 70yds to line.Stuart Renwick converted.A chip kick from S Renwick saw Steven Bouglas pounce to score. With it all Linden, good ball from Gary Wardle,who with Terry Skeet had been knocking holes in the Kelso defence ,S Bouglas fed N Murray for an easy try.Kelso replied with a try. Loose play on the Kelso line saw G Wardle rob the opposition set up Gavin Stirling for Graeme Colville to charge over line to score ,S Renwick converted. LInden on the charge a chip kick once again from S Renwick saw N Murray win the race to touch down.Then S Bouglas stole ball from opposition to round the defence and race in to touch down.G Stirling converted. Kelso had final word with a converted try. A great result for Linden S Bouglas ,N Murray and G Wardle in cracking from good solid perfomaces from the rest of the team especially the new young lads .
Team N Murray G Thomson S Bouglas S Williams C Gracie S Renwick G Stirling
T Skeet B Mercer K Mabon S Fairbairn B Willison G Wardle C Telfer G Colville G Bouglas G Cunningham R Hamilton M Knight C Mitchell W Barker
Season 2011/2012 - scroll down for previous match reports
The previous evenings successful Annual Dinner had an adverse effect on the
In their first tie the
Squad: T Skeet, B
John Laing Sevens
The Linden made their first ever appearance at the John Laing Sevens at Kelso on Tuesday evening.
They looked to be in control of their first round tie against Selkirk racing into a 12-0 lead. However, the Souters hit back and a harsh yellow card for Blaine Willison contributed to Selkirk drawing level and it took a late try from Steven Bouglas to see the Royal Blues through.
In the semi-final the Linden met a Jed VII who were vastly improved from their first round showing against Earlston. Another yellow card did not help the Linden s cause and they slumped to a 36-5 defeat. Jed were subsequently beaten by Kelso in the final which saw the home side triumph for the first time since 1990.
Youngsters Sean Fairbairn and Conor Gracie showed up well with Steven Bouglas running hard and Chris Telfer tackling like a demon.
Hawick Linden Sevens
Berwick won Hawick Linden Inagural Sevens for The Life Members Cup on Saturday defeating the home side Hawick Linden 36-- 24 in the final. Berwick scored first after breaking out from own half to go 7points up .Linden replied with a fine run by Craig Russell on to Nathan Murray who sent Greg Thomson in at posts,Barry Sutherland converted. Berwick replied with an unconverted try. Pressure on Berwick line saw N Murray dance over to score.With Linden looking like going ahead and camped on Berwick line possesion was lost and the Berwick scrum half ran the lenght of the field to score which was converted,this had a big bearing on the game as Linden looked a bit down after looking like taking the lead ,Berwick who had looked rather rattled ,this did wonders for their confidence. Halftime score 19-12 to Berwick. After the turn around Berwick gained the upper hand and some slack tackling allowed Berwick to score two more try`s ,one converted. A solo effort from own half by C Russell and galloping run by Graeme Colville brought Linden back into the game ,but not enough as time run out.
Presidents wife Moira Black presented the cup to Berwick captain also the Player of the Tournament award which she had donated herself to Linden`s Craig Russell for an outstanding display.
Previous resuts were in Round Robin format with winners of pools meeting runners up for final
Hawick Quins 22 Selkirk 32
Annan 5 Berwick 33
Hawick Quins 36 Annan 26
Selkirk 7 Berwick 17
Hawick Quins 7 Berwick 40
Selkirk 28 Annan 5
Hawick Linden 17 Kelso 14
Penicuik 7 North Berwick 26
Hawick Linden 40 Penicuik 5
Kelso 10 North Berwick 36
Hawick Linden 26 North Berwick 19
Kelso 28 Penicuik 5
Semi Finals Pool A Berwick 27 Pool B North Berwick 0
Pool B Hawick Linden 21 Pool A Selkirk 15
Final Berwick 36 Hawick Linden 24
R B S East League Div 1
Lismore RFC 8 Hawick Linden 26
Linden finished of their League campaign witha bonus point victory over bottom team Lismore, away in Edinburgh on Saturday. Playing against a blustery wind first half ,Linden conceeded a free kick immediatly after not retiring 10yds ,refferee awarded Lismore a penalty which was converted. This did not deter Linden who quickly took play to Lismore`s line . Good work by forwards ,Lismore conceeded penalty,quickly taken by flanker Craig Smith ,Stuart Renwick to Graeme Anderson who side stepped opponent to shoot in at posts for try,converted by Gavin Stirling. From kick off second row forward Scott Hinton was injured and had to leave field,this proved not to serious as he appeared later on the wing when S Renwick had to leave field . From resultant play big boot up field from stand off S Renwick took play to Lismore`s line .Eventually after some desperate defending by the home team and several scrums no8 Graeme Colville picked up and drove over at posts to score, G Stirling converted. Some slack play by Linden allowed Lismore to pick up an oppertunist try, half time 14-8 to Linden.
The second half was allmost all Linden but poor finishing let the visitors down repeatedly, midway through second half fullback Nathan Murray who`s speed had been causing Lismore a lot of problems,a lovely move by backs saw N Murray with ball, changing pace and angle of attack he left the home team defenders all at sea,to touch down in corner. After this Linden seemed to go to sleep and allowed Lismore more into game. With time running out and Linden on the attack, ball was lost, Lismore secured ball, but in attempting to run from own line pressure was to much for them and a droped pass allowed Steven Bouglas to pick up and race in at posts.
This victory allowed Linden to finish mid table . With the second part of regional reconstruction coming in next season. North Berwick`s game with Lismore next week will decide which League Linden play in next year.
For Linden N Murray was in top form,G Anderson and S Renwick also showed up well. In the forwards, S Harkness,T Skeet,G Cunningham and C Telfer were the pick.
Team N Murray S Campbell G Anderson S Bouglas G Stirling S Renwick L Robson S Harkness C Telfer T Skeet S Hinton C Mitchell G Cunningham C Smith G Colville C Turnbull J Scott M Knight
Match Report Courtesy of Bill Russell
Hawick Linden 39, Jed-Forest 2nds 11
A superb second half performance by the
Jed suffered a setback when their open side was stretchered off and, as the first half moved into injury time, Sean Fairbairn won a line out for the Royal Blues to go through several phases before Mitchell gave the scoring pass to Bouglas. There was still time for Jed to kick a penalty to reduce the
The home side started the second half just as they did the first. Bouglas made the break with
Jed finally exerted some pressure and their blind touched down from short range.
Up front there was some outstanding runs from Terry Skeet, Chris Telfer was a real buzz bomb before retiring injured and Sean Fairbairn had a great game. All the backs ran hard, continually looking dangerous, with Conor Gracie giving a sound performance.
RBS East League Div 1
Hawick Linden 10, Duns 20
It was a cruel end for the
Towards the end of the first half, Steven Harkness took a loud hit when being cleared out at a ruck. Play was allowed to continue even when the next ruck fell on the prostrate Harkness and another injured
There was then an amusing incident when, at a ruck near the
There were no stand-outs for the
Team: L Robson, G Thomson, N Murray, S Bouglas, S Renwick, G Stirling, S Goodfellow; C Turnbull, S Harkness, T Skeet, C Mitchell, B Willison, C Smith, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: S Campbell, J Tait, C Russell
RBS East League Div 1
Forrester 31, Hawick
After an excellent start at Forrester, playing through phases and hard running from forwards and backs, the
The second half started badly for the visitors as a missed tackle following a line out allowed the home centre to go over at the posts for another converted try. A harsh call for an early scrum engagement saw Forrester take advantage and their No.8 went over for converted try number three. The
Skeet and Craig Mitchell were prominent with their hard running up front, Telfer was putting in a great shift before his injury and his replacement Chris Turnbull showed up well. Greg Cunningham was a constant menace to the home side as was the hard running of centres Steven Bouglas and Craig Smith.
Team: L Robson, S Renwick, C Smith, S Bouglas, G Thomson, B Sutherland, S Campbell; T Skeet, C Telfer, S Harkness, B Willison, J Tait, C Mitchell, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: C Turnbull, M Knight
R B S East League Div 1
Hawick Linden 17, North Berwick 14
In a tense finish at the
A poor clearance kick from the
The second half was a great contest with each team having periods on top. What was perhaps the turning point of the game came when the
The home side continued to work hard for the score that would take them into the lead and it finally came with eight minutes remaining.
Although not as switched on as they might have been in the early part of the game, this was a display of real character from the
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, C Smith, S Renwick, B Sutherland, G Stirling; T Skeet, C Telfer, S Harkness, B Willison, J Tait, C Mitchell, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs:
Hawick Harlequins 40, Hawick Linden 3
It was a dismal start to the New Year for the
The home side took advantage when the ball popped out at a ruck in the
The Royal Blues started the second half well playing most of the game in the Quins half but perhaps unwisely ran a couple of kickable penalties as the home side escaped any additional punishment for four penalties in the red zone. When the
From this point the wheels came off the
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, C Smith, G Stirling, B Sutherland, L Robson; K Mabon, S Harkness, T Skeet, J Tait, B Willison, C Telfer, G Cunningham, G Wardle; Subs: M Knight, S Renwick, S Beattie, S Campbell, C Mitchell
RBS Border Shield Semi-Final
Hawick YM 58, Hawick
The gap in Leagues between the YM and
Gregor Welsh opened the YM account with a penalty and then converted a Bruce Campbell try. Wullie Blacklock came up with the ball after a line out catch and drive before
A missed tackle allowed Ali Weir to slip through for a try which he converted and he also added the extras to Blacklocks second score courtesy of an inside pass from
A tough day for the
Team: N Murray, C Graham, S Bouglas, B Irving, M Megahy, G Stirling, C Russell; K Mabon, S Harkness, T Skeet, C Mitchell, J Scott, G Wardle, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: B Law, L Robson, B Sutherland, J Tait
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 13, Portobello 10
With 15 minutes on the clock the Royal Blues got out of their own half for the first time in clinical fashion. Terry Skeet and Craig Mitchell made good ground to release Nathan Murray. The full-back managed to step out of a tackle and his pace allowed him to race in from half-way for his 11th try of the season. Gavin Stirling slotted the conversion. The lead didnt last long as a further period of Portobello pressure forced a missed tackle and a converted try brought the scores level. Just before the break the visitors kicked a penalty to put them three ahead at half-time.
With the cold wind and rain causing conditions to deteriorate the game became a war of attrition with both sides tackling doggedly making headway difficult. A Gavin Stirling penalty brought the scores level and four minutes later he had the chance to put the
As the pitch became softer and muddier the likelihood of scoring became more difficult. The
Craig Russell once again stood out putting his forwards on the front foot and Greg Thomson and Steven Bouglas showed great commitment in their running and tackling. The whole
Team: N Murray, G Thomson, S Bouglas, G Stirling, M Megahy, S Renwick, C Russell; K Mabon, C Telfer, T Skeet, B Law, M Davidson, C Mitchell, G Wardle, B Willison; Subs: C Graham, J Tait, B Irving
RBS East Region Division One
Ross High 24, Hawick Linden 33
A clearing kick from the home side was fielded by Nathan Murray who ran back strongly and set up a ruck. Russell darted straight through the middle and outran the cover to score at the corner. From turnover ball Craig Smith bumped off a would-be tackler and fed Steven Bouglas who powered through to score for
The second period saw the Royal Blues working hard into the wind but silly mistakes allowed the home side to continually send them right back to where they started. With five minutes of normal time remaining Ross High picked from a scrum and their centre scored a converted try to reduce the lead to seven and increase the
Deep into injury time the
Team: N Murray, C Graham, C Smith, S Bouglas, M Megahy, G Stirling, C Russell; B Keown, C Telfer, T Skeet, J Scott, B Willison, C Mitchell, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs: M Davidson, S Hinton, G Thomson
Match Report by Billy Russell
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 0,
Preston Lodge continued their domination of East League Division 1 with their ninth consecutive bonus point win as they convincingly defeated the
The home side made a good start winning back their own kick off and the backs making a positive handling thrust. However a chip kick was marked by Preston Lodge and from a quick tap and some excellent handling they went almost the length of the field to touch down with only a minute played. The Royal Blues responded with a Gavin Stirling penalty kick which agonisingly fell just under the cross bar.
From this point the visitors started to dominate the game three quick tries were scored, two of which were converted, before the Linden lost influential scrum-half Lyon Farmer with a leg injury. Preston Lodge touched down twice more before the break, one converted, to stretch their lead to 36-0.
The home side did well to work the ball away from a disrupted scrum on their own 22 and made good ground until the move broke down. When the referee stopped for the subsequent scrum, Skeet still lay motionless back in his own half. With professional medical attention required, common sense prevailed and proceedings were brought to a premature end with the full agreement of all involved.
Team: N Murray, M Megahy, G Stirling, C Smith, C Graham, S Renwick, L Farmer; K Mabon, C Telfer, T Skeet, C Mitchell, B Law, B
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 46, Lismore 17
From turnover ball on the
Lismore responded with an excellent converted try by their dangerous full-back. A loose clearance kick by the visitors landed towards the touchline and Steven Beattie showed deft footwork as he kicked on wide but was stopped short. Lismore turned over the ball but as they worked it back,
Team: L Robson, C Graham, N Murray, G Stirling, M Megahy, S Renwick, L Farmer; K Mabon, C Telfer, T Skeet, B Willison, B Law, K Brown, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs; G Thomson, S Beattie, B Gilchrist
Match Report Courtesy of Bill Russell
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 37, Forrester 34
A short ball from a ruck on the Forrester 10 metre line was spilled and Gavin Stirling picked up the loose ball to gratefully sprint in at the posts for Steven Beattie to convert. Only three minutes later Forrester were on the attack but once more they dropped ball and Nathan Murray hacked on from his own 22 all the way to the visiting line to put
Forrester kicked a penalty before the Royal Blues scored a beauty to secure the try bonus point. From a strong
Soon after the turn around, the
Unbelievably the game was far from over. The
Team: N Murray, S Beattie, G Stirling, G Richardson, M Megahy, J Farmer, L Farmer; K Mabon, C Telfer, T Skeet, B Willison, J Scott, C Mitchell, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs; J Tait, S Renwick, T Anderson
RBS East Region Division One
North Berwick 31, Hawick
Despite a couple of late call offs the
A penalty for the home side put them ahead and soon after added their second try. Another kick opened up the
Lee Robson replaced the injured Stuart Campbell just before
After a series of penalties against the
Gavin Stirling slotted in well at stand-off and was well served by Lyon Farmer. Greig Richardson tackled well as did the whole back row with Greg Cunningham doing the unseen chores at the breakdown.
Team: N Murray, M Megahy, S Bouglas, G
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 13, Berwick 25
After the pain of
It all started so well. In the third minute
Berwick hit back with a penalty when
Linden would have been disappointed to go in 10-3 ahead at the break but they now had to start the second half at 10-all with a man in the bin. Berwick struck early with a surging move and, although a forward pass was missed in the build up, the visitors hooker went over in the corner for a cracking score. Gavin Stirling responded with a penalty for the Royal Blues to reduce the gap to two points.
A frustrating outcome for the
Match Report Courtesy of Bill Russell
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 19, Ross High 16
After the beauty of last weeks victory it was a case of winning ugly for the
Without a recognised hooker the Royal Blues lost their own line out and Ross High capitalised as their winger went over in the corner. Following some excellent driving from the home forwards, Craig Smith went blind and Terry Skeets well-timed pass put Graham Colville over, Gavin Stirling converting. Straight from the kick off Jamie Scott made a fantastic break which almost led to a score however with the last kick of the first half Ross High put over a penalty to stretch their lead to 11-7.
The second half started as badly as the first for the
Captain Graham Colville became the third
With their shape adversely affected by injuries the
RBS East Region Division One
Hawick Linden 46, Trinity Accies 8
Nathan Murrays pace and elusive running was becoming an increasingly regular threat before he fielded a clearance kick in his own half, danced away from a couple of tackles and raced up the touchline for a fantastic score. Trinity hit back with a penalty goal but it was
The second half started perfectly for the Royal Blues as
Team: N Murray, C Graham, C Russell, G Richardson, S Beattie, S Renwick, S Campbell; K Mabon, C Telfer, T Skeet, R Beattie, B Keown, C Mitchell, G Cunningham, G Colville; Subs; J Scott, M Davidson, L Farmer
Hawick Harlequins 10, Hawick Linden 37
Following a clearance kick by the home side, the
Steven Beattie kicked a penalty to stretch the
Beattie added a penalty before the
Linden were well served by Steven Bouglas hard running with Nathan Murray always looking dangerous with ball in hand.Terry Skeet, Blain Willison and Gary Wardle put in a hard shift up front.
Team: N Murray,
Season 2010/2011 - scroll down for previous match reports
Scottish National League 3
Hawick Linden 27 Orkney 10
Mid-way through the half, the islanders equalised when Michael Graham was harshly deemed to have deliberately knocked on. The
The third quarter saw the Royal Blues on top as the visiting forwards tired but somehow the home side failed to score from a number of excellent scoring chances, poor passing letting them down. A try eventually came from a scrum 10 metres inside the
Stuart Campbell gave out a good service, Nathan Murray and Scott Peffers ran well and Stuart Renwick was sound at full-back apart from his attempted drop-goal which disturbed a few moles. The adaptable Greg Cunningham stuck in well at hooker, Barrie Keown, Craig Mitchell and Kevin Brown carried ball well, Craig Smith dominated the line-out and Ryan K. Beattie, making his debut from the bench, was solid in the scrum. The Volunteer clubrooms then reverberated to a good old sing-song with singers from both sides and when the visitors reluctantly left they were piped on their way by David Millar.
Team S Renwick, G Stirling, N Murray, S Bouglas, S Peffers, M Graham, S Campbell; K Mabon, G Cunningham, S Harkness, J Tait, B Keown, C Mitchell, C Smith, K Brown; Subs: R Stitt, R Scott, R K Beattie
Match Report Courtesy of Gary Alexander
Ross High 18 Hawick
For the second season in succession, a late try secured victory for the
Back came the home side and they scored from a short range scrum that looked to have wheeled round. The Ross High backs were caught offside and Colin Murrays penalty brought the game level at 8-all. A second penalty from
Playing down the slope Ross High started to dominate possession and a number of penalties meant the
Line out ball from Ross High was moved along the backs and their winger crossed in the corner. With time running out the home loose head became the third player sent-off as he was caught stamping on Mabon. Despite their man advantage, the
This was a
Portobello 12, Hawick Linden 0
Musselburgh 2nds 12, Hawick
Another leg injury meant Robert Stitt couldnt start the Musselburgh game. Against a very big pack the
Team R Lydon, S Bouglas, C Murray, M McCall, S Tennant, N Murray, G Stirling; R Norman, S Harkness, K Mabon, J Tait, R Stitt, G Cunningham, C Smith, C Mitchell
Hawick Harlequins 10 a side Competion