1 week ago
By Ryan Townsley
Glens impress on their travels
Glenrothes league travels took them to Tillicoultry on Saturday to face a Hillfoots team who traditionally have a robust approach to the game. With a number of changes in the team, the Glens knew they were in for a demanding afternoon and so it proved to be.
In fact the Reds got off to the best possible start, winning clean lineout ball on the right of the pitch and moving the ball across the back line to Shaun Gray. As he was tackled, he off-loaded to Rhys Bryce and the winger touched down in the corner. Gray’s conversion was unsuccessful.
Things got even better as Daryl Warrender soared to take another lineout ball in the Hillfoots 22m area. A maul was set up but the home team halted its progress and Russell Grieve was forced to take the ball on himself. He darted through the defence and ran round to score a try near the posts. Gray converted.
Having given Glenrothes a 12 point start, Hillfoots began to exert a little more pressure on their guests. A wave of attacks were launched, predominantly down the left wing, but the Glens stood firm. Glenrothes continued to look dangerous with ball in hand but the home defence was proving more difficult to breach than in the early phases of the game. Hillfoots fullback, Grant Carmichael was forced from the field with what looked to be a serious shoulder injury as he helped to foil a Glens attack. The home forwards were providing the most problems for the Reds with ground being made with a series of picks and drives. As half time approached this tactic proved successful and, two phases after a penalty in the Reds 22m area, a trio of home forwards drove over the line in the left corner to open their scoring.
A jinking run from Gray followed by a forceful advance by Ross Hutchison almost set Chris Docherty up for a score in the corner but the flanker stepped inside and the defence closed in on him. Warrender and Callum May both came close but were stopped on the line, the latter however earning a penalty as the defenders failed to roll away after tackling him. From in front of the posts, Gray made no mistake and despite more pressure down the Hillfoots left wing, the score remained at 15-5 until the interval.
Hillfoots opened the second half with a try from their first attack. They earned a lineout 5m from the goal line, set up a maul and when this stalled, flanker Mark Hunter took the ball and dived over in the right corner. Euan Jamieson converted.
Having closed to within three points of the Glens, Hillfoots piled on the pressure and their guests did well to stand up to them. A brief altercation in midfield brought a halt to play and referee Willie Murray spoke to both captains, but took no further action. Hillfoots forced a penalty near the Glens uprights and opted for a scrum. At the first time of asking the Red forwards managed to get a bit of a nudge on, but the scrum wheeled and was reset. This time the home forwards did their job and as the scrum marched towards the Glens line, a defender dived into the scrum giving Mr Murray little option but to award a penalty try, putting the Tillicoultry men in the lead for the first time in the game.
The lead should have been extended when a Glens attack ground to a halt and Rhys Bryce was isolated fielding the clearance kick. Hillfoots attackers were quickly round Bryce but managed to knock on with the line beckoning. Then a clever kick by Jamieson into the left corner looked to present winger Ross Kinnear with an easy run in but unfortunately he had strayed offside before the ball was kicked.
After these let offs, it was perhaps inevitable that Glenrothes would regain the lead and Bryce was the man to do so when he charged down a clearance deep in opposition territory. He reacted quickest to the bouncing ball and dived over in the left corner.
A one point lead was stretched to four when a penalty was conceded for not rolling away after a tackle on the Hillfoots 22m line. Gray made no mistake with the kick and the Glens held on until the final whistle to record a hard fought 19-23 victory
This is one of the few games where the Glenrothes forwards have found themselves under pressure at scrum time. With the lineout disrupted by a strong wind and home forwards at least enjoying parity in loose play the Reds did well to escape from Tillicoultry with a win. Gray who was always dangerous when in possession and solid in defence was declared man of the match though Bryce must have been a serious contender for this accolade.
Next weekend kick off times move to 2pm with the 1st XV away to Aberdeen Wanderers to start the second half of the league programme. The 2nd XV, who were unable to raise a team on Saturday, entertain Montrose and District looking to reverse their heavy defeat in September.
Updated 19:24 - 5 Nov 2018 by Ryan Townsley