1st XV - Report
|Preston Lodge||14||vs||13||Portobello FP|
A Game of Two Halves but PL Come Good in the End
Preston Lodge returned to action on Saturday for the first time in 2013 and despite a shaky start, they soon got themselves back on track to secure the points and make sure that they maintain pressure on league leaders Livingston.
A further six points from two penalties would be added before the break as PL didn’t help themselves with some sloppy play and failure to retain the ball and it took a great tackle from Raymond Mackie and excellent work on his own try line by Blair Robertson, to save two certain tries which would have put Potobello out of sight.
Whatever was said at half time though, obviously did the trick as it was a completely different PL side that emerged, or at least it was the same PL side with a completely different attitude. Probably 39 of the next 40 minutes would be played in the Portobello half and right from the kick off it was evident that PL believed they could peg back the Porty lead. Captain Blair Cowan was to the fore as he called for support to help drive him towards the line in the first minute but it wasn’t going to be easy and patience would be the key to unlocking a very solid Portobello defence. The reward came in the 10th minute of the half as the forwards put in a good shift to drive to the line through several phases and Greg Kinross and Paul Glynn did their best to break through before Archer, Cowan and Robertson were all involved to help create an opening which Patterson seized and slipped through for en excellent try under the posts. He converted it himself and PL were back in the game at 7-13.
PL’s new young prop, Munro Third came on for a taste of the action and acquitted himself well in his first match at this level and he was part of a pack that was now dominant in the loose. Once again they set up excellent field position and even got the ball across the line on two occasions but referee Ian Clark judged that they were held up each time. In the 19th minute, Patterson had a chance to narrow the gap with a penalty from the 22 but his kick drifted just wide and when another penalty was quickly taken by the ever alert Kinross a few minutes later, it seemed certain that Chris Dixon would score but he too was held up by the excellent Portobello defence.
As time wore on, it looked like PL’s efforts may be thwarted as the conditions started to prevent any fast moves and it was difficult for the likes of Paul Voy and Bruce Stoddart to build any momentum that would breach the defence. They refused to give up though and in the 38th minute, the second, vital try was eventually scored. As had happened previously, it took a steady and patient build up inside the 22 with the forwards having to work hard on the ground to keep possession. Then, after several phases close to the line, and with the referee playing advantage for a penalty, Andrew Clark had a go for the line and committed Portobello full back Chris Thomas to the tackle. But the PL stand off was too clever and a neat wee pass found Raymond Mackie on the charge and he was unstoppable as he burst through the gap to score near the posts. Patterson added the two points and PL had the lead for the first time in the match.
There was still time to play and Portobello seemed determined that they could mount an attack from the restart but PL’s organisation was much improved and they quickly got the ball out of the danger zone and played out time quite comfortably.
This had been quite a test of character for PL but they came through it with flying colours in the end and the narrow 14-13 win was much deserved.
Next week, they play Ross High in the District Shield which also doubles up as the annual Billy McNeil Trophy match between the sides. The kick off is at 1.30pm to allow time for the match before the England v Scotland 6 Nations showdown at 4pm.
Preston Lodge Team:
G Patterson, B Robertson, G Kinross, P Glynn, L King, A Clark, W Easton
K Duncan, R Mackie, S McLean, B Cowan, B Stoddart, A Archer, C Dixon, P Voy
J Brash, M Third, P Johnstone, J Sked