1st XV - Report
Strathie Unable To Climb The Hill In The Second Half
Twas the twelfth day of January, the 13th league game of the season, kick off time scheduled for the 14th hour, and 15 Strathie men -fresh from humbling the mighty shire- ready for battle.
The Home side came back into the game with a penalty of their own, as they drew level on 25 minutes thanks to a well struck penalty. 3-3. This was followed by a chance for the home winger to score in the corner but Rory Ferguson stopped him with a textbook tackle. Hillfoots were unable to take hold of the game as Strathmore got back into their stride within minutes of losing the lead. Stewart Ross once again firing the ball between the posts from the kicking tee after a penalty was awarded to the visitors due to home indiscipline. Jamie Wilson and Lee Alexander both had opportunities but there was no way through for the two powering forwards. With half time approaching Strathmore would have liked to have been (and deserved to be) a few scores clear, however it wasn’t to be. Strathmore entered half time with a 6-3 lead - the score at this point not reflecting the game.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first. Stuart Gray swatted off several tackles before being stopped midway inside the ‘foots half, the ball was the quickly recycled for back rowers Bruce Morrice, Colin Bell and Calum Nicol to off load between themselves and carry- creating further ground and keeping the visitors on the front foot. The backs were then given freedom with the ball in hand, and very nearly scored the first try of the day as Fraser McKay linked with Connor Blackmore, but the young fullback was stopped short of scoring. Stewart Ross once again kicked over another penalty as the hosts lost a man to the bin for persistent infringements. However Hillfoots were then to stun the visitors with 2 quick tries, both of which saw the ‘foots player run half the length of the pitch to score. And minutes later, a further penalty put the home side 21-9 ahead.
The final 20 minutes saw Strathmore pile on the pressure in search of another last gasp victory. Glenn Feighan and Tim Malkowski both tried to make breaks but were stopped by the defensive effort of the home team. With Hillfoots now starting to defend like beavers, wave after wave of Strathie pressure couldn’t break through the ‘dam’ defence. Substitute Ewen Hart made a break for the line, but was upended by a Hillfoots forward. From the resultant ruck, Stuart Gray crashed his way through- but was held up short of the line. The last play of the game saw Stewart Ross pass inside to David Smith who was once again thwarted by the defence as he attempted the sublime.
Full Time, Hillfoots 21 Strathmore 9
A frustrating afternoon for the Forfar side, who had hoped to come away with so much more than they eventually did. All focus now goes to next weekend’s trip to Mackie.
Man of the match – for the second week running- Rory Ferguson.
Match report by Ewen Hart