Selkirk 36pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 27 pts
The stiff south-westerly breeze which blew down the Sunnyside pitch for the duration of this RBS premier 2 match set the scene for a “classic” game of two halves. It was Falkirk who took first use of the elements and they were quickly into their stride thanks to the work of their half backs, Mark Bruce and Jonny Hope, who ran the ball effectively at every opportunity, and also kicked well territorially. Such was the home team’s domination of the game that Falkirk had their fourth and bonus point try after only thirty-five minutes.
The “Hills” efforts had up till then been, at best, spasmodic with only Gus Twaddle and Ally Wright able to make any ground consistently; and it was these two players who combined to register the visitor’s first score. Twaddle, as usual, made good ground with a neat chip kick ahead which evaded the home defence, but when he was eventually stopped, outside centre Wright was on hand to burst through and score between the posts with Twaddle converting.
After hauling themselves back into the game, “Hills” then lost momentum when Joe Stafford was yellow carded for a ruck infringement. The half ended with Falkirk well on top at 29pts to 7 ahead.
Certainly, the shape of the game changed in the second half with “Hills” now enjoying the conditions, but their efforts were more laboured than those of their hosts, and they seemed to have to work harder for their scores. No. 8, Donald Pitkethly, who performed tirelessly throughout the eighty minutes, was first to score, driving over from close range with Twaddle converting. An offside penalty allowed Twaddle to take his side three points closer at 29-17, and then, with some ten minutes left, Joe Stafford stole round the blind side of a ruck to touchdown, but Twaddle’s conversion ricocheted off the upright. It seemed as if “Hills” momentum might be able to tie the scores, but on a rare incursion to the “Hills” twenty two, Falkirk benefitted from some sloppiness in the visitors’ defence to score a converted try, and take the game away from “Hills” with the score now at 36-22 for the home side. But the “Hills” showed commendable sprit and responded well to Twaddle’s leadership by once more driving deep into the home twenty two, where with the last move of the game, right winger, Daniel Osugo, scored his first national league try for the “Hills”. Unfortunately, Twaddle’s conversion went wide, and “Hills” had to settle for the consolation of just the four try bonus point with an additional losing bonus just denied.
On reflection, Falkirk’s domination of the opening quarter of the game left the visitors far too much catch-up rugby to play, and their try bonus was probably a fair reflection on what “Hills” deserved to take from the game. Their next fixture is away at Laigh Bent against Hamilton Bulls on Saturday the 17th with a 15.00 hours K.O. Certainly, they will need to be sharper in all facets of their game, and be much quicker out of the blocks to compete against the RBS Premier 2 table topping home side.
“Hills” 1st XV – Angus Twaddle ( Captain ) , Daniel Osugo , David Paterson, Ally Wright, Chris Butler, Stuart Howie, Haddon McPherson, Joe Stafford ( Blair McKenzie ), Corey Buchan ( Aiden McMillan ) , Will Goulden, Johnny Agnew , David Fisken , Donald Pitkethly, Douglas Wood and Douglas Crichton. Subs – Donald Robertson