Hillhead/Jordanhill 32pts Kelso 22pts
In their first game at Hughenden since late November 2010, “Hills” overcame a combative Kelso side by two goals, three tries and one penalty goal to one goal and five penalty goals to record their first win in this season’s RBS Premier 2 competition. In poor overhead and greasy underfoot conditions, both teams worked hard to play attacking continuity rugby but the “Hills”, due to their dominance of the set scrummage, always had the upper hand in ball possession, even though there were times when their play was rather ragged.
The first half was evenly contested with Poynton and Twaddle exchanging early penalty goals, but Kelso were first to menace the gain line with their stand off Chester anxious to bring his powerful centres in the game. The Kelso no. 12, Robson, eventually broke through at the posts after clever inter-passing to allow Poynton an easy conversion to take his side ten points to three ahead after twenty minutes. But the second quarter belonged to the “Hills” whose front five began to exert fearsome pressure on their opposite numbers. This solid platform allowed “Hills” to play through several phases, causing Kelso to concede several breakdown penalties, but this was one of those days when Angus Twaddle’s direction finder was malfunctioning with the “Hills” no. 10 missing five consecutive goal kicks one of which was the conversion of Ally Wright’s first try when he pounced on Twaddle’s grubber just in the in-goal area. “Hills” soon recorded their second try when their lively scrum half, Haddon McPherson, broke blind from a ruck some 40 metres out to find empty prairie between him and the line to allow him to canter in for a try. Some carless and sloppy retention play by “Hills” from the Kelso kick off allowed the visitors to gain good territory, and some poor work at the resultant break down allowed Poynton to register his second successful penalty and tie the scores at thirteen all at half time.
Throughout the second period, “Hills” maintained a high work rate and intensity of play with second rower Jonny Agnew beginning to dominate the line outs and put in some stiring drives in the loose. A good probing kick to the corner from home stand-off Twaddle led to an early try on the right flank for Daniel Osugo, but “Hills” again allowed Kelso back in the game via the unerring boot of their full back Poynton who convertyed two penalty goals to take his side to nineteen points to eighteen ahead after sixty minutes. But urged on by their home support, “Hills” responded with some good running by Wright in the centre which allowed space for Stuart Howie to make a dash for the line to score. This touch down provided the “Hills” with their try bonus, and, on this occasion, Angus Twaddle reconnected with his kicking GPS to pilot the ball between the upright and take his side twenty five points to nineteen ahead with ten minutes left. But with Chester continuing to be dangerous even with a limited supply of usable ball, Kelso worked their way in to the “Hills” half to once again win a breakdown infringement and allow Poynton to convert his fifth penalty goal of the afternoon. The “Hills” responded to encouragement from their crowd, and Andrew Leslie, who had a quietly effective game on the left wing, bravely ran back a wayward Kelso kick through a shoal of visiting players to provide a focus for quick breakdown ball to be spun left for Ally Wright to power his way across the line for his own second and his side’s fifth try of the afternoon. Angus Twaddle converted, but there was little time left for Kelso to claw back any of the deficit, hard as they tried. “Hills” then broke their losing sequence on their first game back at Hughenden, and will be delighted with the quality of some of their play. Confidence levels will begin to build, and hopefully be maintained for the visit of Watsonians on the 15th . ; kick off 15.00 hours.
Hills” 1st XV – Stuart Howie, Daniel Osugo , David Paterson, Ally Wright, Andy Leslie ( James Byrne- Lynch ), Angus Twaddle, Haddon McPherson, Will Goulden ( Paul Sheerin) , Joe Stafford , Nick McAuley , Douglas Wood ( Matthew Bottarini ) , Jonny Agnew , Donald Pitkethly, Stuart Ross ( C ) and Douglas Crichton ( Douglas Grove ) . Subs - All used