Hillhead/Jordanhill 18 pts Falkirk 3 pts
In the first of the seven Premier C games which remain of the 2011-2012 season, “Hills” defeated Falkirk in a closely contested match by one goal, one try and two penalty goals to one penalty goal to provide some good momentum to their campaign to stay a Premier Club. The opening exchanges were all, however, with the visitors and their half backs, Bruce and Russell, who with their clever switches of play and running angles caused the “Hills” defence many problems. It was no surprise then when the visitors opened the scoring with a penalty goal from full back Hope. It was the spirit and commitment, however, of the “Hills” team which kept them in the game, and allowed them to maul their way upfield into the Falkirk half where, from broken play, a clever open field kick from stand off McCulloch almost led to a try for left winger, Andy Leslie. But the “Hills” opening score was not long delayed, and came initially from a crossfield passing move which was suddenly transformed by a change of pace and direction from Chris Butler who, although tackled just short of the try line, offloaded to the supporting Douglas Grove for a fine try to which Andy Leslie added the goal points. This ignited the “Hills”, and bursts from Haddon McPherson at scrum half and bulldozing runs from both Joe Stafford and Nick McAuley kept the Falkirk team pinned back. Even though “Hills” were reduced temporarily to fourteen with the sin binning of tight head prop, McAuley, their scrum was not pressurised and Andy Leslie added two penalty goals during some sustained attacks during which Falkirk lost a man to the sun bin. Half time was reached with “Hills” thirteen points to three ahead.
The second half was full of endeavour, “hard yards” rugby , pile –ups on both try lines but precious few line breaks, despite the best intentions of both stand-offs who were constantly looking for attacking opportunities. The only score of the second half came from an opportunistic kick through from McPherson which allowed Daniel Ozugo to harry his opposite man. Somehow from the ensuing ruck, the ball broke kindly for Cameron McCulloch to pick up and touch down for a try which took his side eighteen points to three ahead with only fifteen minutes left. This period of time seemed like an eternity for the home support, as a revitalised Falkirk raised their game to the intensity they showed in the opening quarter of the game. The visitors will with hindsight rue their decision to opt to run the ball on at least three occasions rather than kick their penalty goals, but all the Falkirk efforts foundered on a resolute “Hills” defence which for ten minutes was shorn of their dependable no. 8, Donald Pitkethly. another sin bin victim. The “Hills” held out, and thereby denied their opponents a losing bonus point, which, on the balance of play and territory, they had deserved.
“Hills” next game in Premier C is at Whitecraigs on the 28th January, but before then they contest the quarter final of the West Regional cup against Glasgow Hawks at Old Anniesland on the 21st, kick-off time to be confirmed.
Hills” 1st XV – Stuart Howie, Daniel Osugo , Chris Butler , Will Marshall ( David Mitchell ) , Andy Leslie , Cameron McCulloch ( Will Marshall ) , Haddon McPherson, Will Goulden, Joe Stafford ( C ) ( Corey Buchan ) , Nick McAuley, Jonny Agnew, Donald Pitkethly ( Chris Tulloch ) , Douglas Grove, Douglas Wood ( David Fisken ) and Douglas Crichton . Subs All used