Peebles 19pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 19pts
At the end of this Premier C game which had many twists and turns, a “share of the points” provided both clubs with something to take away from this fixture, played before a smallish crowd on a lovely early Spring afternoon. Peebles dominated the middle part of the game, being good value for their 12 points to nil lead after fifty five minutes, but thereafter “Hills” rescued their season, producing a nineteen points to twelve turnaround in the score, only to be pipped by a Peebles try and conversion in the final move of the game.
The first half was notable for some early “Hills” pressure, but also failure to covert clear chances into points when close to the Peebles try line. An early run by Danny Ozugo and a resultant grubber kick caused panic in the home defence , but the outcome of the resultant five metre driving scrum was wasted. Failure to benefit from a clear overlap when attacking out wide also put pressure on the early performance, and the home team benefitted from these let-offs by imposing their personality on the game. Impressive recycling and continuity rugby, orchestrated by Warnock with some choice offloads, finally weakened the resolute “Hills” defence with Hogarth and Walsh scoring close range tries with one converted.
Injuries and tactical substitutions provide a catalyst, however, for the “Hills” impressive turnaround after half time with some “old faces“ returning to the field : 1st XV captain, Stuart Ross, having his first competitive outing since October with Robbie Williamson and David Mitchell, teaming up in the centre. Inexorably, the game began to slip away from the home side. First of all, the irrepressible Haddon McPherson ran a long diagonal to score wide out right ; then Joe Stafford was at the heart of a rolling maul which moved fully forty metres before flopping over the line; and finally Douglas Wood scored from close range. Andy Leslie converted try nos. 2 and 3. But the home team rallied, and with the “Hills” reduced to fourteen with a sin binning, Warnock crossed close enough to the posts and his try was converted to produce a draw. As there was little to separate the sides, this was a fair result. Mention must be made in what was a good “Hills” team performance of the role of Paul Sheerin, who put in a full shift on the loose head berth. This was a fine example of the dedication of a club man who first played in “Hills” 1st XV in 1997, aged in his “late 20’s”.
“Hills” penultimate Premier C game is at Hughenden on Saturday the 24th March vs Biggar a 14.00 hours kick-off. The early start is to accommodate arrangements for the Club Dinner later that evening. The date for the final home game of the 2011/2012 Season vs Selkirk is either the 7th or 8th April. This will be confirmed soon.
Hills” 1st XV – Stuart Howie, Daniel Ozugo, Chris Butler ( Robbie Williamson ) , Will Marshall ( David Mitchell ) , Andy Leslie , Harry Boyd ( Will Marshall ) , Haddon McPherson ,Paul Sheerin , Corey Buchan , Joe Stafford , Douglas Wood , Jonny Agnew , Douglas Grove ( Stuart Ross ) , Donald Pitkethly and Douglas Crichton Subs Aiden McMillan