Another Epic Adventure for the Reds
Biennial Twinning Trip to Guyancourt / Plaisir / Paris
Friday 24th to Monday 27th February 2023
Last weekend, a Linlithgow Rugby Club group made a biennial trip to France coinciding with the France v Scotland Guinness 6 Nations’ match in Paris on the Sunday. A combination of rail and air travel was employed by the various participants, with most of the players travelling by train on the Friday.
Plaisir XV 34 – 32 Linlithgow XV
Saturday 25 February 2023
Report by Des Martin
Arrived at the Plaisir municipal stadium, The Stade Robert Barran after being picked up by our French hosts Nicolas Closs, Antony Montes and others from the local station. The Linlithgow XV were looking forward eagerly to the game (well most of them anyway) although some had developed mysterious injuries from the previous days exuberance and social activities!
However a strong team took the park which included regulars and some guest players:
A strong front row of Calum McKeown, Adam Scott and Andrew Graham. Second rows of Neil Lockhart and Patrick Bennie and a back row of Lewis McKie, Fraser Mochrie and Duncan McClymont. Cammy Walker started at scrum half with John Strachan at stand-off. Centres of Aidan Rennison and the evergreen Stuart Chunk Cunningham. The back three were Shaun Lamb, Callum Miller and Ross Oliver.
Subs were Drew Sommerville, Robbie Thompson and Pierre Cloupet.
Team advisors, injured but full of useful strategic advice, were Euan Mochrie, Ross Martin and Dev Devlin.
The Manager Des Martin, bagman Baz McKeown, linesman Alastair MacLennan and a small but enthusiastic band including the president Jean McKeown made up the touring party.
The game started well for the Reds and after a good move down the right hand side of a very wide pitch. A line out was taken and Duncan McClymont scored the first try for the Reds. The Plaisir team came back with some strong play. The Reds were finding difficulty adapting with the new French rules which include no tackling above the waist, no double tackling or pushing after the ball is won in the scrum. An expert in scrummaging on the touch line agreed with the manager that these variations cut out certain skill sets. However these variations made the game fast flowing with lots of offloads and support play and Plaisir were the dominant team in the first half. The lead fluctuated between both sides and during this time Drew Sommerville, a replacement for Patrick Bennie scored two tries.
At half time replacements were introduced and Robbie Thomson came on at scrum half and Cammy Walker moved to the wing to replace Shaun Lamb who had twisted his ankle. Pierre Cloupet came on in second row for Lewis McKie. Aidan Rennison moved to stand-off and John Strachan to centre.
The Reds having got their second wind played the better rugby in the second half. The Reds scored nice tries through John Strachan under the posts, Cammy Walker on the wing and Chunk Cunningham was on the end of a nice chip through by Cammy Walker. However although we were in front for a small period of time, we could never totally dominate due to an abundance of yellow cards for supposed misdemeanours. When the final whistle blew the Reds had lost a tight game 34-32.
We all retired to the clubhouse where a very nice meal had been prepared by local volunteers. The usual pleasantries of thanking the teams took place with President Jean McKeown assisted by Captain Euan Mochrie gifting the cup and a bottle of whisky to Plaisir Rugby Club. Cammy Walker got the man of the match for Linlithgow.
After watching Ireland versus Italy the party went with the team to Versailles where, after a night’s festivities, they got the last train back to Paris. The following day, the party was treated to a cracking match at Stade de France with 7 tries and two red cards!
Thanks to everyone who came and took part and particularity to Calum McKeown who organised all the players. A good weekend was had by all.