Reds v Furnace (Feb 23)

A Game of Two Disjointed Halves!

Linlithgow XV 24 – 19 Furnace United XV

Friday 10 February 2023

Report by David Mitchell

The Nobby Goggins Cup was the prize for the winners of the annual match with Furnace United from West Wales played at Lower Mains Park under lights last Friday. The visitors made the long journey to Scotland during Friday and arrived fresh and ready to play. But seriously, the Furnace lads were poured off the bus and readied themselves to face a combined 1st and 2nd XV team from the host club.

This was a game of 2 halves i.e. disjointed and then very disjointed! The home side dominated possession and territory in the 1st half and 4 tries and 2 conversions gave them a healthy 24-0 lead at the break. The Reds tries came from Eioan Magee, Connor Findlay, Ewan Edwards and Ross Tulloch with 2 conversions by Jack Frame. Both teams deployed many substitutes during the game with a regular conveyor belt moving the Furnace lads on and off the field giving their 25 man squad some game time.

The second half was very forgettable with little or no real cohesive play from either side and with handling mistakes and injury breaks to the fore. All credit to the Welsh warriors as they managed to plunder 3 tries and 2 conversions in the 2nd half to make a the final score closer than it should have been if the home team had exercised even a small amount of control during the half.

Final score – 24-19

The Linlithgow Select before the match

There were encouraging signs for the future for the home team with excellent contributions for the young guns in the team with Ewan Edwards, Connor Findlay and Archie Rusack all producing good performances to outshine their more experienced teammates.

On a less encouraging note, the game was marred by several instances of indiscipline from the visitors and the referee was forced to take a strict view of this as the game went on and led to several yellow cards and a red card for a Furnace player. This partly spoiled what should have been either a properly contested 1st XV match or a more relaxed tour fixture, but this was neither one nor the other and the referee was subjected to verbal abuse and serious dissent from some of the visiting players and had to act decisively which he did. This however disrupted any chance of some decent rugby due to the stop start nature of the last 20 minutes in particular.

Serious consideration needs to be given as to the future of such fixtures i.e. should they be serious 1st XV games or should they be fun with Barbarian style rugby. The tradition of touring has been with us in Linlithgow for 40 years and the Welsh connection has been with us via Pontyates and now Furnace United since 1973. It would be good to see the spirit of the early days of touring returning to the field of play as well as in the bar. 

Some Match Photos

Courtesy of Graham Black

Ross Tulloch adds the Reds’ fourth try
Aiden Rennison makes a fine break
Every team has one!
The players were treated to an impromptu ‘sumo wrestling’ demonstration mid match!
Two teams after the game