Clinical Reds produce 12 try rout of Portobello
Linlithgow 78 – 5 Portobello
Saturday 4th February 2023
Report by David Mitchell
Portobello were the visitors to Mains Park on Saturday for a rearranged Tennents East League 1 fixture on a dull and increasingly wet afternoon. However the home side produced one of their most clinical performances of the season by running in 12 tries, virtually all of which came as a result of expansive play across the whole team by moving the ball wide and early.
The early exchanges were closely contested, but the Reds showed a good combination of direct running by the forward pack allied to excellent offloading and recycling to make regular inroads into the Portobello defence. This provided a solid platform for a regular supply of good ball and the team spotted quickly that spaces were available out wide and the backs stretched their opposition with mainly slick passing, good support running and well timed offloading.
The first try came after a typical Ross Plenderleith thrust through the middle of the visitors’ defence and as he was tackled, he managed a neat offload to Cammy Murrie who scooted in for the opening try which was converted by Jack Frame. Tries followed at regular intervals with the next coming after Ross Martin appeared in the back line and he linked with Kyle Ormond who delivered the final pass to Ruaridh Stewart who rounded his man to score wide out.
The home side continued to play in a very open style, allied to clean ball from scrum and line-out, and their 3rd try started in front of their own posts when the ball was moved wide quickly and Freddie Adcock made the breakthrough and he found Ruaridh Stewart steaming up on his outside and he gave a well timed inside pass to send full back Ross Tulloch over for an excellent length of the field score. Frame added the extra points to make it 19-0.
The next try followed a familiar pattern with slick handling getting the ball to Ruaridh Stewart who chipped the ball past the Portobello full back and then gathered it cleanly before passing inside to Freddie Adcock for another fine try.
There was still time for 2 more tries before half time as the Reds showed a hunger for more points. Firstly, after good work by Kyle Ormond, Fraser Mochrie and Andrew Graham, Cammy Murrie sent a beautifully delayed pass to captain Euan Mochrie who made ground before releasing Ross Tulloch to score under the posts. Frame added the extra points and with the last action of the 1st half, the Reds scored their 6th try. Freddie Adcock ignored a huge overlap and was tackled but retrieved the situation by offloading to Ross Plenderleith and from there, the ball went through Cammy Murrie and Freddie Adcock and finally Ruaridh Stewart cruised in for his 2nd try of the afternoon.
Half time score – Reds 38 Portobello 0
The 2nd half followed the same pattern as the home side continued to play an expansive and fast moving game. All credit to Portobello who took a similar stance and they tried to run the ball from all parts of the pitch despite their score line deficit. Freddie Adcock scored the opening try of the half after Jack Frame put Ross Martin through a gap and he found Stuart Cunningham roaring up outside and he unselfishly passed to Freddie even although he probably could have scored himself. The home side rang the changes as the half went on with all of the replacements getting game time.
Portobello’s efforts were rewarded when their 2nd row forward intercepted the ball at a line-out and ran 20 metres to score in the corner. The Reds responded with another try when a Portobello passing move broke down in their own 22 metre area and Gregor McLean collected the ball and showed great patience and awareness before sending a well timed pass to Ruaridh Stewart who completed his hat trick of tries. He then added his own 4th try of the day when after a quick tap penalty the ball was moved right to send him in at the corner.
By this time the flood gates had opened and the next try came after a lung bursting run by Stuart Cunningham was halted just short of the line but he managed to find Eioan Magee who made a great effort to support Stuart’s run and was rewarded with a try. The 11th try came after another good passing move and then a chip ahead by Jack Frame which Ross Tulloch managed to touch down for what he thought was his hat trick try. Unfortunately the referee had already awarded a penalty try for an early tackle on Ross just before he touched the ball down.
The final try was another long distance effort started by a nice cross kick from Gregor McLean which was fielded by Ruaridh Stewart and he made ground up the right wing before passing to Andrew Graham who in turn found Euan Mochrie and he strolled over for the final try of the afternoon. Jack Frame added conversions to 4 of the 6 second half tries.
Final score – Linlithgow Reds 78 Portobello 5
Overall this was a very good performance from the Reds with excellent work in the forward pack at set piece and in loose play. The backs passed the ball with speed and width with only a few passes going to ground in the first half. The kicking game was effective as was the decision making and the early recognition of space out wide initiated many of the tries. The overall tackling was sound and as usual the goal line defence was effective. One of the most encouraging features was that this was an 80 minute performance which has not always been the case this season. The coaches and players take a lot of credit for this performance which sets them up well for the rest of the campaign.
Next week we welcome the visitors from Furnace United in Wales for the annual game. The game will be on Friday night under lights at Lower Mains Park with a 7pm kick off.
Ross Tulloch; Ross Plenderleith, Aidan Rennison, Freddie Adcock, Ruaridh Stewart; Jack Frame, Cammy Murrie; Andrew Graham, Kyle Ormond, Colin Devlin; Fraser Mochrie, Neil Lockhart; Ross Martin, Jamie Tulloch and Euan Mochrie (c).
Stuart Cunningham, Kieran Cochrane, Eioan Magee and Gregor McLean.