Young Reds v Dollar (Feb 23)

Young Reds Rise to Challenge of Dollar!

Saturday 18 February 2023

The Young Reds’ age group teams stepped up to the challenge of matches against Dollar Academy. Good performances all round and excellent wins for the Young Reds S2s (43-15 at home) and the U16s (33-19 away).

Sterling Performance by Young Reds S2s against Dollar!

Linlithgow 43 – 15 Dollar Academy

Report by Malcolm Dunn 

Following a good run of steadily improving performances from the Young Reds, today was a fixture we knew would be a considerable step up and a chance to test ourselves against Dollar.

Slightly disappointingly the heavens had opened during the night and the pitch recently spiked, meant the conditions were very wet and slippy but we were still very fortunate to be able to use the first team pitch.

Dollar arrived with what seemed like an army as they just kept coming off the bus! The boys warmed up well but were grateful to retreat to the changing room for the team talk as the drizzle was relentless…

So came the KO, the Reds kicked off and Dollar received gratefully and despite the conditions put several phases together and started to show they were a strong running skilful outfit. For several minutes they gradually pressed up the park but just as our fierce early tackling looked like it might be under duress, Thomas skillfully picked off an interception and looked like he was in ( I was running off to get the kicking tee) but through some dramatic scrambling Dollar got back. It was though enough to allow us to put pressure back on Dollar in their 22.  The Reds were able to put a few phases together before Duncan powerfully broke through and Rory added the extras 7-0.

There was no way this was going to subdue Dollar and they came again through some strong and swift beasts and looked like they might break the line a few times. Indeed the defense was awesome with the Reds holding Dollar up twice on the line. With 15 mins gone it was shaping up to be a huge battle. The forwards were competing fiercely at the break down and earned a pressure releasing penalty just outside inside our 10 metre. Rory took a quick tap, ran 7-8 meters before unleashing a long raking kick pinning Dollar back to their line. The Reds had several chances to go over again but in the end it was a scrappy loose pass that Rory seized upon for the second score 12-0.

Dollar as expected then hit back with a series of powerful phases before spreading it wide and getting over to open their account 12-5 after some great play in the wet. 

Under the posts the was a strong resolve to hit back, no panic or frustration. Having learnt territory is everything in the wet, we kicked long and pressed, and after a couple of minutes of attritional play, a penalty 5 meters out gave Thomas a chance to power over on the half time whistle. Rory converted and HT came, the score 19-5.

The second half saw significant changes in personnel from both teams. The Reds though were more dominant than the first half. First Rory broke free to cross from a solo effort starting inside his half. Then next Christos and then Finlay both getting their rewards for their hard work around the park. Chris powering over off the back of a kick pass wide and being in support. Finlay chose the long way around. Indeed by the time he had first run round the defense and then back in under the posts, he must have run close to half a mile!

Rory got his third with 10 minutes to go. Again a long run in, with several defenders beaten including a lovely sidestep of the last man. Dollar rustled up a couple of consolation scores and the final score was 43-15.

Todays win was another sign of what this group can do, not the finished article, but a great team performance in difficult conditions against a strong side.

Through the front row Daniel, Alexander, Kyle and Fraser worked their socks off contributing in defence and the loose. 

In the second row Chris and Gregg grew and grew as the game went on, Chris making some great tackles and rucking powerfully. Greg made a brilliant debut and worked so so hard even running 30 meters late on to put pressure on a kick, a brilliant addition to the squad. The back row were hughly influential with Thomas and Finlay covering a huge amount of ground and competing fiercely. Elliot and Angus both worked hard to make themselves a nuisance at the breakdown and supported their team mates brilliantly.

Max had another good game, growing in confidence and having a real nose for spotting trouble and moving the ball away from

It. Alfie ran at inside centre and showed he has power as well as evasion. Duncan had another very strong game in attack and defence scoring a crucial opening score.

Outwide Joe, Jay and Scott all got some ball despite the rain and were also key in keeping our shape and preventing Dollar outflanking us. Ollie and Fraser did a great job at tidying up some tricky kicks through and ensuring we retained the ball.

So man of the match…it was a huge team performance which was the best thing about today but slightly awkwardly (it was a coach vote not mine) this week it goes to Rory, he notched up 23 point scoring a hatrick in the process but it was his allround game and  kicking brilliantly to turn Dollar and allow us to press, some great running and then in the second half grubbers, miss passes, cross field kicks and even an out the back. Well done Rory! 

Amazing result today thank you so much to everyone that came down and braved the elements, again we as coaches feel privileged to be part of this group of players!

Superb Away Win for Young Reds u16s

Dollar Academy 19 – 36 Linlithgow

Report by Gordon Muir

Linlithgow U16 travelled to the Corinthian fields of Dollar to take on a side from the Academy that included one or two familiar faces. Hamish and Cameron each received their early rugby education at Linlithgow (and many of our boys will recognise their dads as former Wee Reds coaches), so we were intrigued to see how their game had developed with proper instruction at one of Scotland’s leading rugby schools. 

With many players away from half term and others covering unfamiliar positions, the Young Reds were uncharacteristically light in numbers, where Dollar had enough players for two full squads. We agreed with their coaches to play a half against each squad and they sportingly took the opportunity to mix up the experience level in both teams rather than play an “A” and “B”. 

A drizzly mist hung over the pitch as the game began however both teams showed a willingness to move the ball in defiance of the conditions. 

As expected, the home side were a capable and well-organised outfit but with strong tackling and a much improved speed and aggression at the breakdown, the Young Reds were able to soak up the pressure and then begin to turn it on their hosts. The first try of the game went to the visitors and it was certainly one to savour as living proof of the assertion that “fortune favours the brave”.  It started with a counter-attacking run from Alfie fielding the ball in the Linlithgow 22. A draw-and-pass found Rory D on an outside line, who took on his winger and chipped ahead. The ball broke to the on-rushing Calum H, who hacked it on and chased his kick as the ball bounced perfectly up for him to catch and run over for a thrilling try. 

Dollar equalised a few minutes later after a spell of pressure deep in Linlithgow territory eventually breached the line as they crashed over from close range. 

Linlithgow showed that they could compete equally well up front as Cam took a strong run from a 5m penalty and broke through the Dollar defence to put the visitors ahead once again. 

Calum H added his second of the afternoon shortly afterwards, neatly intercepting a pass on half way and racing away to score. It might have looked lucky, if you didn’t know that Calum does exactly this roughly twice every week at training. 

The Young Reds struck again as the first half drew to a close, this time a great solo effort from Alfie who broke the line and evaded the cover defence to score from well within his own half. 

This excellent display of rugby from Linlithgow wasn’t just about attack. The Young Reds defence was fantastic, with the back row constantly crowding Dollar’s attempts to play wide and superb tackling and line speed right across the team, with centres Finlay S and Ethan O both also putting in crunching tackles to close the door on the Dollar attack. 

The first half closed on a big defensive effort which saw Dollar held up over the line in their last attempt to score. 

The second half began with an almost completely changed Dollar team, whose gleaming white shirts only emphasised that while their legs would be fresh, they might take a minute to get into the physicality of the game. Having watched their team-mates being well beaten in the first half, the new Dollar team were clearly intent on making amends; and early in the second half it was indeed Dollar who scored first, breaking through some slightly tired Linlithgow defence to score to the left of the posts. 

That was a bit of a wake-up call to the visitors, who played some smart rugby to take more possession and eventually work their way right down the pitch for Ethan S to reach over for an excellent try. 

The home team had the final say in the match, with Linlithgow alumnus Hamish F showing he hadn’t lost his turn of pace and sense of timing as he received the ball on the right wing and dived over. 

The final score was a Linlithgow victory by 36 points to 19, an excellent performance from the team in each phase of the game and a great result against a good Dollar team.

Dollar too much for understrength Young Reds S1s

Linlithgow U13 5 – 50 Dollar U13

Report by Stuart Ritchie

It was a dreich morning on Saturday for Dollar’s visit. The visitors arrived with a large squad with Linlithgow’s numbers depleted due to school holiday, injury and illness. The available squad were also carrying a few injuries and the game management of this (from a coaches perspective) means a shorter than usual match report!!

Dollar’s strength was clear from the outset with some very strong runners and tacklers. This put Linlithgow on the back foot and the pressure from the visitors meant it was difficult for the Reds to build momentum in the first third. In situations like this it’s important not to lose focus on your own game and what you can do when you have the ball. Eric was left doing too much work as scrum half in the rucks – he was jet lagged and needed the support of his forwards to clear good quick ball for him!!

After their strong start the visitors were able to utilise their squad numbers and as the game went on Linlithgow found themselves in a more competitive contest. Dollar helped us with a player as injuries took their toll – and credit to them as they really contributed to the Reds. There was more self belief, and despite the cold hands, heads were up and the team were set the challenge of focusing on their own game. This worked well as more possession led to more cohesive passages of play resulting in Callum getting Linlithgow’s only score towards the end of the game. 

Games like this show the development of the team. Commitment and effort were maintained which is real progression compared to the beginning of the season. Everyone ‘stuck at it’ on a difficult morning. This was epitomised by Lyle and Callum’s work rate around the pitch, Blair’s tackling, and Archie’s attacking play in space when we had the ball.

As always there are things to work on and we would have benefited from more commitment at the rucks, better composure in possession and better support for runners especially in the early parts of the game. 

Playing squad: Aaron, Ali, Archie, Blair, Callum, Eric, Ethan M, Ethan S, Finlay, Harry, Lyle, Marshall, Matthew, Oscar, Zac. 

Dollar’s U18 Squad of 32 shades the Young Reds U18s

Dollar Academy u18 21 – 14 Linlithgow u18

In a game of well matched sides, the final result came down to the size of the respective benches! Great run out for u18s against one of the stronger u18 sides in Scotland.