Young Reds at Kelso (Jan 23)

Saturday 28 January 2023

Young Reds Results

U18 – no match

U16 Match
Currie 26 – 15 Linlithgow

U15 / S3 Match
Kelso 0 – 49 Linlithgow

S2 Match
Kelso 7 – 50 Linlithgow

S1 Match
Kelso 36 – 31 Linlithgow

Young Reds Reports

Young Reds S3s Clinical in Despatching a Strong Kelso Team

Kelso 0 – 49 Linlithgow

Report by Al McGrath

A very early morning, especially for a Saturday, had the boys climb onto the bus and leave the club at 7:30am to travel the road to Kelso, with a few more in a coach’s car (thanks, Phil). We arrived in good time and quickly got into warming up and getting mentally switched on for the game. A tough game looked to be ahead of us as Kelso were already there warming up with a full complement of subs, which compared to our 2. The pitch was in a good condition, firm underfoot but the air had just enough damp in it which could make the ball handling difficult.

The game kicked off just after 10am and it was straight into a hard physical game with strong tackling and contact. The Linlithgow boys took the game to Kelso’s half and kept the pressure and pushed forward against a strong defence. The pressure was kept up and following a several phases of rucking the ball went along the line and Cammy broke through for the first score of the game. Matthew then kicked his first conversion on what to be a good kicking game, not only for goals but for finding touch.

Open Play

Play continued with Kelso fighting back and maintaining the pressure and at times getting close to Linlithgow’s try line but constant moving up on the attacking line, hard tacking, counter rucking, good communication and strong focus kept Kelso out and stopped them from scoring. There was a determined attack on the Linlithgow line from 5 metres with a Kelso penalty, scrum and attack successfully defended by Linlithgow and then the ball stolen and cleared into touch with a well-placed kick. From the line out, Linlithgow counter-attacked and the pressure resulted in Ali McC carrying the ball over the line for a fine try. Matthew’s foot was true for the conversion and the referee blew the half time whistle at 14 points to Linlithgow favour.

The game restarted for the second half with a spirited follow up to the kick-off, but Linlithgow pressed hard and were straight into the attack. Kelso’s backs were caught out of position and Ali McC broke through and could not be caught as he sprinted to the line for his second try. Matthew again converted.


The game continued with Kelso looking for a gap in Linlithgow’s defences, but none was to be found. That determined defence held Kelso at bay. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Linlithgow steeled themselves under for Kelso’s attack but taking possession of the ball, Linlithgow shifted it quickly through the back and with a run from Cammy, from just inside the defender’s half, and he touched the ball down for his second try. Matthew again kicked to keep the conversion tally in line with the tries scored.

At this point Kelso started feeling the pressure and for the Linlithgow boys there was no let up. Indeed they seemed to step up a gear and in the last five minutes there were 3 tries scored. Connor with a great line took the pass and sprinted over the line for his try. From a set play, and in Linlithgow’s own half, Alex Evans received the ball and then ran the length of Kelso’s half to touch the ball down for a fine try. Then to close out the game Cammy was again away off of the wing to complete his hat trick. All three conversations were again kicked by Matthew with an impressive perfect kicking record for the game.

While the score line was fully in Linlithgow’s favour, it does not reflect how well and how tough a team Kelso were. The game was played with such good attitudes and in good spirits that Kelso were looking to arrange a rematch in Linlithgow. 

The Team

Big Win for S2s

Kelso  7 – 50  Linlithgow

Report by Nick Smith

A trip to Borders for a game of rugby always brings a sense of excitement and trepidation in equal measure.  And our trip to Kelso was no exception, particularly as it was our first game in a while and certainly our first “shot in anger” in 2023.  However some of this excitement was replace with a little dread when we received Malcolm’s message that the coach was due to leave at 7.30 and would wait for no one!

So lets start with a huge thank you to all the amazing parents who not only got out of bed yourselves at various times before 7.00 on Saturday morning, but also managed to rouse your sleeping teenager from their pit and get them on to the coach on time.  An incredible performance.

So after a quiet trip down, the coaches talked about needing a focussed warm-up to shake the journey out of the boys legs.  We have developed a reputation for slow starts and this was an opportunity for us to refute this.  And let’s be honest the boys were great at this point they were encouraging each other and bringing an intensity which gave us hope for the game to come.

So for Kelso we had been told that they were a decent side, having beaten Jedburgh the previous week and held their own on the trips across the Borders region.  And as the game the kicked off this proved to be the case.  This is the time to ignore the final score as it did not reflect the game that we watched on the pitch.

Right from the kick off Kelso showed their ability to tackle across the team from 1 to 15.  They kicked off and Joe – on the wing today – received the ball and set off on a side stepping run. It wasn’t long before he was felled by a Kelso tackle.  The opening few minutes were a tough affair and Kelso matched us man to man.  The rucks looked an even contest with both teams forcing turnovers in the eagerness to get their hands on the ball.  Eventually the Linlithgow pressure began to tell and much of the play took place in Kelso’s half,  But Kelso’s tackling held out and it was clear that the boys were not going to score of first phase ball.  Thomas, Ewan, Finlay and Chris all made breaks but found no way through as their brought down in the tackle.

However eventually the pressure told.  Rory made a break down the blind side from the half way line, fed Duncan the ball just before the 22 and we all thought he was in.  However again the cover tackle came in from Kelso, but this time the “ubiquitous’ Angus was there in support to finish the move and score the try.

The second try and was real team effort with several players getting their hands on the ball taking it up the field.  Eventually our hard running forwards sucked in the defence on the right hand side of the pitch then we moved the ball wide on the right for Ewan to feed Thomas who touched down over the line to score.

The third try was a great solo try from Rory.  He looked up and saw a rush defence bearing down on him and smartly kicked ahead.  This led to a chip chase which he was never going to lose and a touch down under the posts.

Fraser took the honours with the fourth try.  He took the ball in the 22 with one thing on his mind.  Breaking several tackles and changing the direction of his charge, he eventually crossed the line with defenders hanging from every limb. It was a thing of beauty for those who appreciate a rumble from a front row forward.

This marked half time and the boys took a well earned break.  This was shaping up to be a display that they could be rightly proud of as they had to work hard for every ruck and every point.

The second half saw a further four tries with Duncan scoring the second of his hattrick after some nice passing down the line from the backs.  Rory then took his second after Ewan drew in two defenders and out him through a gap.  Duncan’s third followed a break by Joe down the blind side, we all thought he’d been tackled short of the line but he cleverly reached forward with a long arm and touched down just over the line. 

The final try was scored by Angus who was again on hand to score with some excellent support play.  This all happened after Hugh took a fine catch at full back, beat 2 tackles and made the try.  Incidentally he then made a try saving tackle following the kick off showing both the fearless side of his game as well his intelligent positional play.  Final score 50-7.

I think we have to say this was a team performance.  So finding a man / star of the match was a really difficult call this week.  Our new players were fantastic with Kyle getting his hands on the ball on more than one occasion and making direct runs at the opposition forwards; Cameron showed his new found skills in the rucks and clearly enjoyed getting stuck in.  It was also great to have Daniel back from injury and he formed a formidable front row with Elliot and Fraser in the initial stages of the game. Chris and Finlay in the engine room both relished getting their hands on the ball and both made excellent breaks with the direct and quick running.  Our back row was also very strong this week.  Ewan played out his skin, having a massive influence on the game with his tackling and turnovers and Thomas (along with Elliot) tidied up on many occasions, particularly with their tackling.

In the back line Max played well as scrum half showing his all round ball playing skills and good sense in avoiding danger.  Rory made some great decisions, finding space either through his kicking or passing.  Scott ably stepped in at inside centre and then outside centre, possibly finishing on the wing and both Alfie, Joe and Jay worked well to get their hands on the ball and also make the necessary tackles during their stints on the wing.

Although there were so many contenders star of the match this week goes to Fraser.  He was a real example to the other forwards and found himself at the bottom of many rucks putting his head in places that many won’t and doing the work that ultimately won us the ball and the game.

The boys should be incredibly proud of themselves.  This was a was step up in performance and in team play which ultimately wins games. We also have Angus T, Tom and Connor all waiting to return from injury so it all bodes well.

However there is still work to do.  We will meet tougher teams in the ruck and we were turned over too many times for comfort so there is much to work on.  Look forward to training on Monday.

S1s Buoyant Despite Injuries and Narrow Defeat

Kelso 36 – 31 Linlithgow

Report by Nick Drainey

In many ways this should be a dour match report but the spirit and application of the whole team was such that many were left feeling more buoyant than after any game this season.

One for whom it would be understandable to be dejected is Will Henderson. After a brilliant showing on the right wing – moving in for the ball like a hungry Darcy Graham – he suffered a broken collarbone when tackling a Kelso forward who had been powering towards the line. Such was his determination, even as he stood up in pain, he insisted he wanted to carry on. Unfortunately, he ended the match in A&E. His fellow players, coaches and the club send him all the best for a speedy recovery.

Another left on the injury list after a day out on the Kelso High School 3G was Euan, who fractured his pelvis in the warm up. Again, best wishes to Euan who was still hobbling around as the match began, desperate to show he was fit to play. After further injuries to Ethan McNulty and Lyle the team of 13 was down to 11 by the end of the game with others left hobbling away at the final whistle.

And with a 36-31 loss in a tight game the reasons to be glum had certainly mounted by the time the bus trundled home through the Borders. However, sport being sport, this loss felt like a win (almost) in what was the most exciting game S1 have played this season.

The first third began with some great carries from Linlithgow’s forwards but was thwarted by an interception and breakaway by Kelso (7-0). However, that did not dampen the attitude – a great achievement and something the squad has been working on in recent weeks and months.

The forwards resumed their work with all six taking the ball in the right direction before Archie broke the line and Eric released the ball for Marshall to score in the corner – converted well by captain Fergus whose kicking boots were in fine form. (7-7).

Kelso managed to sneak another try in the corner (14-7) before the break but even as the Linlithgow boys trooped off, heads remained up and belief strong.

The second third saw Linlithgow shoot out of the blocks and a brilliant move wide nearly saw a try within seconds. There followed brilliant bursts from Archie and Fergus before Blair tore forward and popped it up for Rory to smash over the line. Another Fergus conversion followed (14-14).

A sneaky breakaway from a penalty saw Kelso come back with a try but they missed the conversion (19-14). Then, Fergus was quickly in the corner after a scrum was turned over and Eric and Ethan McNulty had worked the ball out. (19-21­).

Soon after, Blair took the ball as it came off a lineout and only had eyes for the line – another try was chalked up. It was a rare miss from the boot by Fergus but the score had moved on well (19-26).

Injuries were now beginning to take the toll, not least when “Ironman” Will Henderson had to come off but the boys did not give up even when a very big Kelso player broke through for a score just before the interval (24-26).

The final third saw Linlithgow a man short – a hooker from Kelso was given, to play on the wing, but even he seemed to strive to do what he could for The Reds. It was that big guy from Kelso again who did the damage with two tries – although neither was converted, a big lead had opened up (36-26).

It doesn’t matter which team you are talking about but with only a few minutes on the clock and a ten-point deficit, drooped shoulders and sad faces would be expected. But this was not the case with the Linlithgow S1s who encouraged and cajoled each other in a way that made them look wise beyond their years.

Their reward was a try in the corner after Eric popped it up for Fergus. (36-31). Another full-blooded onslaught followed but it wasn’t to be as the ref blew for full time. When you hear about “playing to the final whistle” it is usually said with poetic licence but on Saturday the boys in red really did that and should be extremely proud of themselves. The future looks very good!