Young Reds S2

Great Performance, Great Result from Young Reds S2

Linlithgow  48 – 5  North Berwick

Saturday 26 November 2022

Report by Malcolm Dunn

This morning saw our debut on the Winchburgh 3G pitch which, despite the threatening clouds and wind, gave us a nice wide open pitch to take on what has become something of a derby team for us North Berwick, who twice beat us last season.

The warm up was not encouraging so it was something of a surprise when we shook off our usual slow start with Finlay twice making early meters stretching NB with Chris smashing through two early rucks creating front foot ball. Rory spotted the overload on the blind and scampered 50 meters to open the scoring. my stop watch said 1.27….a fast start.

NB though had plenty of fire power and it was only a few minutes before the outside centre that gave us so many problems the year before burst through 3 soft tackles to run in under the sticks making 7-5…GAME ON!

The Young Reds though we’re in an uncompromising mood and, after some fierce midfield battles, the Reds emerged with ball, Rory finding a little bit of space putting a short pass in to Finlay who had a lot to do rounding two defenders and running in from 30 meters. 12-5 after 10 mins.

The Young Reds pack was really taking it to NB and were relentless in the attacking and defending of rucks, lead by our back-row of Thomas, Ewan and Angus, giving us plenty of possession. It was very windy though and there were a few knock-ons which prevented us from really capitalising. Eventually though the pressure told after a kick down field NB struggled to exit with Thomas eventually coming up with the ball and bundled over to score (19-5 after 16 mins).

The fear, of course, was NB would come back but the Young Reds maintained their ferocity against another much larger team. Joe hassled well at the base, Angus T was busy in the scrum and in the loose together with Cameron who made one or too really important tackles in that period. With being in control of possession more opportunities began to come. Next was a well worked move for Duncan to stretch his legs and run in from distance. Not to be upstaged though Alfie was the receiver of the ball out on the left touch line after some good passing to create a two on one. Alfie set off like rocket on the 5th of November beating not one or two but three defenders one on one before running fully 70 meters to score under the posts. What a moment and what a grin as he carried his lungs back to the half way line!

The Young Reds were now well on top and the second half saw three further scores with Duncan, Rory and Finlay all adding to their first half tally. The first was immediately from the restart, a kick from NB saw the ball go loose and pop up to Duncan he steamed away to open the second half scoring. The next one came midway through the second half with Rory finding a mismatch and sneaking away up the blind side before pinning his ears back for the corner. The last was the pick of the scores with a lovely little inside ball off the line out to Finlay charging up the middle.

It was overall our best team performance of the season. Both Cameron and Kyle, although still learning, got valuable game time and made important contributions in the scrum and the loose. Angus T and Chris had good games really working hard for the team. The back-row had a fantastic game Angus, Elliot, Ewan and Thomas were awesome. In the backs Jay, Fraser and Scott all made it impossible for NB to make any meaningful line breaks.

So man of the match was a tough one, Duncan was tremendous in defense and attack neutralising NB biggest attacking runner and scoring a couple himself. Rory clocked up and impressive 22 points and Ewan was always first to step forward to tackle some big lads. In the end though man of the match is tied between Thomas and Finlay. Thomas moved to no 8 and did it with a great attitude, he was prominent from the start making big tackles hitting rucks like a man’s possessed but also made several breaks with great offloading and bagged a try himself. Finlay who has been brilliant in training, brought that confidence to the match and really got involved. He carried really well early on and thoroughly deserved his two tries. He was also an absolute nuisance swarming all over opposition when they had the ball. Lastly I loved watching him run 50 metres to congratulate Thomas when he scored, great team work.

So often as coaches we’ve talked about performance over results but this was both a great performance and a great result. They are really developing I thought it was brilliant in a stoppage time moment they took it on themselves to huddle up and have an impromptu team talk and the smiles at the end said it all !

Well done Young Reds, one to be proud of!