Hillhead/Jordanhill 31 points Orkney 25 points
While taking nothing away from a very brave Orkney side, which kept competing for the full eighty minutes, the Hills players and their supporters were left somewhat underwhelmed by their own performance. When they managed to pass the ball well through the hands, two excellent tries were scored. First of all debut full back, Euan Brown, opened out from his own twenty two, sensing the visitors were thin on their right flank. Stand off Rory Harte linked effectively to put left winger Ciaran Callaghan away to scamper unimpeded for fully sixty metres and backed up well to take the offload to run in behind the posts. Then the combative James Lowry broke from deep to set up Callaghan with his own scoring opportunity which he finished off clinically by rounding two opponents to touch down. Euan Brown converted one of the tries and added three penalty goals to take Hills to twenty one points to thirteen at the interval, Orkney having scored a try out wide which was unconverted, but succeeded with two penalties from Adam Watt.
From a Hills viewpoint, the second period would best be described as dysfunctional, such were their difficulties experienced in generating any pace or combined intensity in their play. Certainly one of the reasons for the absence of any fluency was Orkney’s strength and obstinacy in both the contact area and the breakdown, where the visitors were able to slow down Hills delivery and frustrate them. But the principal reason for the discomfort was poor execution of basic skills, which saw overlaps squandered and passing moves halted due to handling errors and poor ball retention. As it was, it took a good break through the middle of the field from second rower, Bill Kenny, to restore smiles to the faces of the Hills supporters when he touched down between the posts. Brown’s right boot added a further five second half points. For a club which began its travel at 22.30 on the Friday evening ferry from Stromness to Aberdeen, Orkney’s second half resilience was remarkable. Their two late tries, one from an interception, left Watt their kicker with a conversion from in front of the posts to give them their losing bonus point. He obliged to send his side on their long journey home with something for their endeavours. Orkney deserved it; Hills, if they had managed to fall over the line for their fourth and try bonus point, would have been embarrassed.
At fulltime, Hills head coach, Dean Kelbrick, was less than impressed with his side’s efforts. Certainly a much better all round performance will be required to defeat Ardrossan, who have been something of a bogey side to the Hills in recent league seasons, in the next NL 3 game. The fixture kicks off at 14.00 next Saturday, the 4th November, at Hughenden.
Hills 1st XV: Euan Brown, Dan Williams, James Lowry (Jimmy Griffith), Scott Halliday, Ciaran Callaghan, Rory Harte, Darren Knox, Mark Barrowman (Ross Jackson), Harry Perston (Harry Singh), Blair Mackenzie (Mark Barrowman), Helian Bourrel (Ryan Reilly), Bill Kenny, James Reekie, Conor Ferguson, Owen Gemmell (C) Subs all used.