Hillhead Jordanhill 2A XV 17 – Dalziel 3XV 14
Saturday saw a strong Hills 2A’s side host Dalziel in repeat of the close November encounter which saw Hills overcome Dalziel 31-33 away. After the previous week’s fixture with Greenock postponed due to flooded pitch, Hughenden was fortunate to enjoy excellent playing conditions this time round.
In the opening exchanges of the game it was Dalziel who demonstrated a greater physicality and managed to keep ball tight to the pack to maintain the initial possession advantage. However it was Hills that looked more dangerous ball-in-hand with some great runs in open play from both wing-forwards and a feisty Fergus Denton at 8. The midfield partnership of Euan McMahon and Ben Chaddock had pretty lean ball in opening quarter but made some good carries and distributed well to a strong back line after an excellent break from scrum-half Dean Campbell Drummond sent Dalziel defense scrambling. Some quick hands off the ruck finally managed to connect a flying Andy Bolster who duly held his man to put William Murphy away in the corner for the first score of the game.
However Hills failed to capitalize on the score and after many punishing phases Dalziel had won their way to 5 meters out and took advantage with a pick and go to ground behind the Hills posts.
Hills appeared to be in the ascendancy again before the break and in the next phase of possession Tom Donaldson tried to capitalize on a stretched defense with a cross-field kick to wing which did not quite come off. With the score 7-5 in favour of Dalziel at the break, Hills needed to focus on providing a better platform to execute more attacking options and take advantage of our pace out wide.
The start of the second half mirrored the start of the game with Dalziel claiming opening set-pieces to find themselves winning a scrum from a knock-on 10 meters out. Hills had defended well the repeated charges of Dalziel’s pack. But a scything run from the Dalziel outhalf stretched the Hills midfield to expose a gap which allowed him to cut inside for an easy try which he duly converted (i.e. a mis-tackle in the back line allowed them to score after being bounced by our pack…).
In the next phases Hills re-grouped with the front row matching the Dalziel challenge in the scrum to work the home side inside the Dalziel half before Tom Donaldson punted a sharp and rangy grubber through a gap to force a line out behind the 22. Hills, now looking more urgent, presented multiple attacking options before Finlay McMillan crashed over the line off the back of a ruck 2m out. The conversion went through the posts to put Hills in close range with 12-14 to the guests.
The following period saw lean pickings for both sides with some broken play and steely defenses halting momentum. However this ended with an inspired and incisive try from Dean Campbell Drummond, aka Dynamite Dean, who exploited a very narrow but exposed blind side from 10 meters out. The kick stayed shy of the posts but put Hills ahead 17-14. The game closed with Dalziel throwing repeated charges down the slope to take back the score. Hills defended well and demonstrated good enough discipline to ensure there was not a point taken in the Dalziel challenge until the liberating final whistle.
Hills will now look to build on this first win of ‘18 for the 2A’s with solid defense, discipline and more confident handling as positive improvements over the last few difficult games.
This game also saw a beautiful and too rare event to go unnoticed, as Niall Houston* received his first senior front rower star. Congratulations to him!
Report: Stephen Cunniffe
Picture: Ian McLennagham