BITTER SWEET FOR HILLS AS THEY SUBDUE ORKNEY

Hillhead Jordanhill 1st XV 50 points Orkney 1st XV 5 points

It says a lot for the resilience of the Hills playing squad, coaches and medical support team that they ultimately triumphed with a 5 point win after a demoralising first 20 minutes when they lost 4 key players to serious injuries. The casualty list makes for depressing reading : winger Graham Davidson with a torn ACL ; centre, Andrew Brown, with a ruptured Achilles tendon on the point of scoring; tight heads prop, Lachlan Mackay, with a torn calf and then Giacomo Sanders with a damaged shoulder. Among all this frenzied injury activity, Hills had given plenty of notice of their attacking intent with their territorial domination of the play. Yet all first and second phase battles were fiercely contested by Orkney and initially it was only by fleetness of foot and deception that Hills troubled the score board. The individual Orkney destroyer was no. 13, “ The Ginger Flash “ ( aka Damien Genocchio, pictured) who tormented the visitors for the full 80 minutes and was the scorer of 2 fine first half tries.

At the mid point of the game a 12-0 lead seemed precarious, given Hills had only 15 fit players and the visitors still had a full deck to deal from. Yet Hills struck early and decisively in the second half with their principal ball carriers, back rowers, Calum Griffiths and Ryan Reilly, crossing for tries. With Rory Harte converting the score after 55 minutes was 26-0 and matters were looking ominous for the visitors.

The next 20 minutes of the game saw Hills at their collective best, a fine showcasing of forwards and backs gelling perfectly, and putting a further 4 tries past Orkney who never gave up, but at times they were chasing shadows. The handling skills with a dry ball, assisted by running on a firm surface brought cheers of delight from an appreciative home support. Damien Genocchio added 2 more tries to his first half brace; the “ flying Doctor”, Matt Henderson, who enjoyed a fine cameo as a replacement wing scored after a 40 metre dash, and finally Blair Colvin, the “ Bearded wonder” second rower, burst through unopposed for the 8th and Hills final try of the game. The final few minutes of the game belonged to the visitors, whose consolation try should not have been begrudged given their physical commitment, particularly in the robust first half.

Hills will conclude their 2022/2023 season against Greenock Wanderers at Fort Matilda on Saturday April the 22nd when a 5 point bonus point win will be required to secure a second place in the National League 3. All spectators welcome.

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