FROM THE HIGHS TO THE LOWS AS HILLS SLUMP

Dumfries Saints 1st XV 47 points Hillhead Jordanhill 1st XV 15 points

The Hills squad which travelled down the M74 to face Dumfries showed 8 changes, 1 positional, from the 19 which triumphed the previous weekend against Allan Glens. Yet even allowing for all the attendant disruptions, the outcome in conceding 7 tries was unexpected. But take nothing away from the hosts who, on a day of poor underfoot conditions and stiff winds, produced a display of attacking and physically abrasive rugby the visitors could not live with.

Yet it might have been different if Hills had been able to capitalize on an encouraging start playing with the wind. Prolonged territorial pressure in the home 22 eventually produced a close range try from tight head prop, Liam Tighe, which stand-ff Rory Harte goaled. But Dumfries showed willingness to play an expansive game in the unpromising conditions to run hard at the visitors, Despite a Rory Harte penalty goal and an amazing 80 metre wind assisted kick from hand from the stand-off, Hills had little else to show from their first half endeavours. There was too much interpassing behind the gain line and too little tactical kicking. For their part Dunfrues were fast and direct from first phase ball, attacking the advantage line, probing for weaknesses in the Hills defence. By the mid point of the game Hills were some 9 points adrift at 10-19.

The second half witnessed a short duration revival for Hills with the hard working loose head, Niall Hall, crossing for a short range try which went unconverted, to take the score to 15-26. Dumfries then pulled further away using their replacement front row, a fine selection of well nourished Galloway specimens, to ball carry the hosts to further scores, occasionally splintering the visitors defensive line. The rugby cocktail of the heavy ground and an aggressive attack proved, on this occasion, too much for Hills and a further 3 tries were conceded. The referee’s whistle for no side was a welcome relief for the Hills players, their support team and the smallish travelling support.

National league 3 now have a weekend off from hostilities which will be welcomed by all involved, giving time to the coaches and players to recalibrate for the Christmas run-in After the short break, Hills resume on December 2 when they entertain their South side rivals, Cartha queens Park, who visit Hughenden for a 14.00 KO.

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