Hills 5 pointer in tight home game

Hillhead Jordanhill 1st XV 35 points Strathmore 1st XV 25 points 

This was a very tough, physical game between two well matched sides on a fine, late autumnal day. Hills edged the contest by 10 points, ultimately denying their combative visitors any league points at all in a game to which Strathmore contributed hugely.

The visitors bossed the first quarter thanks to their aggressive counter rucking game and the promptings of their coltish stand off, Blair Butchart, with his penetrative kicking. He was equally competent off the tee, pushing his side 3 points ahead. But Hills came back well via the touchline work of Blair Colvin and Jonny Agnew and Rory Harte’s kicking from hand to establish themselves firmly in the visitors’ twenty two. Some driving work from the forwards on the Strathmore line resulted in a try for hooker Harry “ The Mole “ Perston, who burrowed his way through a ruck of players to touch down. Rory Harte added the extras from the tee, but Hills progress was thwarted by Strathmore’s tenacity in all the contact areas. The next score came only after 10 phases of continuity play, battering on the visitors’ line. The ball was finally released to the backs and the try came for right winger, Graham Davidson, who latched onto a floated pass from Rory Harte to touch down. The Hills no. 10 converted with a sclaffed toe ender and the whistle blew with his team 14-3 in front.

However Strathmore bounced back immediately after the interval to score a fine try after good three quarter movement. The next 10 minutes of the game were fiercely contested with neither side gaining an advantage until some smart lineout work and delivery from Jonny Agnew created front foot ball for Hills backs to use. Some four phases later, Rory Harte ghosted through the Strathmore midfield on a fine angled run to touch done by the posts. He converted his own try but this reverse only sparked Strathmore into action again. Their forwards wrestled possession from Hills to score a close range try which was converted. That made it 21-15 and it was GAME ON at the start of the final quarter.

Hills worked their way back into the visitors danger zone and were awarded a breakdown penalty close to the try line. The ball was kicked to the corner when the option of a penalty kick at goal looked less risky. However Jonny Agnew’s instincts were proven right, as, after his superb lineout take and a series of close range drives, the “ Mole” crossed for his second try of the game, Rory Harte again converting. Strathmore were now fighting against both the “clock” and the score board to get back into the game and opened out from deep inside their own twenty two. Unfortunately, super sub Sean Black read their move well, and intercepted brilliantly to race home unopposed for a fine finisher’s try which Rory Harte converted.

That provided Hills with an unassailable lead at 35-18, but Strathmore still had business to do and their stand off Blair Butchart with some fine trickery in the shadow of the Hills posts crossed for a try which he converted. That concluded all the action in the game, which was a fine advert for National League 3 rugby between two teams intent on playing an open game.

Next Saturday, weather permitting, Hills travel to the Capital to play Murrayfield Wanderers at Roseburn Gardens in the first fixture of their second round of league matches; Kick off 14.00.

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