Hillhead Jordanhill 1st XV 18 points Preston Lodge 34 points

An effective first 40 minutes from Hills on a bright but chilly autumnal afternoon taking them to a deserved 10-6 lead at the mid point was drastically undermined by a poor second half performance which handed visitors Preston Lodge a resounding 34-18 win at no side.

Hills ran well down the slope in the first half with their captain, Rory Harte, directing the traffic and also making yards with his mazy running. The home forwards competed well at all phases with Niall Hall leading the pack in ball carrying and both Blair Colvin and Jayson Denley showing spring in the line out. Rory Harte kicked a penalty for Hills, but the visitors replied on a rare visit to the Hills half. Hills responded well with sniping runs from scrum half Fraser Ebbit testing the Preston Lodge defence. Some continuity rugby allowed Hllls to exploit space on the blind side of a midfield ruck and right winger, Ayrton To, raced in from 20 metres to touch down close to the posts. Rory Harte piloted the conversion over the bar and after some 30 minutes Hills were 10-3 up and seemingly untroubled. Even a penalty for a breakdown offence converted by “ PL” to bring the halt time score to 10-6 seemed of little concern.

The perceived halftime wisdom among the Hughenden faithful was that the bulkier visitors would run out of steam in the second half and Hills would triumph. Sadly wrong. Playing to a limited but highly effective game plan, “ PL” came back into the game with a series of close range drives. Even allowing for some courageous Hills defence, repeated assaults sap the resolve and “PL” moved to 27-13 after some 70 minutes of play. Hills one entry into the visitors danger zone had produced a Rory Harte penalty.

Hills were starved of any territorial presence and relied in their continuous defensive mode in exiting their twenty two via Rory Harte’s clearing kicks. Inevitably these were run back very effectively by the visitors’ back three and the whole process of defensive attrition re-commenced. Worryingly poorish on field discipline with 2 yellow cards incurred in the game did not help the Hills cause.

Yet a furry of some traditional Hills play well into the final quarter brought some measure of comfort to the frustrated home support. Attacking midfield p[ay brought Hills close to the PL lIne and , after a series of close range drives, hooker Harry Perston burrowed through a ruck of players to touch down. However, any prosect of last minute heroics from Hills were dashed by the efficient “PL” machine attacking down the middle of the Hills defence to score their fourth and bonus point try. Michael Thompson suffered for his bravery in defensive chores by being led off with a damaged shoulder.

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