Match Report - 11 Oct 2008, Ross High Rugby Football Club 1st XV lost to HELENSBURGH
With Ross High languishing near the foot of the division but this position belied their true abilities. They had been unable to draw upon their first choice players earlier in the season and ran up a series of unexpected losses. On paper they looked like a pushover but the squad that appeared at Ardencaple looked most workmanlike during their warm-up.
Helensburgh started the game with the breeze behind them on a drying pitch and dominated early territory but the bulky Ross High pack maintained control in the tight. The referee appeared to be interested in going through the Laws dishing out penalties to both sides resulting in a stop start game. The home side were the more enterprising in attack with Black, Holmes & Tyson eager to find a way past the opposition but unforced errors saw these attacks break down.
A change in tactics saw Gibson pick & drive deep into the Ross High half and the referee penalised the visitors for a high tackle. Chris Black’s penalty opened the scoring with twenty minutes played.
Helensburgh backs were using the breeze with some high kicks but the Ross High’s Paul Davis at Full back was quite relaxed under these bombardments. Ross were growing in confidence keeping ball tight with their pack now gaining ground in the Burgh half but the home side was absorbing these rushes with solid covering tackles combining with accurate line kicks from Black.
Tyson fielded a high ball and ran intelligently at the opposition to feed an agile Walker who beat the first line of defence and release McNee to sprint for the line. Diminutive McNee managed to pass out of the tackle to a supporting MacCrimmond who crossed the try line with a half hour played. Black’s conversion took the score to Helensburgh 10 Ross High 0.
Wingman Rettie following up a high ball crash tackled with Ross’s Robert Baillie but had to be carried from the field with a knee injury to be replaced by Alistair Cairns. Continued pressure from the Burgh in the visitors half resulted in Black slotting over a second penalty for infringements at the breakdown.
The visitors continued to compete but Frame broke from the base of a ruck to find Inglis then Calderwood lying off to release Stevie Walker. Walker with pace and a series of sidesteps broke inside & touched down. The conversion drifted wide as the referee blew for half time with the score Helensburgh 18 Ross High 0.
Burgh had refreshed their eight at the break with Drake back on again and Sommerville replacing Gibson at number eight but the Ross High restart kick did not travel the statutory 10 metres.
Ross High quickly overcame their kick off faux pas and with the breeze behind them started to stamp their authority on the game. A number of pick ups by Ross High Steven Ketchin saw territory gained and dogged following up by their pack drove the Burgh back into their red zone. Gibson did not have long on the subs bench as Inglis hobbled off with a damaged knee.
Continued drives from the Ross High pack provided them with good field position and a quick pick up by Ross’s Jamie Evans allowing him to outwit the home defence and run in for a well taken try . The conversion slotted between the uprights to close the score to Helensburgh 18 Ross High 7 with only 7 minutes of the second half played.
The home side appeared to lose direction and this allowed the visitors the run of the paddock for about 15 minutes with a number of attacks coming close. Their sole reward was a penalty for offside by the Burgh backs. Jones slotted over the kick to further narrow the score to Helensburgh 18 Ross High 10 as the contest moved into the final quarter.
The Burgh at last wakened up to the fact that the game could be slipping away from them and they refocused their efforts. Inglis had rejoined the fray and was providing solid possession from the lineout. Ross High were not lying down as Burgh reasserted their control and a number of chip & chases saw Burgh again retreating into their red zone. Ross High were also making intelligent use of the breeze but good communication by the Burgh back 3 now ensured a watertight defence
Running strongly out of defence Riding took play up into the visitors 22 and a number of attacks were launched from this platform. A strong forward rumble by the Helensburgh pack led by Calderwood saw Watt take the ball on the burst to drive over for try number three. The conversion was slotted between the posts to take the score to Helensburgh 25 Ross High 10.
Ross High responded quickly and only a solid try saving tackle from Tyson stopped what looked like a certain try as Ross High’s Jones breached a static Burgh defence.
Helensburgh had left things late and as the game went into injury time a concerted attack led by Riding saw the ball through forwards & backs but a spilled pass 5 metres from the line saw the chance of bonus point slip away.
This had been a well contested game providing great entertainment for the capacity crowd.
HELENSBURGH 25 - 10 Ross High Rugby Football Club 1st XV