Hills’ Edge Glasgow Derby

Hillhead Jordanhill RFC 27pts Cartha QP 21pts

In a game full of endeavour, but providing only occasional flashes of quality, ‘Hills’ persevered over their stuffy, South side visitors to return to winning ways by defeating Cartha QP by five penalty goals, one goal and a try to one goal, one try and three penalty goals.

The play in the first period was mostly in the Cartha half with ‘Hills’ benefiting from the line out domination of Stuart Rose and the lively play of Hadden Macpherson at scrum half. ‘Hills’ front row toiled in the set scrums, but hooker, Greg Haswell, did well to provide a reliable source of ball throughout. Yet, despite the ball winning of the ‘Hills’ pack, the visitors’ defence was rarely tested, except when the home team manufactured a 5-3 overlap on the open-side wing only to fritter the chance away. It was left to the unerring right boot of ‘Hills’ no. 15, Gus Twaddle, to nudge his team into a 9 pts lead after twenty nine minutes with three well struck penalty goals, the visitors consistently incurring referee Cameron Mather’s displeasure at the breakdown. But ‘Hills’ defensive work at the restart kick was clumsy and gifted the visitors the ball, allowing Simon Denny a virtual clear run to the line. Chisholm brought out the full points with a fine conversion, and suddenly the ‘Hills’ began to look rather vulnerable. Again, however, it was Mr. Reliable, Gus Twaddle, who rescued ‘Hills’ confidence with another well struck penalty goal, after a fine turnover by Cammy McCulloch had produced ruck ball, which was moved quickly into the visitors danger area for Cartha to re-offend again.

At half time, the general feeling among the spectators was that the game could go ‘either way’, and for the first 15 minutes of the second half, the visitors put pressure on the home side, and brought the scores to within 3 points with a penalty goal. It was noticeable, however, that the visitors were unable to provide any space for their most dangerous broken play runner, Tony Nyangweso, and the momentum generated in this passage of play fizzled out. That it did was due to some inspired play from ‘Hills’ captain, open side flanker, Stuart Ross, who lead by example in pirating Cartha ball at the tail of a line out, twenty metres from the visitors try line, and brushing aside the defence to score a fine individual try. Twaddle’s conversion ricocheted off the right hand upright, his only unsuccessful kick of the afternoon. This animated the crowd, which till then had been generally passive, and a further try was not long delayed. Its genesis was due to scrum half Macpherson’s eagerness to break across the gain line. The thrust was quickly taken on by Stuart Ross, who combined beautifully with blind side flanker, Stuart Rose, to send the ‘ginger top’ in by the posts. Twaddle converted and the ‘Hills’ were beginning to believe they might be able to press on. But they reckoned without Cartha’s tactical switches, the most significant of which saw Sherlock being moved into the pivot position and player/coach, Chaney, returning to the back row.

Now, the ‘Hills’ were on the defensive with Cartha adding a penalty goal and then a try from Iain Cook too far out on the right for the conversion to be successful. ‘Hills’ were now only 6 points ahead, and fighting hard to keep the visitors out. But then some poor Cartha decision-making which saw them scorn an eminently kickable penalty chance for a set scrum yielded nothing. When the next penalty came along for the visitors, Cartha’s Chisholm converted with ease, and the game was back on a knife edge. Astonishingly, Cartha failed to deal with the ‘Hills’ restart kick, and at the ensuing ruck, which was well set up by hooker Haswell, the visitors offended, and Gus Twaddle converted the penalty chance to restore the 6 points margin between the sides. Although there was still time for Cartha to strike back, the remaining time was spent in a midfield stalemate, and ‘Hills’ recorded their fourth win from their first five SHE Premier 3 league games, leaving the visitors with only a losing bonus point for all their tireless efforts.

A delighted ‘Hills’ Team Manager, Stuart Monro, noted: “This was better to-day. We had the edge on the touchline, and there were occasions when our continuity play was good. Cartha came back into it well, but we had just done enough midway through the second half to hang on. We shall need to raise our game, however, for the trip to Marress next week.”

Hillhead Jordanhill RFC – Angus Twaddle, Chris Jubb (Andrew Leslie), Dan Witko, David Paterson, Craig Bryson, Cameron McCulloch, Hadden Macpherson, Steven Longwell, Greg Haswell, Will Goulden (David Simm), David Fisken, Donald Pitkethly (Eddie Rider), Douglas Crichton (Chris Craig), Stuart Rose, Stuart Ross (C). All ‘subs’ used.