Oakmill - Saturday 24th November, 2012
Orkney didn’t let the try dent their confidence though, and attacked hard yet again. The muddy pitch made long passes difficult, but the Orkney ‘tight ight’ worked hard and retained the ball well. Strong runs from Orkney number 8 Steven Paterson and Scott Rendall, who was playing out of position at scrum half, gave the Orkney backs a solid platform to play off. This soon paid off again, as Stand Off Chris Guthrie showed his speed and strength to break a couple of tackles and find his way through the Hillfoots defence, and offload to centre Jon Tait who scored under the posts, much to the delight of his team mates. Danny Bain as he had the easy job of converting to make the score 14-5.
Hillfoots responded well to the Try and didn’t let their heads go down and again they tested the Orkney defence, with some good runs from their pacey backs. Again, Orkneys tackles weren’t low enough and Hillfoots were making good yards through their hefty front row, and quickly answered Orkneys 2nd try with a try of their own. This time it was the Hillfoots loosehead prop who crashed over the line, but again, the conversion was missed from an easy position, giving Orkney a 4 point lead, 14-10.
This was to be the last score of the first half, but the Orkney squad knew that the second half was going to be a much tougher affair, with legs starting to tire on the heavy playing surface, and Orkney playing up the hill for the next 40 mins.
Hillfoots tactics for the second half seemed to be to kick Orkney under pressure, and keep them pinned down in their own 22. They executed their game plan well but despite probing at the Orkney tryline a number of times they were unable to capitalize. Hillfoots came close to scoring when their forward pack drove over the line, but Orkneys tight head prop, Adam Baird, conveniently found himself lying underneath the ball, and the ball was unable to be touched down.
Hillfoots continued to apply pressure, and Orkney couldn’t seem to get out of their own half. Finally, after around 20 minutes, the ball came loose at the back of a ruck, still in the Orkney 22. Chris Guthrie was quick to react and punted the ball to Orkney 10m line where Philip Ross managed to kick the ball to the Hillfoots 22m line, and showing great speed and stamina, beat the fullback to ball. Again, Ross chose to kick it, this time over the try line, and again he beat the last Hillfoots defender to score a thrilling bonus point Try. Danny was unlucky not to convert, making the score 24-10.
Orkney were beginning to tire, and it showed, as they gave away a lot of penalties, and allowed the Hillfoots to run at them again. Again this paid off for the home side, as their number 8 was allowed to score a soft try in the corner. The try wasn’t converted, but it was enough to bring Hillfoots within 7 points of Orkney, which gave them a losing bonus point, but it also meant they could draw with Orkney if they scored in the dying minutes.
The final whistle couldn’t come sooner for Orkney and Scott Rendall took great pleasure in kicking the ball into touch as the referee blew for the last time. This was a great result for the visitors, a second away win with a bonus point at the end of a very tough 5 away games on the bounce.
Orkneys man of the match was Fullback Craig Slater, who tackled like hard and low all game, he also fielded well and looked confident in a position that was new to him. All of the Orkney team had performances that were worthy of a mention, and will be feeling confident going into next weeks home game against Highland. Orkney Captain, Alan Brown, wanted to thank all the players that travelled, especially those who were able to attend all 5 away games.
Orkney Squad: Garry Coltherd, Steven Groat, Adam Baird, Stephen Kemp, Derek Robb, Billy Elliot, Danny Bain, Steven Paterson, Scott Rendall, Chris Guthrie, Ewan Coltherd, Jon Tait, Philip Ross, David Grant, Craig Slater, Tom Huggard, Ewan Manson.
More photos from the match can be found here.