Orkney travelled south with several changes to the squad due to unavailability, injury, and work commitments.
However, this gave a number of second team players the opportunity to make the step up and experience national league rugby.
Travel for the game was via Loganair flight to Edinburgh on the Saturday morning. Then a short journey through to Glasgow by Maynes Coach. Flying made possible by travel assistance from the Scottish rugby union and great flexibility shown by Loganair group bookings.
The game commenced with Orkney kicking to the home side on a glorious warm spring day with a slight breeze favouring Hillhead. The pitch itself was firm and in good order.
From the kick off Hillhead went straight on the attack. Making territorial gains through strong forward runs and efficient back play aided by poor Orkney clearance kicking. It was from one such kick that the ball was passed wide through the hands. A couple of missed Orkney tackles and the home centre Genocchio took the scoring pass from his winger for an unconverted try with only two minutes gone.
There was to be only one other score before half time and that fell to Hillhead with a converted try. Once more centre Genocchio ran in unopposed for a converted try after a period of forward pressure on the Orkney line.
Orkney were struggling to meet Hillhead on the gain line, often missing tackles and it was the scramble defence that prevented more scoring chances. The home side were also disrupted by three bad looking injuries. Two achilles issues and a knee injury making the home dug out look like a triage centre.
Orkney did have periods of possession but were unable to sustain it into scoring opportunities often making errors under strong home defence allowing Hillhead to clear any danger.
On the stroke of half time Orkney narrowly avoided conceding a further try. The home fly half dropping the ball over the try line under pressure from an Orkney tackler.
Half time 12-0 in favour of Hillhead who had adapted well to their injury setbacks. Orkney conversely looking to try and get a foothold in the game and improve their frontline defence. One bright area for Orkney was in the scrummage but a change in personnel for the second half saw big Sean Corrigall replaced by the lighter Ryan Arcus in the second row.
It was Orkney who received the kick to commence the second period of play. Looking to try and gain some territory into the opposition half. However, after a good catch the ball was accidentally knocked to the Hillhead side, and they immediately went on the attack.
Hillhead had a lineout five metres from the Orkney try line. They chose to catch and drive. Orkney did well to stop the drive but from the ruck that formed the home flanker barrelled over for the try wide on the left converted by home fly half Harte.
Soon after the home number eight Reilly was in for their bonus try. Although it did appear he had been tackled by an Orkney player and never released the ball before getting back up to score the try. Once more Harte added the extras.
This seemed to energise Hillhead and they started to look for offloads in contact making it more difficult for Orkney to structure their defence.
This led to a further four tries for Hillhead coming at regular intervals. Genocchio scoring his third and fourth tries of the game after a remarkable personal performance. Their left winger awarded a try after a strong run up the left touchline although he did appear to drop the ball in the act of scoring. The home second row Colvin scoring their final try after running a good support line. Harte converting three of the tries to put the home team 52-0 up.
Orkney however had the last say on the scoreboard to at least show some reward for their endeavours. Following the restart Orkney had a scrum on the Home twenty-two metre line. They were awarded a free kick after Hillhead drove early. Rendall took a quick tap, and the ball played left to flanker Brough who accelerated through the defence and rounded the full back for a try. The conversion just drifting wide.
The whistle blew for full time with Hillhead running out deserved 52-5 winners. Their energy, intensity and aggression proving too much for Orkney on the day. Orkney never got into the match, unable to retain possession for long enough to really test the home defence.
Player of the match for Orkney was awarded to Scott Rendall who maintained his usual high standards. The Hillhead player of the match came as no surprise when Genocchio was rewarded for his four tries and quality centre display. Orkney player Paul Georges also deserves a mention for his first league game in the red and white hoops.
Orkney must wait for their final match of a long league campaign with the rearranged fixture against Gordonians RFC not until the Saturday after the sevens tournament. This will be on 6th May with kick off time to be confirmed nearer the time.
The squad would also like to thank Loganair, Northlink ferries, Maynes coaches and the Aberdeen Douglas hotel for their assistance and patience with travel or accommodation during the away trips this season.
Orkney team: Craig Rendall, Scott Rendall, Alistair Linklater (cpt), Sean Corrigall, Duncan Gray, Jon Tait, Craig Brough, Owen Griffiths, Ewan Stevenson, Connor Hancock, Jamie Hutchison, Scott Russell, James Donohoe, Jacob Heal, Silas Cox subs; Ryan Arcus, Paul Georges, Jacob Urgias, Bruce Pinkerton
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