Glenrothes 7 - Caithness 7: Reds share the spoils

After last week’s nine try thriller, Glenrothes supporters hoped for a repeat against fellow strugglers Caithness at Carleton Park.

While the game retained its interest through the closeness of the score, the standard of rugby on offer left something to be desired.

Reds started the match playing uphill under a blue sky and bright sunshine.

The weather conditions were not matched underfoot where an already heavy pitch received a further soaking on Friday night which resulted in players losing their footing and the ball quickly developing all the adhesive qualities of a wet bar of soap.

The early part of the match set the tone for the rest of the game as both teams struggled to retain possession.

Balls were lost forward in the tackle, passes knocked on, high balls dropped and most of the game took place between the two 22 metre lines.

Both teams also managed to be penalised for squint feeds to linesout and scrums.

It was from such a decision that Caithness managed eventually to put some pressure on the Glenrothes line.

Solid tackling kept the attacks at bay until a penalty was awarded on the 5m line.

The first attempt by Caithness was thwarted, but the penalty was repeated and from this the hard-running centre took two would be tacklers over the line as he touched down under the posts.

The conversion attempt was a formality to give Caithness a seven point lead at the interval.

Reds started the second half with more purpose.

One of the few good handling moves of the afternoon saw Shaun Gray and Jordan Grubb prevented from scoring on the right hand side of the pitch and shortly thereafter Kain Duguid being denied by a good tackle on the left by the visiting full back.

Michael Delorey made a good break also on the left of the park and a pass to winger Duguid maight have been more profitable than his dummy attempt which the defending player he faced did not buy.

With the cancellation of the Colts game, Neil McAlonie took a break from his coaching duties and joined in with the other replacements early in the second-half.

This resulted in a complete re-organisation of the back line.

These changes bore fruit when a typical break by Shaun Gray created space for Michael Delorey, now operating at full back.

He hit the pass with greater momentum than he can build up from his usual scrum-half position and never looked like being stopped by the defence.

Gray levelled the scores.

Regulars at Carleton were willing their side to kick the ball to the bottom corner and apply pressure from there but this tactic was ignored.

A speculative kick into the Caithness half raised hopes when the defender knocked the ball on.

However this optimism was misplaced as Reds lost their own scrum.

The ball ended up with the Caithness replacement, the only player on the park whose strip now showed the team colours.

Neil McAlonie was adjuged to have tripped the attacker and saw a yellow card.

Caithness thus saw a chance to win the game with a penalty on halfway on the stroke of full-time.

The kick missed but Reds, in a display of inexplicable bravado, attempted to run the ball from their own goal line – something they had not looked capable of doing for the previous 80 minutes.

The result of this was another penalty to Caithness, much closer than their previous attempt.

This too was missed and unbelievably Redsm showed that they had not learned from their previous over enthusiasm.

The ball was dropped this time and rolled into touch, although there was a half-hearted appeal that an attacker had exerted downwards pressure on the ball over the goal line before this happened.

A draw was on the evidence of the game a fair result.

Home coach Tom Hainey blamed the conditions for the result, expressing his disappointment that his backs had been unable to show the form he had seen in training and which had also been seen in flashes last week.

GLENROTHES: S Dean, J Grubb, S Varney , S Gray, K Duguid, S Hainey, M Delorey, S Munro, D Butchard, G Dryburgh-Cook, D McGregor, J Cowan, R Wilson, J Birrell, G Linton Replacements - C Kavanagh, M Polatajko, N McAlonie.

JOHN GOODALL

*Elsewhere, the 2nd XV made the short trip to Cupar where they suffered a 31-19 reverse despite tries from Stewart Andersen (2), and Scott Cairns, with Connor Baxter making two conversions.

The colts game on Saturday was postponed due to the rain on Friday night which played such a crucial role in the first XV game.

On Sunday, the under 16’s stuck in well but were eventually well beaten by Perthshire and the under 14’s enjoyed a victory by 15-10 against local rivals Kirkcaldy.

Next weekend the firsts head for Aberdeen to face Gordonians while the seconds will face a tough task at home to Stirling County. The colts will provide the warm-up entertainment with a match against Perthshire. On Sunday the under 16’s entertain local rivals Dunfermline and the under 14’s face Hillfoots away. The minis have another training session.