Glenrothes RFC 43, Hillfoots 25
The final league game of the season was a 12 try feast of attacking rugby in which Glenrothes secured the runner-up spot and a play off against Garioch and Ellon for promotion to RBS Caledonia League Division 1.
Hillfoots had won the league weeks ago and last weekend lost their unbeaten record. While they may have felt there was little to play for in this fixture they did not give that impression once the whistle blew.
Playing downhill with a strong breeze behind them they scored the first two tries to take a 0-10 lead. Both followed penalties, taken quickly by burly centre Andrew Hamilton while the defence was still trying to get organised and barrelling over the line.
Glenrothes inside centre Cammy Goodall then matched his opposite number with a brace of tries himself. The first from a quick penalty taken by Michael Delorey, and his second following a superb push by the Red forwards who drove their opponents off their own scrum ball.
The visitors went back into the lead from a lineout 15m from the Glens’ right corner flag as Kenny Paterson forced his way over the line.
Daryl Warrender tied the scores again with the final try of the first half as he backed up a Delorey break. Shaun Gray’s conversion looked to be on target but Hillfoots’ Paterson charged the ball down.
The second half began as had the first with Hillfoots taking an early lead through Jamie Murchie. Glenrothes equalising try fell to Steven Varney, who outpaced the defence to score near the posts.
Shaun Gray slotted the conversion for the first successful kick of the afternoon and to give Glenrothes the lead for the first time. This try also secured the bonus point which ensured the runner up spot.
Steven Dean had taken to the pitch at inside centre, with Goodall moving out a position and Gray reverting to his usual full back berth. It was Dean who claimed the fifth Glenrothes try when he launched himself at the defence from 22m out and charged through attempted tackles.
Jordan Grubb replaced Varney shortly after his try and grabbed the sixth try as he rounded off a passing move with a sprint down the left wing.
Hillfoots were still contesting the game fiercely and Hamilton claimed his hat-trick with another breenge from close range. Again the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Goodall, not to be outdone, then matched this with a third try.
Hillfoots were pressing on the Reds’ 22m line when an untidy ball bounced high and was grabbed by the centre for a 75m dash for the posts. Gray’s conversion was the last score of an excellent game of rugby.
Goodall’s hat trick earned him man of the match plaudits though Daryl Warrender whose strength in both attack and defence was awesome was a serious contender for this honour.
Head coach Tom Hainey said he was delighted with the team’s performance. “Hillfoots were deserved winners of the league having been the most consistent team over the course of the season but I am really proud of the attitude of our boys who finished the league as the form team,” he said.
Play-off dates have still to be confirmed.
Glenrothes: K Duguid, R Venters, C Goodall, S Gray, S Varney, S Hainey, M Delorey, L Fowlis, G Linton, S Bell, R Thomson, R Hutchison, K Christie, D Warrender, R Douglas. Replacements: C Baxter, M Caldwell, S McAlpine, S Dean, J Grubb, R Bryce, M Byers.