A last-gasp try gave Glenrothes a 42-35 victory over Royal High in an 11-try thriller to round off a very successful RBS Rugby Force day at Carleton Park on Saturday.
The day started with a small army of volunteers painting and repairing the outside of the clubhouse, preparing food and setting up the barbeque and obstacle course for later in the day.
When guest of honour, Scottish internationalist Peter Horne, arrived he chatted with the volunteers, gave a hand with the decorating and spent time with both senior players and the youngsters enjoying the obstacle course.
By 3pm a sizeable crowd had gathered for the entertaining game. While a victory was welcome, there is clearly still much to do before the Glens’ first competitive match at Dunfermline in two weeks.
There were positives to take as a number of fringe players were given the chance to show that they can step up if needed. Grieve had a promising debut, Docherty and Emerson combined well in the back row, the scrum looked solid and Gray’s return brings a touch of the unexpected to go with his goal kicking and hard tackling.
Fife’s Rugby Development Officer Ant Reen featured for the visitors and he played an important role in the opening try. Reen broke from inside his own half shrugging off ineffective tackles to take play into the Glens 22m area and two passes later the ball was touched down behind the posts. The conversion gave Royal High a seven-point lead.
This did not last long as the Reds pushed into their opponents’ territory. A scrum on the 22m line saw new boy Russell Grieve hit the line at pace and crash over to the right of the posts. Duguid’s conversion tied the scores.
The sides traded further blows with Duguid converting after Emerson’s try but it was the visitors who led at the break 21-14.
Things got worse for the home team after the interval with two more converted tries for Royal High. More than once last season, Glenrothes allowed opponents to take a lead before clawing their way back into the contest and again that was the story of Saturday afternoon. Firstly, Kyle McIntosh intercepted a pass on the visitors 22m line and ran in untouched. Duguid slotted his third successful conversion.
Spurred on by this try Glenrothes pressed for more and Rhys Bryce eventually touched down in the corner. Gray took the first difficult conversion attempt of the day and steered the ball through the uprights. Emerson’s second try was merely delayed as he benefitted from a Docherty break again using his long reach to touch down midway between the uprights and the left hand corner flag. Gray again converted.
Duguid scampered over the line late on and Gray converted the attempt to seal the win. Next weekend, the Reds wrap up their pre-season games when they entertain Portobello at Carleton. Preceding this will be the fun and games of the club’s annual barbeque, moved this year from the end of season to the start.