Hillfoots 6, Glenrothes 12
The winter weather finally relented enough to allow the Glens to play their first game in five weeks at Tillicoultry on Saturday.
With the development squad suffering another cancellation there was good support for the travelling team in what was bound to be a difficult game.
Hillfoots kicked off playing down the sloping pitch. Glenrothes fielded the ball inside their 22m area but the home side’s chase was good and referee Ronnie Innes decided that a tackler was obstructed and awarded a penalty.
Stand off Andrew Hamilton slotted a relatively easy kick to give his side an early lead.
Much of the rest of the first half was a war of attrition before Glenrothes took the lead shortly before half time.
A successful line-out saw the ball passed along the back line to Cammy Goodall who made good ground before passing out to Steven Varney who touched down in the left corner. The conversion attempt from Gray was hooked to give a half time score of 3-5.
The second half started off with the home team attacking the Glens’ line and Hamilton attempting a drop goal. This was off target but he made amends when Mr Innes awarded a penalty for an earlier infringement on the 22m line in front of the posts.
The Hillfoots lead was, however, short lived. From the restart, the ball was allowed to bounce and Barry Crookston took full advantage.
He grabbed the loose ball and strode forward, handing off two players before passing to Ross Hutchison, who was tackled short of the goal line, but the ball was recycled and passed through the hands of Stewart Hainey, Michael Delorey and Cammy Goodall before Shaun Gray touched down to the left of the posts.
Gray’s conversion of his try made the score 6-12.
There were no more scores in the second half but with the scores so close the outcome was in doubt right to the end of the game.
Referee Innes played a prominent role in the second half showing a yellow card to Crookston for a dangerous tackle, while later in the half the home team’s number 17 was shown a red card for swinging punches.
Just before the end of the game Crookston earned his second yellow after being adjudged to have tried to play the ball without regaining his feet after making a tackle.
The big forward is adamant that he was in fact on his feet and it will be interesting to see if there is video evidence to back his assertion.
Stewart Hainey was judged to be man of the match for his overall contribution and a try saving tackle.
Reflecting on the first match of 2015 Glens’ head coach Tom Hainey said he was relieved and delighted to have registered the win.
He said: “It has taken me four seasons to get a win here at Hillfoots and I had said in my pre-match comments that we would need to be at full strength to get anything from the game.
“Given the lengthy lay off I can forgive some of the rustiness that the boys showed at times, that will improve as we get more game action under our belts.”
The only other game in BT Caledonia League 1 was played at Thurso where league leaders Orkney recorded an 8-3 victory against Caithness to maintain their two point lead over Glenrothes at the top of the table.
Next week sees Glenrothes entertain Mackie while the development squad have yet another idle weekend.
Glenrothes: S Gray, R Bryce, A Campbell, C Goodall, S Varney, M Delorey, S Hainey, L Fowlis, G Linton, S McAlpine, R Douglas, R Hutchison, B Crookston, D Warrender, K Christie. Replacements: R Thomson, M Caldwell, S Stewart, M Polatajko.