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August 28        HILLFOOTS RFC 15 - DALZIEL RFC 11

In this opening match of the season at picturesque Tillicoultry Public Park at the foot of the Ochil Hills, the only pretty aspect of the afternoon was the surrounding scenery.

In National League Division One, a League with no sponsor, no prizes and no money, the game never really emerged from its summer torpor with the hoary Hillfoot veterans playing their particular brand of ten-man rugby.

Dalziel again introduced products of their Youth System to the First Fifteen with David Aitken, Jamie Hillis and Kyle Mathieson joining last year’s under-18 Scotland Caps, Gary Strain and Craig Simmons.

The youngsters strove to play running rugby but with the ball rarely seeing daylight in the backs, their inexperience at this level drew them into conceding far too many technical infringements, allowing Hillfoots to rack up no less than five penalties in the course of the game.

Robert Simpson notched two penalty kicks for the Visitors and, from a steal ball at a line out, the ball was whipped along the Dalziel back division to winger, Kyle Mathieson, who scored an encouraging try wide on the left. This took the score at the midpoint of the second half to Hillfoots 9 - Dalziel 11.

Despite continuing to press for long periods, a string of penalty decisions against when the Dalziel forwards were pressing strongly, along with dogged Hillfoot defence, denied Dalziel further scores. In fact, shortly after the Dalziel score, Dalziel surges towards the line took them over but a controversial decision by the Referee disallowed the score for an alleged knock-on at a critical point.

Hillfoots closed the game down by scoring their fourth and fifth penalties in the last ten minutes to take the points, leaving the limited consolation to Dalziel of a single bonus point for being within the seven points of the winner.

With Barry Turnbull and Robert Simpson being the veterans in the Dalziel back division at twenty-two years of age, the Club’s Youth Policy will undoubtedly continue to pay dividends.

The hardworking and patient Dalziel Coaches, David and Jimmy Wiley, continue to be committed to running the First Fifteen with talent developed from the North Lanarkshire Community in accordance with modern thinking from the SRU at Murrayfield.

Dalziel look forward to several more experienced players returning to the team following injury and the whole Club are looking forward to another enjoyable season of open rugby.

The Second Fifteen game unfortunately was cancelled by Allan Glens and, whilst the Third Fifteen are already to enter Third Fifteen League, there was no opposition available for them to continue their series of warm-up matches.

At Dalziel Park the under-18s won a hard fought victory against a big Uddingston side by 36 points to 7.

September 4          ARDROSSAN RFC 27 – DALZIEL RFC 14

The young Dalziel side visited Memorial Field in Ardrossan for this National Division 1 fixture and got another harsh lesson in the realities of League Rugby.

Despite starting fairly well and holding their own territorially, Dalziel found themselves two tries down inside 25 minutes, through naïve and weak defending.

The loss of veteran tight-head prop Barclay, with an eye injury, added further problems for the visitors. There were some flashes of good play, notably involving Simmons, Morrison and Reid and on one occasion Hill was inches short of the Ardrossan line. But Ardrossan held firm and Dalziel’s frustration led to indiscipline and the concession of a penalty, subsequently converted by Ardrossan stand-off Wilson to give the home side, a 20 – 0 lead at half time.

It was a much more determined Dalziel side that emerged after the break and they exerted considerable pressure on the Ardrossan line. The reward came initially when skipper Crawford Reid won the chase to score, following a clever kick through by scrum half Watson. Simpson added the conversion and Dalziel continued to hammer the home defence with spirited play from the forwards.

Dalziel crossed the line twice more from Simmons on the right and Aitken on the left, but the referee adjudged handling errors in both instances. Mathieson finally raced through for a second Dalziel score after good work by Simmons and quick handling by the backs. Simpson’s conversion took the score to 20 – 14 and Dalziel looked likely at this stage to close the gap further. However a change in tactics by Ardrossan led to a series of driving mauls, which took them back up the park and induced more indiscipline from Dalziel. The resultant penalties took the pressure off and Ardrossan fully capitalised by using a driving maul to set up a final try which, once converted by Wilson, effectively moved the game out of Dalziel’s reach at 27 – 14.

Coaches Davy and Jimmy Wylie will be disappointed at some of the schoolboy defending evident in the first half, but can take considerable reassurance from the rousing second half performance, as they prepare for the visit of Langholm to Dalziel Park this weekend.

7th September 2006 00:00:00
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