Resurgent Reds Reborn
By Adam Clark
Frank the Pug reports from Union Park
Peebles Reds travelled to Union Park to play Corstophine Cougars 2nd XV in high spirits following record numbers at training on Thursday night. 24 players had attended leaving no space for a couple of ‘auld heeds’ to take to the field. A very welcome and new problem at Peebles RFC.
The squad was bolstered by the return of Ryan McConnel from injury and the attendance of Andy Muir on the come back trail to the 1st XV following injury layoff. Overall the squad enjoys good competition across all positions barr Prop. Where have all the big guys gone... a problem across Scottish Clubs on a whole. Perhaps McConnell and Muir could pack down!!
Long suffering team manager Lee Darker and veteran coaches Keith Nisbet and Mark Smith for the first time in a very long time have some decent substance to work with and selection head aches.
The ‘Reds’ formally known as the 2nd XV have been on some what of a resurgence this year. The new name was a decision put forward after a unanimous vote from the players, and subsequently backed by the board. We await formal confirmation from Scottish Rugby and a new set of strips befitting of the re-brand. However the ‘Reds’ spirit as the development XV for Peebles RFC is well and truly alive and is embodied by captain Graham Hogarth who has been the catalyst behind a lot that is good with the Reds, not to mention the efforts of motivator in chief Euan Jackson.
In the first half Peebles wracked up 42 points, and conceded only an unconverted try. A disappointment to concede having kept a clean sheet for three weeks running however no one would argue their should have been an interjection from the referee following some very unusual interpretations of the ruck laws from Corstorphine. Surely a marker of the teams progression that it was taken with such contempt.
Strong running from McConnel and Muir and Hogarth’s athleticism were just to much for the defence to handle through out the first 40 minutes.
In the second half the Cougars did enjoy a couple of purple patches where their large forward pack and meaty centres did bring some go forward to the team. However the Reds young backline were able to stretch their legs and run in a host of tries from mainly first and second phase possession.
Try scorers on the day were
Callum Butler x2, Cameron Thrall x2, Buster Davidson, Graham Hogarth x2, Andy Muir, Thomas Sloan, Davy Brown, Robert Harrison,
Taine Anderson, James Dow, James Mathews and Adam Mcdonald. Adam Mcdonald also converted 10 and managed to ping 4 off the posts!!
A fine afternoon for Adzy who was filling in for the old man of the Reds back line, and 2 times MoM winner Greg McConnel who was unavailable. We can only assume Greg was out with his golden paint brushes somewhere. Adzys try finish was straight out of the scorpion montage of Fail Army... like some sort or break dancing. Only to be bested by Adam Clark’s failed tackle attempt which resulted in a him flat out and back flipped in an instant, air miles were indeed collected on his way to the touch line!!! DoD was only averted by a swift exit from the club rooms.
Robert Harrison collected the Man of the Match award following a decent afternoons service from scrum half, an ability to stay up in the tackle and overall great game control.
Kudos to Callum Gray and Jacko who both travelled but were unable to play due to the squad being limited to 22. The only way to guarantee a game now is to get yourself to training... unless you’re a Tight-Head!!
The team now faces somewhat of a lay off as the next League game in the diary is the 1st of December versus Edinburgh Accies Blues at home. This is shaping up to be a table topping crunch match and will be a real test for the squad, a large crowd would of course be appreciated.
However fixtures are hoped to be arranged to plug the gaps during November including a Border Cup match against Jed-Forest 2nd XV.
The real test for the Reds now lays ahead, with the season now fragmenting with Autumn Tests, Christmas, winter cancellations and the Six Nations disrupting the flow, the challenge will be to keep this early season momentum up and the squad together and regularly training. The positive wave of energy the team are enjoying can hopefully be maintained and take them forward through to the crunch matches at the steep end of the league. Over to you Hoggy.