Injuries take toll on weakened Linden

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Linlithgow 52

Hawick Linden 0

Once again unavailability and injuries badly affected the Linden as they made the trip to Mains Park, Linlithgow. However, there were positives with promising BT East Regional League Division 1 debuts for PSA youngsters John Frew, Macaulay Parker and Kieran Murphy.

The home team took the lead when scrum-half Mikey Walker went blind from a scrum to touch down. Wing forward Stuart Bell then surged through a gap to go under the posts despite protests from the Royal Blues that a potential tackler had been impeded by the referee. Prop John Pauley went over from close range and two Jack Frame conversions put the home team 19-0 ahead.

A yellow card was shown to Bell for a dangerous tackle on Aaron Hume to give the Linden a man advantage and they did their best to capitalise. A line out catch by Stuart Hair saw the big middle row make a strong surge for the line but he was stopped just short. Murphy also had a penalty attempt at goal from half-way which just slipped wide.

Once back to full strength a second try by Walker converted by Frame made the half-time score 26-0.

The second period started disastrously for Linden as Ross Martin touched down and Frame converted. Injuries were starting to take their toll for the visitors with constant changes required. Further tries were scored by Garry Anderson, Walker (to complete his hat-trick) and Frame with the latter converting two. His last conversion stretched the lead to 52-0 and the referee’s final whistle brought relief for the Royal Blues who by this time had a number of players soldiering on in spite of injuries.

Despite the scoreline the Linden can be proud of their tackling, particularly at close quarters, against a big, strong side who have clearly spent more time in the gym than Greggs. It says a lot for the visitors’ young side that they continued to front up against a much more physical team.

Frew and Parker ran well when given the opportunity and Peter Drysdale, Gary Wardle and Hume put in big shifts up front. Man-of-the-match for the Royal Blues was young fly-half Kieran Murphy who showed some lovely touches in a most assured performance.

Hawick Linden: J Frew, G Baillie, E Hair, S Grant, M Parker, K Murphy, R Hamilton; J White, P Drysdale, S Spalding, S Hair, J Wilson, G Wardle, J Hogg, A Hume. Subs: S Beattie, A Fairbairn, G Cunningham.