Linden enjoyed a day of mixed weather and fortune when they competed at the Annan RFC annual 15-aside tournament for the Violetbank Shield last Saturday.
Due to late call-offs, the tournament comprised two sections of three teams playing 20 minutes each half. Linden were in pool two with Dumfries and Stewartry.
Linden played Dumfries in their first match and had the advantage of a strong wind and driving rain at their backs. Both teams were evenly matched in the early stages with both defences on top. Some indifferent refereeing allowed Dumfries to work their way to the Linden line and from a strong scrum they pushed over for the first try. Linden stormed back down the field and spurned a couple of good opportunities when the last pass was not held. Again the Linden defended stoutly but Dumfries worked the ball wide and their winger crashed over in the corner for their second try. In the second half Linden more than held there own until the last Five minutes when tiring legs let Dumfries run in two well constructed tries which were both converted. Final score Linden 0 Dumfries 24 which slightly flattered Linden’s higher-ranked opponents.
In the second match of the day Linden played Stewartry and this time they faced the elements in the first half. Linden started with a bang hitting Stewatry back in the tackle and causing havoc with some great breakout runs. It was no surprise that the Linden took the lead through a barnstorming run from Sean Goodfellow. Linden kept up the tempo and again it was that man Goodfellow who scored his and Lindens second try converted by Stewart Renwick. Half time score Linden 12 Stewartry 0. With the elements in their favour the Linden never looked in danger and they added to their tally when the ball was moved sweetly to Greg Cunningham who crashed over in the corner for an unconverted try. The linden rounded of the match when Conor Gracie made a fine break up the wing and fed to Will Barker to score with Renwick adding the conversion. Final score Linden 24 Stewartry 0.
The tournament was won by Dumfries who easily defeated Newton Stewart in the final.
Although not reaching the final this proved a worthwhile exercise for the Linden giving them some valuable early season match practice. Commitment and fitness was good on the day and the whole squad played their part in difficult conditions.