Author - Mike Robins

January 2014

2nd XV suffer a big defeat in their hardest game for years!

perthshire rfc logo 
Foots’ 2nd XV came up against a big, experienced side at Tillicoultry and it soon became evident why Perth are the league leaders as their big forwards proceded to take a stranglehold on the game.  This denied Foots the ablity to bring their game plan of  moving the Perth heavyweights about into play, thus denying the Foots backs any clear attacking chances.
Foots spent most of the match defending which they did heroically to a man.
Perth attacked from the whistle and although first Jack McClymont and then Cameron Wallace made brilliant breaks, Perth maintained their stranglehold and their big forwards soon began ‘carrying well’, driving the Foots back and running in tries.
Half Time Foots 0 – Perth 36
Foots playing uphill struggled to contain Perth in the second half and had no answer to Perths driving forward play which tired them leading to more tries.
Final Score Foots 0 – 91 Perthshire
Foots were pleased to welcome newcomers Guy Harewood and Mike Evans who slotted in well, thank you guys.
Foots also inroduced colt Dougie Dawson who fitted in well, playing very assuredly and putting in some good tackles, well done Dougie.
Despite the score Foots never gave up trying and tackled their socks off with Ryan Butterworth being made man of the match by virtue of his tackle rate.
This week we travel to Dundee to play the medics.

13 from 13 for the 1st XV!

Dundee uni

Hillfoots 1st XV 35 – 15 Dundee University
Hillfoots made it 13 from 13 with a 6 tries to two victory over the University.  Dundee started the stronger and after ‘Foots knocked on, the young Uni side drove towards the visitors line.  Hillfoots tackling was solid but were eventually penalised for not rolling away.  The penalty was easily converted.  From the kick off Hillfoots set about taking control of the game.  The forwards were dominant in the set piece and were looking hungry for the ball.  The backs looked confident in attack and defence.  ‘Foots grabbed the lead after several drives for the line were denied a score.  The ball was moved left of the posts before coming back the opposite way, allowing Andrew Hamilton to crash over.  Gregor Manson converted.  Mark Hunter added to his tally for the season after the backs had taken the ball deep into the home ’22.  With the forwards arriving in numbers it was left to Hunter to pick up and crash over.  Manson converted a penalty to leave the visitors up by 15-3.

The next score was a beauty.  Gregor Mcintosh stole the ball on his own 10 metre line and set off for the line.  Mcintosh took the ball deep into the home ’22 before being swallowed up by the covering defence.  With the chance looking to have gone, a neat offload to the ever present Davy Cree allowed the Hillfoots legend to crash over.
Half time 20 – 3
Hillfoots kicked off into the slight breeze, which had certainly died down from the first half.  The forwards turned over ball and the backs managed to get within 10 meteres of the line.  Dundee cleared but from the resultant lineout a catch and drive was finished off with a score from Gregor Mcintosh.  The visiting scrum was in total command at the set piece.   Hillfoots were now playing most of the game in the home half.  Sandy Penman was next up.  The backs once again took the ball deep into the home ’22.  The forwards were held up a couple of times before Penman crashed over.  A penalty try should have came next after the pack drove Dundee over the line only for the scrum half to come in at the side and kick the ball away.  The try was only delayed as ‘Foots opted for the scrum.  Chris Beetham showed good footwork this time guide the ball over and touchdown.

The game became a bit scrappy after this with 2 or 3 niggling injuries setting in for both teams. The Uni rallied towards the end and picked up a couple on consolation scores.
This was a solid team performance with 1 to 19 giving their all.

Next week sees Hillfoots play the first of 2 massive games against Glenrothes, the first one for league honours and the week after for place in the final of the Caledonia Shield.

December 2013

1st XV continue to progress in the Bowl

crieff & strathearn

Hillfoots 27 – 7 Crieff
Hillfoots progressed to the next round of the Bowl with a hard fought victory over Crieff.  With Crieff playing in a lower division, the game was played using U-19 law variations, which meant that the scrum was only allowed to be driven a meter and a half.  With the ‘Foots scrum dominant this season, one of their main strengths was curtailed.  Crieff started the brighter and showed early on that weren’t going to be pushovers. Hillfoots gradually began to take control and after 10 minutes took the lead with Gregor Manson finishing off in the corner. Hillfoots extended their lead shortly after.  The forwards gathered from the lineout and from about 10 meteres out drove Crieff back over their line allowing Gregor McIntosh to touch down.  Crieff pulled a score back with a dubious penalty try.  The scrum half took a quick tap and knocked the ball through the gap into space.  The ‘Foots defence seemed to have it covered, but a fumble allowed the 9 to follow up and hack the ball on.  With the ball crossing the deadball line the home man ran into a Hillfoots defender and the ref awarded the try but no yellow card, very strange.  ‘Foots hit straight back and were soon pressuring the home line.  A couple of wrong options delayed the score, before David Mcculloch and Sandy Penman linked to allow Penman to crash over.  With half time approaching Andrew Hamilton broke the line with a beatifully timed run and had to much pace and power for the home side.  Gregor Manson kicked one conversion.
Half time 22-7
The second half was forgettable with Hillfoots struggling to cope with the refs inconsistency at the breakdown.  All too often good play was spoiled with a penalty given away at crucial times.  Jamie Murchie made a welcome return and scored the halfs only try, plucking the ball out of the air, much to the disbelief of the home team.
Hillfoots meet Glenrothes in the next round and a much improved performance will be needed if they are to progress to the Final.

2nd XV battled hard against Stirling Bridgehaugh on Sat 30 November


Stirling came to Tillicoultry on saturday with a strong, much changed side side and Foots., did very well to pressurise Stirling for much of the game.

Foots welcomed Jordan Usher for his first senior game.

The game started at a frenetic pace and it wasn’t long before Cameron Wallace made a good ‘catch and return’ covering 3/4 of the pitch to put pressure on the Stirling fullback, thereby setting the tone of the first half.  Foots won the resultant line outout and set up a drive which resulted in Elliot Firth being held up over the Stirling line and Tom Gelling, who was playing his first game this season due to injury, barged over for a try, welcome back Tom.

With both sides putting in some strong runs the defences were stretched, and only resolute defending and a series of penalties kept the score down.  Derek Paterson had to leave the field for a while for attention leading to uncontested scrums, during which time Stirling’s strong running captain burst through to score a try which they converted.

Jack McClymont came close for Foots., then a series of attempts by Ryan Butterworth, Iain Kellie and Graham Cree came close before Stirling scrambled the ball away.

Cameron Wallace then scored probably the best try of the day after Andy Allan had had a run and put Jack McClymont awa, Jack managed to get the ball to Graham Cree who was backing up and he in turn got the ball to Cameron who ran round the opposition.  This try was converted by Jordan Usher.

Half time Foots 12 – Stirling 7.

Playing downhill in the second half Stirling started with real determination and the Foots, did well to hold them at bay, but injuries to Jack, Elliot and Cameron disrupted the team and Stirling took advantage, eventually breaching the Foots line for an unconverted try.  This was a testing time for Foots with only one sub., available and says a lot for their determined attitude.

Despite some good line out possesion and strong rucking Foots were kept at bay by Stirling.  It was during this period that Cameron Wallace, (arguably man of the match), was ‘taken out’ by a blatant shoulder charge which was unfortunately not spotted by the referree.

During the reorganisation period Stirling ran in another unconverted try.

Despite a final flurry by Foots., when Eric Hewitt had a couple of determined runs they were unable to breach the Stirling line.

Final score Foots 12 – Stirling 19

This was a steep learning curve for some of the younger players who stepped up to the mark and pushed a good Stirling side all the way.

Well done, we are not far short of being an exceptional team so lets make an effort to train together more.

1st XV in victory over Harris

Hillfoots 1st XV 33 – 19 Harris Academy 1st XV

Harris Academy RFC
Hillfoots impressive start to the season continued with a hard fought victory against nearest challengers Harris.  Hillfoots kicked off uphill, but with the kicked dropping short it was the visitors that had the first oppurtunity to apply the pressure.  Hillfoots defended well and soon began to make ground.  A penalty was kicked to touch and from the lineout the ball was secured and driven over the visitors line with Gavin Spowage having the final say.  Hillfoots failed to capitalise and Harris took a deserved lead, once again from a catch and drive from the lineout.  A Gregor Manson penalty restored ‘Foots lead.  Both teams were showing a willingness to run the ball, which was making an entertaining game for the spectators.  ‘Foots stretched their lead after Calum Mcgee took the ball to within inches of the line.  With the cover defence thinking they’d done their job a neat offload to Grant Carmichael saw the young fullback squeeze over in the corner.  The half closed with Harris on the front foot but the Hillfoots defence was not in the mood to let anyone through.
Half time 13-7
The second half began with neither team able to take a grip of the game.  Play moved between the ’22s and once again defences were on top.  Gradually ‘Foots began to put some urgency into their game.  Another penalty was kicked to touch 10m out from the visitors try line.  Another set move and this time it was Nik Binning that had the oppurtunity to score.  Manson kicked the conversion.  Once again Hillfoots failed to kill the game off and it was the visitors that were next on the scoresheet.  Another lineout providing the score for Harris.  Andrew Hamilton kicked a penalty to give the home side some breathing space.  Harris were trying to make a game of it and were running the ball at every oppurtunity.  The Hillfoots defence was ferocious with Paterson, Hunter, Beetham, Binning and McIntosh to the fore.  Sandy Penman sealed the bonus point, first to react when the ball squirmed out the ruck.  Still not done Harris pulled back another score, going over in the corner.  From the kick off ‘Foots put the visitors back into their 22.  Harris tried to run the ball but were going sideways and backwards such was the intensity of the Hillfoots tackling.  A turnover was quickly shipped along the line to the waiting front row of Hunter, Penman and Slade.  Slade got his hands on the ball first and set off into the 22, a neat chip went in behind the defence and the big man powered his way past the winger to win the race to the touchdown.  Hillfoots played out the remainder of the game in the Harris half.     


November 2013

10 wins from 10 for Hillfoots 1st XV


Hillfoots 50 – 10 Panmure.
Hillfoots kept their unbeaten run intact with a clinical first half performance in Dundee on Saturday afternoon.  On a narrow pitch, ‘Foots struggled to cope at the start, but once they realised straight running was the way the forward the gaps began to open up.  The pack was immense, taking almost all of the scrums and the ones they didn’t they disrupted to deny Panmure any kind of platform.

Mark Hunter was first on the scoresheet, touching down from a driving maul from a lineout.  Fellow prop Sandy Penman was next finishing off a fine move in the corner. Penman collected his second 10 minutes later after a 5 metre scrum was driven over the home line.  With the home defence in disarray Penman was quickest to react, touching down the loose ball.  Next up was Alex Cameron.  Good hands from the backs created space for Cameron to glide past the covering defence.  The next try was a peach.  Straight from the kick off the forwards shifted the target and opened the field for the backs. More good hands from Hamilton and Mcgee left Cameron one on one with his opposite number.  With only the narrowest of gaps to play with, Cameron showed great footwork to leave his man grasping at thin air and scoring under the posts.  Chris Beetham finished of the scoring with a pushover try.

Gregor Manson kicked 4 out of 6 conversions.
Half time 38 – 3
The second half left the visitors frustrated with the referee apparently trying to even up the game, being far stricter with the visitors.  Panmure pulled a score back after a loose ball at a lineout was scooped up by their wing forward who forced his way over.  Hillfoots tried hard to get some structure into their but were struggling with penalties against.  Eventually ‘Foots got the break they were looking for.  Calum Mcgee got away with a lucky bounce off his knee and from the ensuing chase touched down to ease Hillfoots nerves.  Panmure kicked off short and from the resultant scrum Chris Beetham picked and drove for the home line.  Andrew Hamilton once again came in at a nice angle, taking the ball at pace and going over under the posts.  Hamilton converted.Hillfoots defence was tested at the end but held firm.  Another good win, with the discipline in the second half excellent.

Sandy Penman was Man of the Match, however this was another good team performance.

Hillfoots look forward to facing Creiff next week in the next round of the cup.     

1st XV in a convincing win over Kinross RFC


Hillfoots 89-3 Kinross

As the score suggests, Hillfoots were too good for bottom team Kinross.

The visitors stuck with it till the end but had no answer to Hillfoots firepower.  From the kick off Hillfoots forwards secured the ball and after 2 quick rucks the ball was shipped out along the back line.  Good hands and some excellent off loading saw Gavin Paterson finish off the move with barely a minute on the clock.   The off loading was particularly impressive throughout the game despite the difficult conditions.  Gareth Parry was next to score after loose ball was hacked up field, Parry winning the chase to the loose ball.  Alexander Cameron added to his tally for the season, before Andrew Hamilton added the bonus point.  Kev Aitken collected his first of the day, followed by Cameron going over for his second of the day.  A brief interlude saw Kinross register a penalty.  Normal play resumed and Kenny Paterson collected his first of the afternoon to finish off the scoring in the first half.

Half time 41-3

The second half followed the same pattern with Hillfoots scoring at regular intervals.  The rain was making handling difficult but’Foots were coping with conditions well.  Aitken and Hamilton collected their second tries of the game, before the forwards got back in on the act.  Mark Hunter collected the kick off and carried the ball up to the visitors 10 metre line, a neat offload to the rampaging Keith Slade saw the big man too quick for the covering defence.  Kenny Paterson doubled his tally, quickly followed by a Gregor Mcintosh score.  With play becoming scrappy it was ‘Foots that were winning the 50-50 balls.  Moving into the last quarter ‘Foots tightened things up allowing  Kev Aitken to collect his third try of the day.  Nik Binning was next to score, scooping up a loose lineout tap and showing a clean pair of heels to the line.  Replacement fullback Ali Page finished off the scoring with a well timed run putting himself through the gap and into acres of space.  The kicking duties were shared with Gregor Manson 3, Andrew Hamilton 2 and Jamie Doyle and Ali Paige 1 each.

1st XV defeat Grangemouth

grange mouth

Hillfoots 17-10 Grangemouth

Hillfoots unbeaten start to the season remained intact, but not without a nervy finish to the game.  Grangemouth belied their mid table position and played some good rugby.  This was a day where both defences were excellent with some big hits going in from both sides.  ‘Foots started the stronger and were soon pushing the Grangemouth line but a combination of a greasy ball and some solid tackiling saw the Stags hold out.  Gradually the visitors pulled themselves into the game and opened the scoring with a penalty after Hillfoots strayed offside at a ruck.  ‘Foots response was swift.  The ball was kicked long.  Grangemouths forwards secured the ball and took it on on a couple of phases before moving it along their backs.  The clearance kick didn’t find touch.  Kenny Paterson collected and fed Ian Nicoloson, who’s intrusion into the line opened up the gap for Gavin Paterson.  Paterson carried well and offloaded to Alexander Cameron who glided past his man for ‘Foots opening score.  Gregor Manson converted.  With the pack dominant this should have signalled the floodgates to open.  Two forward passes were called by the ref in quick succession with the defence breached.  Grangemouth looked impressive in defence, often dislodging the ball in the tackle.

Half time 7-3

Hillfoots started the second half well but were unable to get over the gain line with any kind of momentum. The visitors were begining to put the phases together and took the lead with a well worked try.  The ball was carried into the bottom left corner.  The visiting forwards had a couple of goes at the line before shipping it along the backs for a try on the right of the posts.  Hillfoots now found themselves behind in the second half for the first time this season. ‘Foots gradually worked their way into the Stags territory and it seemed only a matter of time before the try would come.  Moving into the last quarter captain Hamilton opted for three points and Manson duly levelled the scores.  The game was in ‘Foots hand now.  Hillfoots thought they’d scored but Gregor Mcintoshs attempt at the line was deemed a double movement.  The visitors cleared but ‘Foots regained the lineout and drove back towards the line.   With the ball held up, Hillfoots went for the pushover, with the scrum begining to disintegrate, Gav Spowage had no option but to pick up and secure the ball.   Hillfoots retained possession and with the forwards recovering quickly, Chris Beetham took the ball round the side and over for the try.  Gregor Manson converted.  With 6 minutes remaining Hillfoots dug deep and showed a lot of character.  Grangemouth pushed hard for the leveller.  The back row of Parry and Binning had tackled themselves into the ground along with Man of the Match Davy Cree.  Grangemouth launched one final attack, but a crunching tackle from behind from Andrew Hamilton dislodged the ball.  ‘Foots secured possession and from the resultant ruck the visitors conceded the penalty allowing Hamilton to boot the ball into touch and signal the end of the game. 


October 2013