Falkirk, Grangemouth Stags and Hillfoots RFCs are delighted to announce that next season their youth sides will be joining in partnership and playing together as Kelpies Rugby in the regional leagues
The Chairperson for this exciting development, Craig Bolan said “All three Clubs have been finding it difficult to field full youth teams at all ages on a regular basis due to the competing demands of school work and other interests. This exciting partnership will mean that Kelpies Rugby will firstly have large enough squads to regularly field full teams that will train and play together. Secondly, we will be able to combine resources – especially coaching to provide a strong development pathway from S1 all the way through the youth setup to U18 rugby and ultimately into adult rugby. There is no doubt that we are stronger together.”
This exciting opportunity is available to all boys and girls in the Forth Valley, with Kelpies Rugby being able to field teams at S1, S2, U16 and U18 as well as offering a pathway for girls rugby from U15s through to U18s. The partnership will permit the Kelpies Rugby teams to play with full squads and allow the boys and girls to experiment with different positions and have fun on the pitch, while providing a clear pathway from junior rugby through to the adult game where we can develop our young players to be the stars of the future.
Combining each Club’s resources in terms of coaching expertise and facilities can only be to the advantage of the kids who will benefit from not only the enhanced coaching available, but also excellent facilities such as Grangemouth Stag’s indoor training pitch which will be of great benefit in the winter and will keep the kids playing and training all season long.
If you are a youth rugby player and would like to take part in this exciting opportunity to have fun and develop your game of rugby, please email [email protected] for more information.
The end of the season does not mean the end of fun @hillfootsrfc!
Since I last emailed, we have had a number of events, not least our annual Dinner Dance – a massive thank you to Euan and Derek for organising yet another fantastic evening.
We have also supported both the Alloa Half Marathon and Rotary Club Nebbit Hill Walk – both have required a number of volunteers to assist and are a key source of income to the Club – a huge thank you to those volunteers.
Like many Clubs, our activities are successful only due to the time, effort and dedication of our volunteers and with more events coming up over the summer, we need everyone to lend a hand at the following events:
Set up for the Touch Tournament from 10-12am and then dismantling it from about 5-7 pm on Saturday 9 June.
Set up for the Tilly Gala from 11-12:30 and then manning our burger stall from 13-16:00, on Sunday 17 June.
These events bring in a significant amount of income that the Club needs to fund our plans for the seasons ahead – without everyone chipping in we cannot take the Club onward and upward!
Charity Touch Tournament in aid of Prostate Scotland
We’re hosting a touch rugby tournament on Saturday 9th Juneto raise money for Prostate Scotland. It will be normal touch rugby rules with the added rule that each team must have at least one female player playing at all times. Every team will get plenty of games throughout the afternoon and there will be live music and a Shorts n Shades party in the evening.
Why are we doing it?
Most of us know, or will know, someone affected by prostate cancer or other prostate problems. We’re delighted to be hosting this tournament to raise funds for Prostate Scotland and to raise awareness of the conditions. All profits will be donated to Prostate Scotland. It will also be a cracking day of rugby with friends old and new!
As if the prospect of a sunny afternoon in the park wasn’t enough, come down between 1pm and 2.30pm to see the famous trophy…you might even be lucky enough to get your hands on it!
The Annual General Meeting
Finally, we plan to hold our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 14 June 2018 at 7pm. If you would like to volunteer to join the Committee, raise any issues or questions for the current Committee – please speak to Derek Paterson on 07736466398.
Child Protection and PVG
As the Club’s Child Protection Officer, I would like to make a fresh start on everyone’s PVG status. To that end can I ask everyone who is interested in assisting the Junior or Youth Sections to see me at the Touch Tournament this Saturday, touch on Tuesday (12th) and AGM on Thursday (14th), or the Tilly Gala 16th to get a new form from me and complete it for next season. Many thanks,
Future of the Youth Side
Things are looking positive, but more to follow next week and on social media!
This weekend’s Action:
Hillfoots RFC Charity Touch Tournament in aid of Prostate Scotland, kick off at 1pm. Please help set up from 10am if you can (you may even get a free beer token!).
What a fantastic Saturday we had last weekend! The 1st XV travelled down the road to Dundee and put on a great show against Morgan Academy FP RFC who could not compete against the ‘Foots fast pace and well executed drills. It’s all to play for this weekend! The table shows that we retain our slender lead over Blairgowrie by a point and I am sure that the team will be focussed on finishing the season in style with a bonus point win, loads of tries and more great rugby. We would love to see you all down in the Park to support the team and see in the season in style! The Bar will be open and we have live music to kick the evening off in style!
The Rams had a cracking result at home against our friendly rivals Bannockburn – great to see the mix of wise old heads and aspiring young players! Hopefully this season’s ‘developmental league’ will put in a good position to have some regular rugby next season and develop the depth to our sides that we need to progress ever further!
While not a win, the Youth had a fantastic game of rugby against Blairgowrie at Falkirk on Sunday. It was real end to end rugby with the visitors ultimately coming away with a win 38 to 31.
Finally – our raffle for some great prizes has been launched on the website where you can electronically enter the raffle, or wait and get a paper ticket tomorrow. The prizes are outstanding! A unique Scotland shirt signed by some of the touring All Blacks from last year’s Autumn International; a Scotland shirt signed by the Calcutta Cup winning Squad; and a fantastic bottle of whisky kindly donated by Russell Sharp. You have got to be in it to win it!
The Hillfoots Raffle!
This is your chance to get your hands on some special rugby memorabilia!
It ranges from a unique Scotland Rugby Shirt signed by some of the New Zealand Touring side from last year’s Autumn Internationals, a Scotland rugby shirt signed by the Calcutta Cup winning side and for the whisky drinkers one of the last remaining bottles of whisky from the Rosebank Distillery in Falkirk. All you have to do is see one of the members of the Club with paper tickets or sign up using Go-Cardless using this link and we will enter you in the raffle.
The one ticket gives you the chance of winning one of the three prizes!
Back in November, Eddie Inglis and I were honoured to have been invited to the President’s Suite for the Scotland v New Zealand match. We had a fantastic day meeting more or less every possible former Scottish international – not least the indomitable Doddie Weir who launched his charity that evening. For those that do not know, the players from both sides eat in a different room from us mere mortals and then come in briefly for the Captain’s speeches, presentation of first caps and a quick beer if they are lucky! I had planned ahead and had bought a Scotland shirt and went around as many All Blacks as I could find to ask them to sign the shirt that we are now raffling – the signatures were scribbled on my hand, back and any surface that I could find for them to lean on! I do not think I am exaggerating by saying it is unique! You can clearly see, Kieran Reid under the thistle, Steve Hansen and Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea, Sam Kane, Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Whitelock to name but a few!
We were also fortunate to have had the opportunity to send our Club Development Officer Barry Munro to experience Murrayfield and the Captain’s Run prior to the Calcutta game! Barry was royally hosted by the SRU and Al Kellock who took the lucky few around the stadium on a grand tour. The highlight was having the opportunity to get autographs from the team, so Barry has kindly given us this shirt to auction off too! While not as unique as the All Black’s shirt – it will be a reminder of that special day when Scotland fought and won the Calcutta Cup back! Most rugby internationals seem incapable of writing legibly, but I am reliably informed that it is Greig Laidlaw’s signature under the thistle and Finn Russell’s opposite that! The rest you will have to decipher!
For only £10 you have the chance of winning this fantastic memento of a great Calcutta Cup win!
Last but by no means least we have a treat for whisky connoisseurs! Sadly the Rosebank Distillery at Camelon, founded in 1798 stopped distilling in 1993 before being sold off and developed as houses. Thanks to Russell Sharp, who has graciously given the Club a bottle of 12 year old Single Malt from the distillery. It was described in its heyday as a ‘light and distinctive’ malt whose flavour was well-balanced – many considered it to be the finest Lowland malt and Jim Murray (of the Complete Book of Whisky fame) believes it should rank in the top five of all Scottish Malts! If you Google it you will see that the Whisky Exchange is selling a bottle for £375 and the Whisky Barrel is selling a bottle for £1999.96!
For only £10 you have the chance of winning this historic bottle of whisky!
The Rams welcomed old rivals Bannockburn RFC to Tillicoultry on Saturday hoping to get revenge for a narrow defeat imposed by the visitors earlier in the season. The Rams started the match well and soon had the Bannockburn defence under pressure and were rewarded when David Cree scored a try after some great play. Jack McClymont increased the Rams lead when he finished off another fine move. As to be expected, Bannockburn started to win some ball of their own and started to make gains into the Rams territory. The home defence held and in fact scored again when scrum half, Lewis Coutts took a quick tap penalty and outpaced the visitors defence to touch down under the posts. Gregor Manson added the conversion. Bannockburn responded with some more forays into the Hillfoots half and were successful when they scored a converted try of their own. The Rams responded with a try scored by David Davidson to take them into the break with a 22- 7 lead.
The second half got under way in much the same fashion as the first and it was not long before Jack McClymont another try which was converted by Manson. For the next twenty minutes it was the visitors who dominated play and got themselves back into the match when they scored two tries. As the match entered the final quarter it was a try from Gavin Spowage that took the steam out of the Bannockburn fightback. As the clock wore down to no side the Rams secured a good win when Manson converted a fine try scored by David Simpson. Mitch McEwan added the icing to the cake when he crashed over in the last play of the game.
Easter Rugby Camp @ Hillfoots RFC
This weekend’s Action:
The 1st XV are at home to Carnoustie RFC with a 3pm kickoff, in our last league game of the season. With only 1 point between us and 1,000 points scored this season and Blairgowrie chasing us all the way to the end, here’s hoping to lost more points to see the season out in style!
It’s Easter Sunday! If you need to run off your Easter eggs, come down to the Park at 1000 for a fun game of Tag rugby – all ages from 5 to 75 can play!
OK – I won’t gloat too much, but what a fantastic end of the Six Nations for Ireland! Its always good to beat England (as the Scots well know), but even better to do it at Twickenham the same week that their coach provides even more reason to want to beat the auld enemy by calling your nation ‘scummy’! What a shame that England actually came 5th in the league table!
Scotland managed to pull off a late win in Italy much to everyone’s relief in the Clubhouse and the travelling supporters in Rome!
Last but by no means least, the winner of £400 from the Century Club was Alan Manson! To date, he has won £1400 from the Century Club having won the last mega draw at the Dinner Dance too! This Club gives some of the best odds and invests in the Club too. You can still sign up for the next draw for £400 which will be at the Annual Dance.
Finally – this weekend starts to bring the season to a close. The Rams take on local rivals Bannockburn at Tilly Park at 3pm – it would be great to see everyone in the Park shouting them on! The Bar obviously will be open to see the season in! Meanwhile the 1sts travel into darkest Fife to play bottom of the table Morgan. It will not be an easy game with Morgan giving us a good game with only 12 men when they visited us! Our lead to the top of the table is by a slender point, so maximum tries and a bonus point is definitely required!
Easter Rugby Camp @ Hillfoots RFC
This weekend’s Action:
The Rams are at home to Bannockburn RFC with a 3pm kickoff, while the 1st XV are away to Madras RFC.
Juniors – P1-P7 home training from 10am
S1/S2 playing as Hillkirk vs Blairgowire at Falkirk RFC for an 1115 meet with a 12pm kick off. If you need a lift let us know in the Youth Facebook page.
Well its time for Super Saturday! We will have not one but FOUR winners this weekend, with the opportunity to celebrate in the Club!
First off, we have Scotland traveling to Italy – will Townsend’s boys be able to reinforce Italy’s poor showing this season with a convincing win at the Stadio Olimpico? We were again fortunate to get a great mention last weekend in the Ireland v Scotland programme thanks to Jamie!
Attention then moves to Twickenham where England are out for revenge against Ireland for ruining their back to back Grand Slam last year in Dublin. Will the ‘scummy Irish’ (according to Eddie Jones) be able to win only their third Grand Slam? If Jones’ comments combined with St Patrick’s Day and the Irish luck at Cheltenham this week aren’t enough to do it, I am snot sure what is!
We then have Wales v France. I think that this will be one of the cracking games of the tournament – both sides have nothing to lose other than their pride! I hope we will be graced with some fantastic and daring rugby!
Last but by no means least, the final winner will be someone from the Rugby Club who will walk away with £400 from the Century Club! This Club gives some of the best odds and invests in the Club too. You can still sign up for the next draw which will be at the Annual Dance.
Finally – Happy St Patrick’s day, I hope that you enjoy this great weekend of rugby whatever team you support! The bar will be open for the matches this Saturday – hope to see you in the Park or Clubhouse this weekend to enjoy the banter and craic!
A Headbandage for Doddie
Following on from a great suggestion by Strathendrick, on Sunday we would like all of our P1-P7 teams and supporters to wear a iconic Doddie Weir head bandage during their festival. We would like everyone to donate, whether that he the kids giving up their pocket money or Mum and Dad giving their change to the bucket for his worthy charity. You can find out more about Doddie’s fund rasing at this link.
Speed & Agility Workshop – Hillfoots RFC
Thanks to Peter Jericevich from the SRU for running a great S&C workshop for us last Monday. These sessions are great for learning new skills and ‘best practice’ from one of the best coaches in Scotland – Peter coaches the Scotland Women’s team. The sessions are not just for coaches, but players and supporters who play other sports will always learn some transferable skills and drills!
Well done to Barry for leading a taster session in Tilly Primary – the kids loved their lunchtime run around – hopefully we can get a few more enticed to play the game in the Park on Sundays!
Easter Rugby Camp @ Hillfoots RFC
This weekend’s Action:
It’s Super Saturday!
The Clubhouse will be roaring to: Italy v Scotland, with a kick off at 1230; England v Ireland at 1445; and finally Wales v France at 1700! Come down and shout on your team!
Juniors: P1-P7 at Home vs Glasgow Accies, Strathendrick and Kinross. It’s an 1100 meet for an 1115 kick off. Please wear a Doddie headband and bring a donation towards Doddie Weirs MND Charity – more below:
Juniors: Teas and coffees will be in the Bar so we would like as many mums and dads to help us to host the visitors -please bring your usual fantastic home baking.
S1/S2 away with Hillkirk vs Blairgowire (PH10 6TR) for an 1115 meet with a 12pm kick off. If you need a lift let us know in the Youth Facebook page.
S3/S4 away with Falkirk vs Cumbernald (G67 4HA) for a 1245 meet.
Another big weekend of rugby awaits us! What great games we have on show – Scotland take on the unbeaten England, who the ‘head’ would say must be favourites. However, the ‘heart’ must be with Scotland! I am sure that the spectators and the occasion will add that extra special lift to the Scottish teams as they hope to regain the Calcutta Cup after 10 years! Meanwhile Ireland take on Wales – will the Welsh spoil Ireland’s chances of that Grand Slam game on St Patrick’s Day in Twickenham? And finally, can Italy beat the French – I would say that Connor O’Shea must fancy his chances!
One of the great things about rugby is the banter and craic – especially as the English are so easy to wind up! What is your answer to this famous BBC ad?
Finally, having spent last Friday afternoon speed filling out our RugbyForce application, I was delighted that Barry was selected to be one of 15 guests at the Captain’s Run at Murrayfield today! After breakfast at Murrayfield with Ali Kellock, he will get to watch the training and then get a full behind the scenes tour!
The bar will be open for the matches this Saturday – hope to see you in the Park or Clubhouse this weekend to enjoy the banter and craic!
The 1st XV v Kirkcaldy 2nd XV
After some heavy rain, Saturday 17th Feb saw Hillfoots XV host Kirkcaldy 2’s. This game was the last game before a four week break due to the 6 Nations fixtures, so both teams were looking to put it a shift and leave nothing out on the field. The conditions were cold and the pitch was heavy, and as the match kicked off, the visitors built some momentum and capitalised on some small errors by the hosts. After the first 5 minutes though, Hillfoots found their stride and started to build some attacking phases and began to score some early tries, after some excellent line breaks. The first half ended with Hillfoots scoring 4 tries with no reply from Kirkcaldy.
The second half began with Hillfoots playing in their opponent’s half for long periods and they scored 2 more well worked tries, one of them with an excellent individual break from the Hillfoots fullback who received a clearance kick and broke around the outside of the Kirkcaldy centres and ran over half the field to score. The rest of the game became a little more of a contested game as Kirkcaldy defended well at times and applied some of their own pressure on the home team. The game finished 38-0 to Hillfoots XV. The Hillfoots 2nd XV, the Rams played away at Bannockburn RFC in a close game that finished 16-12. Both teams have a break for a few weeks, the Rams host Aberfeldy on 10th March and Hillfoots 1st XV travel to Morgan RFC on 24th March.
The Rams v Bannockburn 1st XV
A hard fought match at Bannockburn – not bad when the the cumulative age of the forwards maxed out at 340!
This weekend’s Action:
No matches for the seniors – come down t the Club if you are not heading to Murrayfield!
Juniors are training at home in the Park from 10am.
Youth (S1 to S4) are training in Falkirk from 10am.
We were lucky to have had some good weather on Saturday in Tilly Park, where the 1st XV had a comprehensive victory over Falkirk RFC 2nd XV, while the Rams had a difficult away trip up to Arbroath. Meanwhile on Sunday, the Juniors had fun training in the Park and the Youth played with Falkirk against a strong Grangemouth side in a fantastic real end-to-end match.
We are fortunate to have had some great coverage in Scrum Magazine – one article focusing on the Slade Brother front row, copied below and another focusing on the Club, which I will copy next week! Hopefully you will be able to get your hands on a hard copy!
I do not think that I have ever been this excited about a 6 Nations tournament! There is so little between each of the teams that it could be anyone’s! Will it be Scotland who will lift it despite their long injury list? Wales are in a difficult position too. Can France or Italy pull it out of the bag, they are so unpredictable that they are nightmare for any opposition to plan against! You can never discount England – but let’s face it every Celt will be on the other side! I’m sure you have guessed who I will be supporting!
Finally, huge thanks to Mike Power, who has managed to get a bumper allocation of tickets for the Club this year! We are always over-subscribed and he does an outstanding job ensuring that you can get to see world-class rugby at both home and away fixtures.
Slade brothers have front-row seats at Hillfoots
Gary Heatly, from Scrum Magazine, catches up with three brothers who are enjoying playing in the same Hillfoots team in the front-row:
We often hear that when a team is successful your team mates feel like family, but there is a team going well in BT Caledonia League Division Two Midlands who have three players who are family and whose team are winning!
Hillfoots are top of the table after 12 matches following their 86-10 win against the Stirling County third XV on January 13.
And the Slade brothers – loosehead prop Paul, hooker Keith and tighthead prop Michael – have been enjoying recent months now that they are all in the front-row.
Paul: “I wish I could say that we do squabble, but the pitch is the one place I listen to my older brothers!”
Paul, 29, said: “I started playing Hillfoots when I was 8 with my brothers who got me into rugby along with our father who always supported us.
From an early age I fell in love the sport mostly because of the social aspect, but the brotherhood you feel with your team mates on and off the park was probably the reason I have stuck with it.
“I made my first XV debut in 2007 in an away fixture against Ardrossan, this was significant for all the Slade brothers as it was the first time we had all played together since we started playing.
“This season has been especially special for us all as Keith had been playing with Falkirk for the past few seasons and Michael at Lenzie, but we had decided we wanted one last season together.
“However, the concept of an entire Slade front-row is a new one as Michael used to play back-row until recently so even though we used to play regularly years ago, Michael had only joined me and Keith in the front-row this season.
“Saturday, January 6 was the first time ALL three Slade brothers were able to play at the same time this season with injuries or work commitments keeping it from happening, so it was a very proud moment binding up for that first scrum made even more special with the home supporters cheering us on shouting ‘Come on the Slades’.
“I wish I could say that we do squabble, but the pitch is the one place I listen to my older brothers!
I trust their judgment and any advice they give me on the park, but mostly we are very supportive of each other and look out for one another.”
Keith, 32, recounted: “I joined the club when I was in primary school after seeing some posters that were put around the school.
“The reason I love rugby hasn’t changed much since I was younger , I love being part of a team and also the whole rugby community, love taking and making contact and making friends for life from all walks of life and all over the world.
“Being quite big for my age I made my senior debut for the club’s seconds at 14 and I was 15 when I got into the firsts.
“I am always proud to be on the same park as my brothers, but it has made it more special now that we all play in the front-row!
“The decision of myself and Michael to move back to Hillfoots [from other clubs] was appreciated by our dad who was sick of travelling to three different clubs to watch us play!
“Being brothers we trust each other so it makes us a tight unit and I know at scrum time or in open play they’ll do their job.
“I am probably the biggest speaker, sometimes I even make sense! We always chat to each other at rugby and away from rugby we’re pretty close.”
Oldest of the three Michael, 35, said: “Whilst I played football, badly, at school, it wasn’t until a friend suggested that I try rugby that I found a sport that I loved.
“There were about four or five of us that played with the seconds that first year and every weekend was an adventure playing with the legends and great characters of the club.
“These same guys are still down the club to this day watching and sharing stories and in my opinion are the backbone to any successful rugby club.
“I made my first XV in 1998 against Linlithgow in a Cup game.
“Playing with my brothers is always a proud moment. It’s only happened a few times in the past since three of us haven’t always played with the same team.
“The first time was 2007 against Ardrossan. I am a fairly recent convert to the front-row, normally playing back-row, but age and injuries have taken their toll over the years and my legs no longer have the speed they used to – better to be a fast prop than a slow back-row!
“We’ve never had an argument on the park and it’s always handy having the other two watching your back especially when they are both bigger than me!
“I would recommend Hillfoots to anyone who is a fan of rugby. We have hard working coaching staff and dedicated players at both senior and junior level, but equally the team behind the social events work very hard to ensure that everyone is made welcome.”
The 1st XV v Falkirk 2nd XV
After the snow affecting the fixtures schedule, Hillfoots XV were raring to go and to get playing rugby again. They hosted Falkirk 2nd XV, in a muchly anticipated game due to importance of every game to the Hillfoots campaign. The wind began to pick up an hour before the game and persisted well into the second half, so both teams had to adjust their approach to the game to suit the conditions. The first half saw Falkirk take advantage of a mistake and they began to mount pressure on the Hillfoot’s defence and push them back well into the 22. However, this pressure was not converted, with some great defensive work from the ‘Foots. The hosts began to counter-attack and play more tactically making their own advances up the field. After a series of well worked phases, Hillfoots opened their account and scored a total of four tries in the first half, with two converted finishing up with a scoreline of 24-0 at the end of the half.
The second half began brightly for both teams. Falkirk changed their strategy and began to build some momentum with increasing pressure on the ‘Foots defensive line. As the wind persisted the hosts needed to use alternative methods to gain territory, as some kicks were attempted with little success. The hosts used their skill set and game management to soak up bouts of significant pressure by turning over the ball several times deep in their own territory and then scoring with a few neatly executed phases. The stalwart defence ensured that the visitors were unable to put any points on the board, but they showed some defensive resilience in an effort to keep the scoreline down. However, the Hillfoot’s attack constantly probed for every weaknesses and managed to put another four tries over the line. The game ended with a final score of 55-0 and now the Hillfoots XVs prepare to travel to Panmure where both Hillfoots teams are playing.
The 1sts take on Panmure, while the Rams are playing Dundee Medics, both KO’s are at 12.15pm to allow everyone to cheer on the Scotland team in Cardiff. Thanks again for all of our great local support – we hope to entertain you all again on 17 Feb with a 3pm kick off.
This weekend’s Action:
1st XV are away to Panmure RFC and the Rams are away to the Uni of Dundee Medics – please meet at 9am.
The Club will be open to watch the matches on the big screen – come down to shout on Scotland!
Juniors and Youth are home training in the Park from 10am.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a cracking New Year! Our players and coaches kept focussed over the festive season and last week’s fantastic and convincing result against Blairgowrie demonstrated the benefit of their dedication! The game was notable with the Slade brothers providing the full front row – while I have been told this is not a first for Scottish rugby (does anyone know who and for what team?) – its great to see! You might be finding more out about this and the Club in a future edition of Scrum Magazine…
Special thanks must go to the local community whose addition to our usual band of stalwarts certainly added to the support our players felt on the Park. If you know of anyone who would like to be kept in touch with what the Club is doing, please share, tweet or forward this email using the buttons below.
This week, the 1sts welcome local rivals Stirling County 3rd XV to Tilly Park and what promises to be another exciting game. We are also delighted that the Rams will take on Bo’ness, so you will be able to enjoy not one but two matches this weekend from 2pm. Hopefully we can maintain our winning ways for the rest of the season!
1st XV v Blairgowrie
The first game of the New Year saw Hillfoots 1st XV host Blairgowrie RFC 1st XV in a fight for the top of the Caledonia Midlands Division 2 League table. Neither team were able to play in December due to frozen pitches, so it was a much anticipated game for both teams with full squads and even match preparation over the Christmas period. Hillfoots received the kick off and game began with both teams earnestly testing and probing their opposition. It was the hosts who scored first with an unconverted try to be 5-0 up, followed by a Blairgowrie reply within 10 minutes which brought the game 5-5 in a keenly contested first quarter. Thereafter, Hillfoots started to dominate possession and scored another two well-worked tries before half time.
The second half saw the ‘Foots score a couple more tries without a reply from the visitors. While both teams defended hard, it was Hillfoots who were able to capitalise on Blairgowrie’s mistakes and worked some well executed moves. The hard-earned fitness of the hosts began to show in the second half as they were able to successively build on phase after phase. In return, the visitors tried to kick tactically to regain territory but they were unable to turn this territorial advantage into points due to the staunch Hillfoots defence. The final nail in the coffin for Blairgowrie was one of their players being red carded – but the game was very much in Hillfoots favour before this. The final score was 34-5 to Hillfoots. In addition to the game being a top of the table clash, it had a special significance for the Slade family who singlehandedly provided the complete front row for Hillfoots!
Both the Hillfoots 1st XV and Rams XV are hosting teams next week at Tilly Park with the 1sts taking on local rivals Stirling County 3’s and the Rams playing Bo’Ness. The Hillfoots Director of Rugby, Ian Hamilton commented, “The supporters who turned out on a chilly January day to support the ‘Foots were definitely a 16th player for us – it would be great to see everyone come along this weekend and support both our teams.”
Looking back on 2017
2017 has been a great year and 2018 promises to be even better! What a great series of Autumn Internationals and an unbeaten Warriors in the Pro-14 (let’s ignore the European Cup!). On the Club front, the 1st XV are second in the League with probably the league decider on the 6th of Jan against Blairgowrie RFC – it would be great to see you all down in the Park to support them. Our 2nd XV, the Rams are managing to fulfil most of their fixtures and maintain a positive and fun attitude in the face of some teams not playing in the spirit of a developmental league. The Youth squad, playing with Falkirk as “Hillkirk” are enjoying their rugby and developing well both as a squad and as individual players. Last but by no means least, the Juniors through to Tigers continue to thrive – we have been lucky with the weather, fingers crossed for more fun in the Park in the New Year. Finally, socially there has been something on for everyone at the Club, from live music to gin tasting and not forgetting our Christmas Jumper Party. Hope you all have a great Christmas and a cracking New Year!
This weekend’s Action:
1st XV: Home to Stirling County 3rd XV – 2pm kick off.
Rams: Home to Bo’ness 1st XV – 2pm kick off.
Youth: From 10 am, outdoor training at Alva Academy – no metal studs please! Also bring along trainers for some S&C work inside.
Juniors: From 10 am, indoor training at Alva Academy – please bring trainers and don’t forget your water!
The highlight of last week was undoubtedly Jamie Bhatti presenting the Scotland Shirt that he wore against Australia in Scotland’s fantastic win! It was great that Jamie took time out of his busy schedule to come back to the Club, chat with his old coaches and former teammates as well as inspire the next generation of international players!
Jamie started playing rugby at Hillfoots and epitomizes the Club’s hope to take its kids all the way from ‘Minis to Murrayfield’. Jamie’s meteoric rise illustrates the development pathway from grassroots rugby at ‘Foots, through to playing for County, Caledonia and Scotland Youth squads then Melrose and now as the starting prop for Glasgow Warriors and what an impact sub for Scotland! We are really grateful that Jamie took time off following Warriors win over Cardiff on Friday night before heading back to Glasgow to prepare for training the next day!
This Saturday sees a bumper weekend of rugby at Tilly Park with Hillfoots 1stXV hosting Falkirk 2nd’s, while the Hillfoots Rams host Aberfeldy. We are also delighted to welcome some of our great sponsors to lunch to thank them for their support throughout the season.
Hope to see you in the Park or in the Club!
1st XV Match Report
St. Andrews was the venue for the first match for the Hillfoots 1st XV since before the Autumn Internationals, as Madras RFC hosted them for keenly anticipated game of rugby. Both teams started the game with intent with Madras dominating possession for the first 5-10 minutes however, the Hillfoot’s defence was up to the challenge and soaked up the pressure and remained disciplined. Shortly after this wave of attack, the Hillfoots regained possession and their attacking threat began to penetrate the Madras defence and scored 5 tries in the first half, with no reply from the hosts. The visitors went into the half-time with a comfortable and flattering lead which did not do justice to Madras’ level of possession and sniping runs.
The second half began brightly for the visitors and they scored a couple of early tries which put the game beyond Madras’ reach. Hillfoots played quickly and with confidence in their system, which began to hurt the hosts as the scores started to mount up. Towards the end of the game, Hillfoots conceded a series of penalties which put Madras within a scoring opportunity, to which they capitalised and they scored a late consolation try. The scored ended up being 65-5, with Hillfoots reinforcing why they are title contenders in this league.
The Rams v Rosyth Sharks
The Rams welcomed Rosyth Sharks to Tillicoultry on Saturday for this league encounter. The big Rosyth pack dominated the breakdowns and had the Rams defence under pressure for a lot of the 1st half. During this time they built a 12 point lead by scoring 2 tries and 1 conversion. When the Rams had possession they did make ground and 1 of these attacks resulted in a fine try scored by Jack McClymont which was converted by Gregor Manson. The 1st half came to a close with Rosyth scoring again to take them into the break 19 -5 in front.
The Rams enjoyed a better start to the 2nd half and got themselves back into the match when Alex Cameron outstripped the Sharks defence to score a great try which Manson converted. As the 2nd half wore on the benefits of having a full replacements bench gave the Sharks the opportunity to introduce fresh legs while the Rams had to make do with their starting XV. As the match drew to its conclusion the Sharks extended their lead by scoring another 4 tries of which 3 were converted and took them home comfortable winners.
What an awesome game on Saturday! It was summed up by one commentator as:
‘Majestic and utterly dominant in all phases of the game, this record win over a Southern Hemisphere nation felt like a genuine coming of age. Gregor Townsend’s Scotland scored an incredible eight tries and played with an invention, verve and ambition which swept the Wallabies off their feet. By the end, the men from Down Under were run ragged and barely holding it together.’
It bodes well for a fantastic Six Nations – I think that there is so little between all of the teams that the Championship could go to any of the teams! With Scotland’s draw, two of the most difficult matches against England and France at home, can this season be Scotland’s?
It was great to see Jamie Bhatti get another cap and make such an immediate impact to the game! Many of you will know that Jamie started his rugby at Hillfoots and we are really honoured that he wants to present the shirt that he wore last Saturday against Australia to the Club!
Jamie has kindly agreed to come along to the Club this Saturday at 7pm to present his shirt to the Club! We would love Everyone from the Minis all the way to the Cast-Tups to come down to the Club to welcome our latest international back to ‘Foots!
Thanks to John Reid, who posted this great picture on Facebook – Winners of the Crieff P7 Tournament, about 2003. Jamie Bhatti back left, Grant Carmichael next to him, Rainer Kennedy front second left, Corey Reid holding the trophy and Lewis Coutts front second right – let me know who the others are!
Gin Tasting with Stirling Spirit Co.
Many thanks to Derek for organising last Friday’s “ginspiration” when the team from Stirling Spirit Co. took everyone on a journey through some of the top gins on the market today. Starting with a signature Stirling Gin cocktail on arrival, everyone then sampled four different gins, being talked through each to discover their unique smells and tastes. Our local gin will definitely be featuring behind the bar from now on!
International & 6 Nations Tickets Update
SRU are still working through these but we expect to get all the Wales tickets that have been applied for. The Ireland tickets application has been oversubscribed and so SRU may make adjustments to our requests, and they may also need to make changes to the price categories for Italy tickets. We should get an update from them by 1 Dec and will confirm to those who requested and ask for payment immediately thereafter.
Thanks to everyone who has already paid for their tickets!
Please note that they must be paid by close of play on Saturday 2 December at the latest, or your allocation will go to the next person on the waiting list (which is long)!!
We also still have tickets available for the Scotland v France game – send an email ASAP to [email protected] if you would like some!
This weekend’s Action:
1st XV: Game against Madras at St Andrews, meet at 1130 for an 2pm kick off.
Rams: Home to Rosyth Sharks, meet at 1245 for an 2pm kick off – hopefully the frost will have lifted by then.
Welcome Jamie Bhatti back to the Club, when we are honoured that he will present his Scotland shirt at 7pm
Youth: Game against Deeside at home, meet at 1100 for an 1200 kick off.
Juniors: Our last outdoor session of the year at the normal time (10am) – from next week we will be indoors at the Alva Academy.