HILLFOOTS RFC’s 1st XV were defeated 45-13 by a strong Orkney squad in the fourth game of the season.

With heavy rain forecast, a forward-orientated game was predicted. However, despite the wet conditions, both teams were intent on throwing the ball about.

Orkney were certainly up for the challenge and took it to Hillfoots from the start. It was the visitors who opened the scoring within five minutes. The score in the corner was unconverted.

Prior to that score, Shaun Morrison’s 1st XV debut ended in misery as he limped off with a hamstring injury.

However, Hillfoots reacted positively to this double blow, gaining territory in the opposing half. The pressure eventually resulted in a penalty which Gregor Manson kicked with ease.

Hillfoots were then dealt another injury blow when talismanic Fraser Christie had to leave the field of play with a wrist injury with less than 20 minutes played.

With the slope in their favour, the visitors scored two further converted tries before the break, first through a driving maul from a lineout in the left-hand corner. The second from some slick handling from the backs and the home defence just ran out of numbers.

Just before the break, Jordan Usher was shown an unfortunate yellow card for a tip tackle.

After the break, Hillfoots came out of the traps and pinned Orkney in their own half under some immense pressure.

The resulting penalties were kicked to touch to give good field position for an attacking lineout. From one of these, a strong carry from Paul Slade resulted in him receiving an injury and having to leave the field of play.

With only five minutes on the clock in the second half, Hillfoots got themselves a try through scrum half Callum Williamson.

After good pressure on his opposition man from a scrum, Lindsay won a penalty for ‘Foots inside the Orkney twenty-two. Spotting an opportunity, the scrum half took a quick tap to scamper over the line to score.

Manson was successful with the conversion, maintaining his 100 per cent kicking rate for the game. At 26-13 down, Hillfoots were back in the game.

Unfortunately, after 10 minutes of fairly even play, an Orkney man managed to break the line. With the home defence scrambling to get back, some great offloads by Orkney resulted in the winger scoring in the corner. The conversion was missed.

The home side had some sustained pressure, but the Orkney defence held firm. The islanders managed to capitalise on a couple of loose balls and score breakaway tries against the run-of-play.

With less than ten minutes to go, Orkney scored their seventh and final try of the day. Almost a carbon copy of their driving maul, the strong visiting pack overpowered the tiring ‘Foots defence. The conversion was successful.

Determined to get another score, ‘Foots secured their own kick off and held the ball for the remainder of the match. After several scrum penalties not far from the Orkney try line, another try was looking on the cards, but the defence held firm. The pack should feel hard done by for not receiving a penalty try for their dominant scrummaging.

Orkney, who are a very strong side and showed why they are top of the table with the best defensive record, deserved the victory.

Credit must go to Hillfoots who held their own against the visitors, especially in the second half, and limited the away side to mainly breakaway tries against the run of play.