DESPITE the Hillfoots 1st XV’s fixture being postponed, there was still rugby on for the Tillicoultry team with an away trip for the 2nd XV to face Dunfermline’s 3rd XV.

With heavy rainfall during the week, it was very soggy underfoot but both teams were eager to play rugby after the Christmas break and the Wee County side emerged victorious.

The home side kicked off and it was evident from the start that the conditions were going to make handling quite difficult with both sides making errors in the opening 10 minutes.

Hillfoots broke the deadlock just after the 10 minute mark through scrum-half Aidan Kerr. With a penalty advantage just outside the twenty-two, Kerr smartly picked and went himself and evaded the covering defender to score under the posts. Gregor Manson was successful with the conversion.

This gave the Rams a boost and it wasn’t long before they scored their second try. After a solid scrum from the forwards, it gave a perfect platform for the backs to execute a training ground move and Danny Ross to jink his way past the would-be defenders to score. Manson narrowly missed the conversion.

With just under half an hour played, both teams were reduced to 14 men with Manson of ‘Foots and Andrew Dick of Dunfermline sent marching. Dunfermline then managed to reduce the deficit just before the break with a score in the corner following some strong forward carries.

The conversion was missed making the score at the break 5-12.

‘Foots came flying out the traps and immediately put pressure on the home side, causing a knock-on. After some strong carries from Kev Aitken and Jason Morgan, the defence was beginning to narrow, leaving space out wide. The ball was shipped through a few pairs of hands before Iain Anderson bounced his tackler and crossed the line for Hillfoots’ third try.

As they say, you are always at your most vulnerable just after you have scored, and this was proved to be the case when the restart was dropped giving Dunfermline good field position. The home side were relentless in their attack but the ‘Foots defence was holding firm. Unfortunately, the referee spotted an offside player in the defensive line giving the home side a penalty advantage.

Eventually the pressure told and a forward managed to bundle his way over the line to score near the posts. The conversion was successful putting the home team well and truly back in the game.

In the final 10 minutes of the match, the pressure was mounting on the tiring home side and they were beginning to concede a number of penalties. Great handling and offloads from ‘Foots was tiring out the Dunfermline defence and gaps were beginning to appear. Anderson and Aitken were again making solid breaks with good support from their teammates.

Kerr completed his hat-trick with the final score of the match. The ball popped out the back of a ruck and Kerr managed to cross the line with a little shunt from his pack. The difficult conversion drifted just wide.

In the end ‘Foots ran out 31-12 winners to record their first victory of 2022.