Hillfoots v Mackie
By Colin Mair
Tough place to go!!
Tillicoultry has never been an easy venue to go to, in fact Mackie 1xv have never won there, so this was going to be a tough challenge.
Conditions weren't great, the pitch was very heavy, with a strong breeze blowing down the slope.
Hillfoots won the toss and opted to play with the slope and wind first.
The first half was brutal for both teams, this basement battle was going to be fought hard for the win.
Mackie defended well and the difference at half time was 8-0 to the home team, one missed tackle to allow a try and a penalty.
The coaching team was confident, the visiting Mackie team looked the fresher team although they had been under pressure for almost the whole first half, crucially the line out and scrum was dominant and that would be the difference come the end of the game.
The second half saw Mackie playing with the wind and down the hill, the game plan was to pin them into their 22 and use our set piece to get our backs in to the game. Fly half Kyle Mair
executed well kicking to the corners at every opportunity. The break through came off a lineout, a clean catch and a great drive saw the Mackie pack maul to the 5m line, a couple of phases later outside centre Alasdair "Tex" MacLeod crossed the whitewash for his first try for the club, Reddish missed the extras but the visiting team was clearly motivated by the score. The second try soon followed, prop Sadio crossing, Reddish made sure of the kick score 8-12.
Hillfoots weren't done, they scored a try from the kick off, their classy full back scything through the stunned Mackie defence, Hillfoots 13-12. the home team struck again, a penalty in front of the posts 16-12.
This blip spurred the visitors, they scrummaged Hillfoots off the ball at every opportunity and it wasn't long before Tex scored his second of the match, 16-17, conversion missed but Mackie were back in front. With all the reserves now on the pitch Mackie were dominating every aspect of this game, Alsop, Gerrard, Reddish and Sadio were causing all sorts of problems with their hard running and it was only a matter of time before they scored again. Ross Gray
got the final and the bonus point score with Reddish adding the extras
Full time 16-24
A first win at Hillfoots, but crucially in the league a bit of daylight between the two basement teams.
A good team performance and if Mackie can keep this team together one we can build on, with games coming up that have been targeted as wins.
Next game Mackie are away to Caithness