Linlithgow Rugby Club retain West Lothian Cup with derby win over Livingston

Linlithgow's Ross Plenderleith finds a gap in the Livingston defence as he sprints for the corner (pic Graham Black).
Linlithgow's Ross Plenderleith finds a gap in the Livingston defence as he sprints for the corner (pic Graham Black).

Linlithgow ended their year on a high by retaining the West Lothian Trophy with a 30-27 derby win over Livingston at Mains Park.

The Reds also secured five vital league points from a must-win match with both sides languishing near the foot of the East League 1 table.

Linlithgow started well, with Jack Frame slotting over two penalties, but it was the visitors who scored the first try which was converted.

Livingston then increased their lead with a penalty before Ross Plenderleith scored an opportunistic try, by taking a quick tap 25 metres out and going over in the corner. The Livingston players were not happy, but the Livingston touch judge didn’t raise his flag for touch.

The difficult conversion was missed, but Linlithgow were 11-10 ahead at the break.

Livingston looked slightly the better side at the start of the second half and eventually broke through with a converted try which they followed up with another penalty and at 20-11 behind Linlithgow had it all to do once again.

They reduced the deficit when Cammy Murrie scored in the corner after good work by Plenderleith who offloaded just in time after a fine break up the left. The try was converted by Jack Frame.

Linlithgow had the momentum now and after securing quick ruck possession 10 metres out the ball was moved quickly along the back division to Rab Cairns who pinned dived in at the corner to score the try of the game and give the lead back to the home side. The tricky touchline conversion was missed leaving the Reds with 23-20 lead.

Straight from the kick off, Linlithgow were put under pressure when the kick was knocked on inside the 22. Livingtson piled on the pressure but the home defence held out.

Then, after a great run by John Chapman, he found Cairns in support. Taking a slightly wayward pass behind him while running at full tilt, Cairns carved open the cover defence before diving over for his second try which was converted by Frame to put the Reds two scores ahead with eight minutes to play.

As the clock ran down, Livingston piled on the pressure and went through a number of phases, but the defence held out. Finally once a yellow card was shown to captain Euan Mochrie, Livingston’s forwards bundled the ball over the line for a try, but it was the last play of the game.

As the Reds players celebrated, the conversion went over and the Reds had secured a very close victory.

This was a great comeback by the Reds who showed great spirit and resilience, particularly in the second half.

The victory gave them 5 league points and they also retained the West Lothian Trophy, which was presented after the match by Gordon Ford to Reds captain Euan Mochrie.

With the bye week next Saturday, the Reds next league match is not until January 12 when they travel to the Borders to take on Hawick Harlequins.