Rugby: Linlithgow let lead slip to go out of Edinburgh Shield

Rab Cairns on his way to a try for Linlithgow (pic by Graham Black)
Rab Cairns on his way to a try for Linlithgow (pic by Graham Black)

Linlithgow paid the price for taking their foot off the gas as they went out of the Edinburgh Shield to Edinburgh University Medics.

The Reds still had a number of key players missing and the team featured a good number of last season’s 2nd XV squad.

But after a slow start, where Linlithgow were unable to clear their lines, they came more into the game and good hands from all the back line enabled Rab Cairns to go over in the corner for the first try,

Having also kicked the difficult conversion himself, Cairns then turned provider as he slipped the ball to Ross Plenderleith who also scored in the corner. Cairns again converted another difficult kick.

Linlithgow were in full flow and Cairns then scored a breakaway try under the posts, which he duly converted.

Linlithgow put further pressure on the home defence and Mark Caddle capitalised on a defensive mistake behind the goal line to increase the lead. The conversion was missed, but Linlithgow had a 26-0 lead.

But after winger Plenderleith, one of the Reds’ most dangerous runners was then injured and replaced by Euan Murray, the Reds relaxed in the final five minutes of the first half, letting in two late scores (one converted) to make the half-time score 26-12.

The second half started badly for the Reds and got worse. Medics scored under the posts and converted to move within one score.

Caddle, the Reds’ outstanding forward, then went off injured and it was only a matter of time before the Medics scored a further converted try to tie the match at 26 all.

Further injuries to the Reds, losing Andrew Archer and another player, weakened the visitors and the home team should have taken the lead when they missed a very kickable penalty.

Sadly, for the Reds now playing with their bench emptied, it only put off the inevitable, as the home team scored a try in the corner two minutes from time to claim the tie.

While the Reds will be disappointed at how they let a 26-0 lead slip, full credit must go to the EU Medics for taking advantage.