Linlithgow reclaimed the West Lothian Cup with a stirring 26-21 win over Livingston in Monday’s traditional New Year derby match.
A good few spectators had made the trip across the Bathgate Hills to cheer on Livi and they were welcomed by a sizeable home support looking to see if the Reds could continue their recent run of good form.
Livingston, who’ve had a tough season to date in BT National 3, started very strongly and rocked the home team with two well taken tries within the first 15 minutes to take a deserved 14-0 lead.
The home spectators certainly feared the worst at this stage, but the next 20 minutes saw the Reds take the ascendency and they finally got the try they deserved. when the ball was spun out wide to Andrew Whitelaw who took an excellent angle at pace to go in under the posts for a fine try, which he converted himself.
It remained 14-7 at the break, but the second half had barely started when the Reds levelled.
A long inside pass from scrum-half Jamie March found Whitelaw in space in the middle of the field and he burst through the first line and stepped past the cover defenders, with an outrageous dummy to go in under the posts for his second try which he again converted.
The Reds then won a penalty just inside the Livingston 22. Ever alert, Jamie March took a quick tap and shot through a gap in the visitors’ defence for a fine try which Whitelaw converted.
The Reds were now playing at high tempo and after an offence by the visitors trying to defend their line, from the resultant scrum penalty March darted over for his second try to extend the lead to 26-14, the conversion going just wide.
The Reds looked to be cruising to a fine win, but errors allowed Livingston to gain good field position and blast over for a converted try from short range.
The last five minutes were spent deep in the Reds half, but Livingston’s discipline let them down and already down to 14 men, with a player yellow carded, they had a player sent off for pushing the referee to the ground.
The young Linlithgow side emerged from this encounter with much credit. Two thunderous runs in the first half from Sean Hagerty helped swing the match but it was the sharpness and pace of Whitelaw and man-of-the-match March that delivered the victory.
The Reds will hope to continue this good form into their away BT Edinburgh Shield semi-final at Dunbar on Saturday, kick-off 1.30pm. The 2s travel to Edinburgh to play Inverleith on league duty.