Linlithgow secured their first win of the season on Saturday, running in five tries in a resounding 31-19 success over North Berwick.
Flanker Cal Thomson capped an outstanding display by claiming a hat-trick as the home side finally tasted victory after defeats in their opening three Tennent’s East Division 1 matches.
Once again, Linlithgow were well understrength for the basement battle in front of an apprehensive crowd at Mains Park, with coach Dougie Thomson once again having to play scrum half and winger Fraser Mochrie in the second row, as well as the absence of full-back Rab Cairns.
Yet Linlithgow started the match well, pressing for most of the first 10 minutes, and opened the scoring with Cal Thomson scoring a try, although the conversion was missed.
The good work was undone though as North Berwick scored a try under the posts, duly converted.
But Linlithgow came back through Mark Caddle who ended a great backs’ move with a try, converted by John Chapman.
Linlithgow were soon pressing again and should have increased their lead, but indecision and poor passing led to a breakaway try from the visitors from their own 22, although there was a deliberate knock forward missed by the referee in the process. The conversion was missed.
Again Linlithgow stormed back and, with the forwards pressing on the visitors’ goal line, Cal Thomson was quick to react from the back of the ruck and scored, Chapman converting for a half-time lead of 19-12.
Linlithgow started the second half well, with man of the match Cal Thomson running in from 20 metres to secure both his hat-trick and the team’s bonus point, Chapman adding the conversion.
The home side kept up the pressure and had more chances to increase the lead but several times lost the ball in contact.
North Berwick came more into the game and when the referee awarded them a penalty they kicked for touch practically on the home goal line. However the Reds showed great defensive qualities and cleared the trouble.
Then Chapman had to be quick to prevent another try in a footrace following a long ball, which resulted in a 22 drop out.
The visitors did score a try which was a little fortunate as a clearance hit a North Berwick player and bounced into the path of a team mate who reduced the deficit. The conversion was good.
But close to the end, Linlithgow made the points safe when Ross Plenderleith showed the visitors a clean pair of heels, the conversion from out wide hitting the post and bouncing the wrong way.
Despite the defeat Linlithgow remain bottom but they have closed the gap on the sides above them to just one point.
This Saturday they are away to Duns, who are fourth in the standings with two wins and three defeats.
Kick-off is 3pm.