Big home win against Haddington!
By Jo firstname.lastname@example.org
Hat-trick for Morton as eight tries scored.
Newton Stewart RFC welcomed Haddington RFC to Bladnoch Park last weekend for the latest instalment of their league campaign. Haddington have been struggling to find form this season and currently sit at the bottom of National League Division 3, but the opening twenty minutes of the match demonstrated that they are still a force to be reckoned with.
The visitors had the early possession and put pressure on the Reds defences. An infringement from Newton Stewart in the tackle meant that Haddington got a shot at goal with just five minutes played and they took their points to open up a 0-3 lead.
The Reds didn’t appear to have woken up yet, and Haddington came back on the attack once more. Utilising some big forwards and their physicality, they pushed Newton Stewart deep into their own half before securing a lineout. As Haddington set up a driving maul the Reds were helpless and the pack rumbled over to score a pushover try. The conversion kick was accurate and Haddington now went 0-10 ahead with fourteen minutes played.
The referee was already making an impact on the game, and not a positive one. He interrupted play repeatedly, removing any chance either team had of fluidity, and with twenty minutes played he showed back row James Wallace a yellow card for an offside offence. Haddington had another penalty, right in front of the posts, but this kick went wide and the Reds took the chance to fire themselves up despite their lesser numbers.
Securing some possession at last they forced their way into the Haddington half and were awarded a penalty of their own just before the half hour mark. Acting captain Fraser Morton made the kick for 3-10.
Just two minutes later Newton Stewart had a scrum on the halfway line. Back row Alan Ferrie burst off the back of it and carried well before passing out to scrum-half Robbie McCornick, who in turn found full-back Russell Morton on the wing. Morton was able to break a tackle before running on in for a try. His brother Fraser secured the conversion kick and the score was all square at 10-10.
Prop Gavin Freeland made his mark, powering forwards with a big carry. This proved the catalyst for a fast paced try from the Reds, with Jamie Muir collecting a deep loose ball before passing out to Liam Brawls for a try in the corner. This took Newton Stewart into half-time with a 15-10 lead.
The early play of the second half saw James Wallace making a superb break to take the Reds into a dangerous position once again. They went through the phases before James regained possession and scored a try at full stretch. Morton converted for 22-10.
Some strong carries came now from forwards Thomas MacDonald and Alan Ferrie before second row William McCornick burst from nowhere to score under the posts.
Newton Stewart were in control now and starting to run riot. Breaking up the left wing, Russell Morton scored a second try before Fraser converted the difficult conversion from out wide once again.
With the restart Ferrie made another superb break before the ball went through both Morton brothers to end up in the hands of Robert Service (on from the bench), who dived over to score the Reds’ sixth try of the day.
The crowd were thoroughly enjoying the exciting rugby coming from Newton Stewart now and the noise level from the sidelines rose as Robbie McCornick made a brilliant break up the left touchline, wrestling with the last man to try to go over the top of him. Support came in the form of Thomas MacDonald, but he was taken down just inches from the line. Determined to have the last word in this manoeuvre however, Robbie McCornick gathered up the ball and jumped over the top of the ruck to score. Fraser Morton converted again.
The last ten minutes were a little scrappier in places – the Reds played adventurous, off-loading rugby which was highly entertaining, but not every elaborate move paid off.
The last score of the game proved to be a hat-trick for Russell Morton. With audacious confidence he backed himself 100% rather than passing the ball, but fortunately it paid off as he ripped through the ragged Haddington defences to score an eighth try for Newton Stewart. Morton converted this one also (making for an impressive 7/9 kicks), to leave the final score at 55-10.
This was a good performance from Newton Stewart and a thoroughly entertaining game to watch. The first twenty minutes saw the team come under considerable pressure, however they worked their way back into the match and ended up with a comfortable victory.
Some strong performances came from hooker Thomas MacDonald and flanker Alan Ferrie. Both were explosive ball carriers and solid in defence during this game. But Man of the Match has to be fullback Russell Morton who tore shreds in the Haddington defence on his way to scoring his three tries.
Next weekend Newton Stewart will travel away to Ardrossan Academicals for what promises to be a difficult match. Always tough opponents, they are formidable on home turf and the Reds will need to produce an impressive performance to secure victory.
Team: Russell Morton, Jamie Muir, Fraser Morton (capt), Jack Gaw, David Adams, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Ross Campbell, Thomas MacDonald, Gavin Freeland, Connal MacDonald, William McCornick, Liam Brawls, Alan Ferrie, James Wallace. Subs: Richard FIskin, James McMiken, Duncan Skimming, Robert Service.