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Glenrothes on a hiding to nothing as Caithness take command at Millbank

By Iain Grant

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Danny Macleod dances his way through the Glenrothes defence to score a try. Picture: James Gunn
Danny Macleod dances his way through the Glenrothes defence to score a try. Picture: James Gunn

The Greens romped to a runaway 75-8 win at Millbank on Saturday over short-handed and less-than-surefooted opponents.

Glenrothes – who are rooted at the bottom of Caley 1, having shipped an average of 45 points in their previous 13 defeats – travelled with just 14 players which included a posse of club veterans.

They knew they were on a hiding to nothing and, though not lacking in spirit or energy, were off the pace throughout.

Caithness filled their boots as they regularly breached a disjointed defence to run in 11 tries.

In the first of back-to-back jousts between the sides, young winger Danny Macleod caught the eye, not just with a hat-trick of touchdowns but for some bone-crunching tackles.

Reece Coghill, Hamish Coghill and the hard-running centres Stuart Crichton and Charlie Quinn were regularly to the fore during lung-busting long-range counters.

Within 25 minutes, the home men had pocketed the four-try bonus point after Hamish Coghill touched down following a five-metre drive from a line-out.

The rout had begun after three minutes when a line break from skipper Kevin Brims put Marc Anderson in the clear to touch down under the posts.

Kane Duguid responded with a penalty for the visitors but they were soon regrouping behind their own posts again when a powerful carry from lock Tom Storey ended with Macleod jinking his way to the line.

Hamish Coghill and Euan MacDonald combined to send Michael Tait in for the third.

MacDonald then raced clear only to be called back after he had brushed the touch-line as he stepped past an opponent.

Reece Coghill flies past a defender, Picture: James Gunn
Reece Coghill flies past a defender, Picture: James Gunn

Anderson goaled all four tries before his injury jinx resurfaced when he was forced off with a calf strain.

The visitors held out until a couple of minutes from the break but Hamish Coghill's close-range second was swiftly followed by a 50-metre clean break to the line by Reiss Coghill.

Glenrothes' skew-whiff defensive lines continued to be cruelly exposed and Crichton's strong carry had Quinn in for the first try of the second half.

Hamish Coghill then gave the money pass to send Quinn over to clock up the half-century of points.

Glenrothes rallied from the kick-off and were giving the home defence their first serious test of the day.

But a turnover put Caithness on the attack again and MacDonald made the hard yards before sending Macleod free.

The young winger was soon celebrating again as he raced over for his third of the day.

Glenrothes battled back bravely and a sustained onslaught ended with Gavin Denholm burrowing over to touch down wide on the left.

Caithness ended the scoring when Max Kennedy got on the end of a well-worked move.

MacDonald took over the kicking duties and nailed all his six attempts, including a perfectly judged attempt from near the touchline.

Caithness coach Ewen Boyd was not getting carried away with the bumper win against a team who started one man down and had several walking wounded well before the end.

He also is taking nothing for granted in Saturday's return encounter in Glenrothes when he expects to be facing a much-changed outfit.

"Credit to them for coming up short-handed to fulfill the fixture," said Boyd.

He was happy with his side's cutting edge in attack and singled out the performance of novice winger Macleod.

"He took his tries well and he also tackled very well," said the coach.

Boyd was unhappy with the number of ruck penalties his side conceded early on with support players pinged for going off their feet, but was happy they were able to sort out the problems.

He added: "We lost our shape towards the end but that was always going to happen the way the game was going."

He is challenging his squad to back up the win on Saturday to help further their bid to finish third.

Anderson will miss out while full back Scott Webster and prop Michael Gunn are unavailable but hooker Calum Hill could come back into the equation.

Elsewhere, Hillfoots won 31-8 at Blairgowrie to sit fourth, five points behind Caithness with a game in hand.

Ellon's scheduled home clash with Aberdeen Wanderers was postponed because of a cluster of Covid cases.

Orkney require 11 points from their remaining four matches to overtake Dunfermline and claim the title.

With the Fife side having completed their programme, Orkney will look to start to make inroads on the deficit when they entertain Hillfoots on Saturday.

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