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Greens get their Caledonian campaign up and running with seven tries

By Iain Grant

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Charlie Quinn passes the ball to fellow centre Dougie Webster.
Charlie Quinn passes the ball to fellow centre Dougie Webster.

Caithness kicked off their Caledonian Division One campaign on Saturday with a stress-free 43-3 victory over Hillfoots at Millbank.

The Greens, containing the heart of the side that survived a decade in national league rugby, packed too much punch for the visitors.

The Clackmannanshire outfit simply could not cope when their opponents went into overdrive and launched long-range attacks, infused with pace and purpose.

The game was lit up with some purple patches in which the Greens’ backs and forwards linked to shred the defence.

Scrum half Kris Hamilton helped himself to a hat-trick of tries, while full back Scott Webster scored two and hooker Hamish Coghill and flanker Reece Coghill got one apiece.

The pick of the day came midway through the first half when a multi-pass counter from their own half saw number eight Evan Sutherland cut loose through the centre.

His offload sent Charlie Quinn on a run towards the left corner flag. He was scragged just short of the line but Hamish Coghill was on on hand to take the inside pass to cross.

That was their third touchdown of the day but they had to wait until close to the hour mark for Reece Coghill’s bonus-point try.

Webster and Hamilton, who had grabbed the early tries, rounded things off with their second and third respectively.

Marc Anderson added four conversions, with John McMurdo responding with a penalty.

Given the prolonged inaction through the pandemic, there were understandable signs of ring rust in both camps. Laboured passes, spilled passes and aimless kicks littered the early exchanges.

Referee James Fraser also did not help the flow of the game with some niggly interventions.

The high penalty count totted up by the home side, especially in the final quarter, was also a concern for home coach Ewen Boyd.

Overall, though, he was satisfied to have got their season up and running with a seven-tries-to-nil win.

“I’m obviously delighted with the result and I thought we showed a lot of resilience," Boyd said.

“We utilised the space well and the decision-making of the backs was good. We’ve been working a lot on the back three functioning as a unit.”

Boyd said the game had given him and his coaching team a lot of areas in which to work on.

No 4 Kevin Budge catches the ball from a lineout.
No 4 Kevin Budge catches the ball from a lineout.

He is also keen to avoid a repeat of the high crime count which saw Reece Coghill sin-binned and the Greens regularly fall foul of Mr Fraser at the breakdown.

“I spoke to the ref and he told me that refs have been told to penalise players entering a ruck with their head below their hip. It’s something we need to work on.”

Boyd felt his side competed well at the lineout and in the scrums, where they were conceding a ton of weight.

The other games played in the league saw Orkney score a bonus-point 24-12 win in Blairgowrie and Dunfermline beat Glenrothes 35-14.

The far north rivals had been due to play in Orkney on Saturday but that has been postponed until October 2.

The Greens next play a week on Saturday at home to Aberdeen Wanderers.

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