Preston Lodge 129 Linden 0
RBS EAST DIVISION ONE
PRESTON LODGE clinched the RBS East League Division One title in style as they subjected the Linden to a record 129-0 defeat at Pennypit Park.
The Linden had given the East Lothian side a real run for their money at the Volunteer earlier in the season but injuries and unavailability meant it was a vastly different Linden team for the return fixture, particularly up front.
This was where the visitor’s found it difficult to obtain possession of any note. With all three of their front row starting the game carrying injuries, the Linden scrum was under constant pressure and the soft pitch did not suit their lightweight pack.
It took the home team 21 minutes to secure the four try bonus point and by half time they stretched their lead to 49-0 with seven converted tries. Mid-way through the second half the tally was 75 points when the Royal Blues were a little unlucky to be penalised at the breakdown which was compounded when the bemused Andrew Ford was yellow carded for a comment which appeared to have come from the crowd.
This wasn’t the only time the Linden felt harshly treated as they were strictly refereed from 1st to the 80th minute and, even when over 100 points down, were forced to kick-off when a player was receiving treatment. Admittedly not front row, so technically correct, but somehow it just didn’t sit comfortably with the state of the game.
League reconstruction in recent years has held Preston Lodge back from playing at a higher level and they can now deservedly move on to where their power, pace and the intensity they play the game will challenge any side. They played quality rugby and scored some thrilling tries for their large support.
For those not in attendance at the game, most will view the result from a Linden perspective with astonishment but no-one should criticise the predominantly young side who pulled on the jerseys and never threw in the towel. The front row all played through the pain barrier whilst the back row, led by skipper Shaun Fairbairn were immense, flankers Aaron Hume, making his debut, and Graham Blacklock tackling like demons throughout.