Highland 31 Haddington 10

HADDINGTON fell to a second straight league defeat and are only above the relegation zone in National 3 on points difference.

The Reds travelled to Inverness looking for a second successive win at Highland but were without several regulars, including captain Liam Clutton, lock Harry Hamilton and scrum-half Jamie Paterson.

Head coach Rhodri Thomas was pressed into using a new half-back pairing, with Cammy Simpson and Sam Morley in for the unavailable Paterson and Alex Ferguson respectively.

Despite the changes to the XV, the Reds made a flying start and opened the scoring in the second minute when stand-in captain James Ferguson intercepted and ran the length of the field to score.

Morley added the conversion and a penalty shortly after to give the Reds a 0-10 lead inside the opening 11 minutes.

Highland cut the gap to just three points as they were awarded a penalty try, the referee judging a Haddington defender tackled a home player without the ball when he would likely have scored.

Stand-off Morley missed with a second penalty attempt and Rory Cross’ try, converted by Scott Fraser, put the home side in front for the first time at 14-10.

Prop Lyall Archer was then driven over for Highland’s third try just two minutes before the break and, with Fraser’s conversion, the Reds found themselves 21-10 down at the interval.

Things got worse for Haddington as vice-captain Ben Laing was sent to the sin bin for pulling down a maul, and Highland made their numerical advantage count immediately, Fraser crossing for the bonus-point score.

His conversion made the gap 21 points and, although the Reds tried to get something from the game, their cause was hampered further when Connor Munro was sent to the sin bin late on.

The Reds welcome leaders Gordonians to Neilson Park on Saturday.

Haddington: M Robertson, L Parker, J Ferguson, K Hamilton, C Munro; S Morley, C Simpson; M Dunlop, A Cunningham, G Cockburn, B Laing, C Hamilton, J Riddell, M Renton, C Stuart.