GHA 83 Stewart’s Melville FP 19
The previous meeting between these two sides in January had resulted in a very close victory by a two point margin for GHA. As both sides went through their preparations there was no early indicators that this match would produce an astonishing display of power rugby from the home side. Both sides went through their usual warm up preparations running drills and set moves and listening intently to their coaches last minute instructions. The Braidholm pitch was in excellent condition and despite a short burst of rain the sun returned to bathe the pitch in sunshine. GHA unveiled its new pitch side refreshment facility quickly dubbed the “Braidholm Boozer” by Junior coach Paolo Bardelli. Mine host and hostess Craig and Lyndsey Faulds offer a variety of beverages and edibles and were soon busy providing sustenance for local and visitor alike.
Stewart’s Mel kicked off sending a diagonal ball deep into GHA territory where it was gathered safely by Cameron KIng. The ball was taken into contact before being cleared up to the halfway mark. Moments later Stewart’s Mel were awarded a penalty for foul play which Scott Docherty attempted to place in the home side’s twenty two metre area which Andrew Goudie cleared. For the next several minutes there was some untidy rugby played by both sides as half backs exchanged probing kicks which were cleared and returned with interest. Both sides were trying to impose their play patterns on proceedings but over enthusiasm and some poor passing brought early moves to nought.However after six minutes Stewart’s Mel began to put pressure on the home side with accurate kicking to the five metre area. Scott Carson did well to mop up line out ball but in the subsequent breakdown the ball was knocked on and the visitors had an excellent attacking position in front of the posts. Despite a superb tackle by Andrew Spowart to thwart an attacking ploy by the visitors the ball was quickly moved back inside whereupon Sean Murchie wrong footed the home defence to sail through and score between the posts. The try was converted by Scott Docherty to make the score after seven minutes : GHA 0 STEWART’S MELVILLE 7.
The home side shrugged off this set back and immediately began to settle into a rhythm A great break by David Corbenici took the home side well into the visitors half and as he was stopped Jamie McCarthy gathered the ball and drove forward. The penetration of all the forwards working in groups of three or four at a time taking the ball into contact, making progress and recycling it was to have a huge impact on this match and cause the visitors all sorts of problems. In twelve minutes as GHA continued to press inside the visitors half, Ben Addison sent a deft grubber kick through for a line out on the Stewart’s Mel twenty two line. Critically GHA won the lineout and several attempts to break through by messrs Michael Scott and Andrew Goudie were repulsed before Michael Fox crashed over the line aided and abetted by Scott Carson and Michael Scott to great cheers from the home support. Andrew Goudie from a difficult angle put the ball over to make the score after fourteen minutes : GHA 7 STEWART’S MELVILLE 7.
The home side clearly sensed that the opposition was having trouble stopping the supported drives into space by the home forwards. Elliott Hardie and Jamie McCarthy were involved in a number of searing breaks which the visitors desperately tried to stop. The mobility of messrs Scott, Carson and Fox was causing real problems for the visitors who had to continually put in strength sapping tackles to blunt the home forwards. In concert with the backs guided by Andrew Goudie the home side began to push the visitors deep into their own half. A Ross Findlay surge forward was only just stopped inside the visitors twenty two metre area but Michael Scott, in close support gathered the ball and showing great pace flew past startled defenders and scored . The try was converted by Andrew Goudie and the score after seventeen minutes was GHA 14 STEWART’S MELVILLE 7.
The visitors tried to rally and spent several minutes in the GHA half looking to find a way through only to be met by some solid tackling in midfield. Andrew Goudie,ever alert to a chance intercepted a pass in the Stewart MEL back line and sprinted to score under the posts and he then added the conversion to his efforts to take the score after twenty minutes : GHA 21 STEWART’S MELVILLE 7.
The visiting side redoubled their efforts and were still capable of piecing the home defence with accurate touch kicks and fast passing of the ball down the line. For several minutes the visitors extended pressure on the home side and were camped on the GHA five metre line. As they strove to score Cameron Taylor got the ball down from a ruck and Scott Docherty converted to make the score after twenty four minutes GHA 21 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
The home side immediately took the game to the visitors and regained possession from the restart Scott Carson and Jamie McCarthy showed some excellent sleight of hand to retain possession and drive forward towards the visitors twenty two metre line Andrew Goudie released the ball as the visitors went backwards and the ball flew through the backs until recipient Chris Binnie charged over to finish a very powerful piece of attacking rugby. Andrew Goudie from an acute angle secured two further points to great acclaim from the home support. After twenty seven minutes the score was now: GHA 28 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
GHA were beginning to dominate aspects of the match. Their forwards momentum and support play was causing problems for the visitors. The back line was eager to run patterns from the quality ball they were receiving from the forwards. However Stewart’s Melville continued to try and find a way to break the control of the home side.Indeed for the next several minutes the visitors showed great tenacity to force the home side to defend their own line as Nathan Ross and Cameron MacDonald made breaks for the line. A serious injury to Neil Bowie required medical assistance and an immediate and respectful quiet descended . All at GHA wish Neil a speedy recovery. This unfortunate stoppage seemed to give the home side a second wind and from defending their own line they cleared the danger and ran the ball at the visitors in the ten metre area. Despite attempts to stop GHA, the home side pierced the visiting defence with rapierlike thrusts from Andrew Spowart and Ben Addison before Andrew Spowart in support having already been involved in the move broke free to score after thirty three minutes was : The try was not converted and the score was now GHA 33 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
GHA were now in control and on gathering the restart moved forward into the visitors half.The home side were penalised for an infringement but the supposed clearance kick by Scott Docherty was gathered by Cameron KIng who put the ball through hands and an astonishing break by Andrew Spowart which took him right through at least four tackles was only just stopped by Sean Murchie inside the twenty two metre area however the ball was won back by GHA and Cameron KIng crashed over to score which was converted by Andrew Goudie. The score after thirty six minutes was : GHA 38 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
GHA continued to exercise control of the match and drove the visitors back into their own half with some powerful drives by messrs Corbenici, Carson and MCCarthy working in tandem with devastating effect.As the visitors were forced on to the back foot Cameron King seized the ball and from just outside the twenty two metre area flew past the struggling cover defence to score. Andrew GOudie converted and the score as we arrived at half time was: GHA 47 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
Half time gave the teams and indeed the supporters time to catch their breath after a pulsating forty minutes of rugby which at times had produced some excellent attacking rugby especially from the home side whose combined play from forwards and backs had been most impressive. Such had been the level of support and free running from GHA it began to look as if shirt numbers and supposed positions were irrelevant! The second half began with GHA intent on continuing their control of the match. They were awarded a penalty at the start and moved forward. In the ensuing melee as Stewart’s Mel began to lose a little of their composure,Angus Wallace was yellow carded for foul play. From the resulting penalty a cabal of home forwards drove with the ball into the visitors ten metre area before Michael Scott on being released tore through the visitors defence to score in the corner. The try was not converted and the score after three minutes was now: GHA 52 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
Despite valiant efforts by the visitors GHA continued to drive towards the line and knock ons and spilled passes momentarily relieved the pressure on the visitors. Back came GHA and the recently arrived James Edgar intercepted a despairing pass from the visitors to joyfully run from about halfway and score . The referee awarded this try after consulting with the assistant . Duncan Wood was yellow carded for an incident and Andrew Goudie converted to make the score after fifty one minutes GHA 59 STEWART’s MELVILLE 14.
As we moved towards the thirteenth minute of the half GHA were awarded a penalty as Nick Hay was yellow carded for foul play.Andrew Goudie had no hesitation in kicking towards the corner. GHA secured the lineout ball and set up quality ball to allow Seitaro Usuda to come into the line and score at the posts. This was loudly cheered as it was the culmination of an excellent move. Andrew Goudie converted and after seventeen minutes of the half the score was now: GHA 66 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
A shell shocked visiting side tried hard to rally and stem further inroads from the home side but after further good work in the visitors twenty two metre area Grant MacDonald broke away to score and with the try not converted the score stood at after twenty seven minutes of the half; GHA 71 STEWART’S MELVILLE 14.
Much of the fluidity of the home side came from excellent forward control and the success of the partnership of Andrew Gillman and Andrew Goudies at half back.The visitors mounted a flurry of attacks and the home side had to be alert to the danger ensuring tackles were made. However after concentrated efforts Tom Patieu scored in the corner to make the score after thirty minutes: GHA 71 STEWART’s MELVILLE 19.
The visitors rallied in an attempt to gain a losing bonus point if they could score a fourth try. THE home defence stood firm however and the home side were soon on the attack as we entered the last quarter of the match. The visitors gamely kept coming at GHA but Andrew Goldie consistently relieved pressure with clearance kicks which pushed the visitors back into their own half. As we headed for the final whistle a late flurry of activity by messrs Spowart, Findlay and Binnie set up Andrew Goudie who came on to the ball to score. The try was not converted and the score was now GHA 76 STEWART MELVILLE’S 19.
From the restart as we headed for the final whistle Elliott Hardie wrapped up an excellent day’s work by the forwards with a try which Andrew Goudie converted. FINAL SCORE: GHA 83 STEWART’S MELVILLE 19.
This had been an astonishing performance by the home side with backs and forwards interchanging and supporting each other. There was a desire to execute the basics efficiently and to keep the ball alive at all times. This will help to build confidence for the stern tests that await the club this season.
STEWART’S MELVILLE :S.MURCHIE J.SOMERVILLE N.ROSS N.BOWIE J.FERGUSON S.DOCHERTY C.MacDONALD C.TAYLOR C.WILLIS A.WALLACE J.SWORD W.MALCOLM W.INGLIS N.HAY D.WOOD Reserves: T.PATIEU R.MITCHELL D.RUSSELL E.BOWEN C.DAVIDSON
GHA: C.BINNIE C.KING B.ADDISON R.FINDLAY A.SPOWART A.GOUDIE A.GILLMAN M.SCOTT S.CARSON M.FOX A.KERR J.McCARTHY D.CORBENICI E.HARDIE R.ANGUS Reserves: S.USUDA T.BROGAN G.MacDONALD J.PRESTON J.EDGAR
REFEREE MR G POUNDER ASSISTANTS: MR A McMENEMY MR J RYDER