GHA 0 Currie Chieftains 36
Supporters arriving at Braidholm had few illusions of the size of the task facing GHA against high flying Currie on Saturday. An overcast day with soft underfoot conditions with a slight drizzle promised to make conditions quite difficult. GHA introduced an excellent new programme format and this coupled with other developments and the final stages of completion of the 3G pitch bode well for the future. Both sides completed their preparations going through contact drills and set piece moves.As game time approached there was an air of steely determination amongst the home players.
GHA kicked off and the ball was gathered by Currie who immediately ran the ball back at the home defence, providing an instant indication that the Chieftains had every intention of playing attacking rugby. Early probes by messrs Forbes and Hall forced the home side back into their own half. For fully nine minutes , Currie drove GHA back into their own half forcing the home side to constantly tackle and attempt to stop forward drives. After nine minute Currie got the breakthrough their early pressure warranted when Marc Kelly went over from a lineout deep in the GHA half. James Forbes converted and the score after ten minutes was: GHA 0 CURRIE 7.
The visitors gathered the restart kick and moving the ball with pace and menace swept into the GHA half. There was little respite from tackling duties for the home side and after fifteen minutes in a lovely move which involved the whole back line, Currie winger Mathew Hooks scored in the corner . The conversion was missed and the score was now GHA 0 CURRIE 12.
The quality of the visitors line speed and ability to make inroads to GHA territory was beginning to tell on the home side. Brave resistance was being negated by excellent ball manipulation and seamless work by Currie forwards and backs.After twenty minutes GHA had been unable to mount even one foray into the Currie half such had been the incessant pressure on the home side. Currie led by the promptings of Jamie Forbes and the running of James McCaig were forcing GHA to constantly defend. The visitors were varying their impressive line speed with deft chips behind the home defence or long diagonal kicks for the winger to chase. After twenty five minutes a flurry of controlled activity by Currie forwards resulted in the pack going over to score. The try was converted and the score was now GHA 0 CURRIE 19.
The visitors gathered from the restart and an astonishing break by Andrew McWilliams tore huge gaps in the home defence before he offloaded to Roan Frostwick to go under the posts. The try was converted and the score after thirty minutes was now GHA 0 CURRIE 26.
As we moved towards the interval the relentless pressure from Currie was straining the resources of the home side. Despite the pressure GHA continued to make every effort to get into the match and refused to give up. After thirty six minutes once again a fast accurate passing move by the visitors disarmed the home defence to allow Steven Hamilton to score. The conversion just failed and the score was GHA 0 CURRIE 31.
A defiant home side took the game to Currie with Michael Fox and MIchael Scott attempting to punch a hole through a resolute Currie defence. Half time arrived with no further score. It had been an interesting first half. Currie moving the ball with great speed and penetration against a dogged and hard working home side.As the match resumed GHA were put under immediate pressure by the visitors. Some smart defensive work cleared the imminent danger but after five minutes patient recycling and varied angled drives saw Christopher Davies complete a sublime piece of play. The conversion failed and the score was now: GHA 0 CURRIE 36.
The home support feared that this score would lead to an onslaught from the visitors. GHA had manfully refused to buckle under constant pressure. Indeed this score seemed to act as a catalyst for the home side to raise their game to an even higher level and attempt to drive the visitors back. To the appreciation of the home crowd, messrs Scott McCarthy and Angus made incursions into the Currie half. Accurate and quick recycling by GHA put Currie on the back foot for a great deal of the second half.Currie determined to defend high up the pitch which frustrated the home side and ensured play tended to crab across the middle of the pitch. A clever kick by Jackson Baillie in his debut match turned the Currie defence and took the game into the Currie twenty two metre area. As we approached the half hour GHA tried everything to get over the whitewash including three man and five man drives but the Currie defence held strong. The match finished with GHA still looking to score but unable to break a resolute Currie defence. FINAL SCORE: GHA 0 CURRIE CHIEFTAINS 36.
The line speed, execution and support play of the visitors had overpowered the gallant home side. Despite being outgunned the Braidholm side refused to tamely surrender and indeed increased the tenacity and quality of their play as the match wore on. Undoubtedly GHA saw ay first hand the standard required to compete at Premiership level. Exposure to this quality of rugby will serve the young GHA side well in the months ahead.
CURRIE CHIEFTAINS : J.McCAIG M.HOOKS J.REYNOLDS A.HALL S.HAMILTON J.FORBES R.FROSTWICK S.McGINLEY R.DAVIES M.KELLY M.VERNEI V.WRIGHT J.S ARGIRO F.SCOTT A.McWILLIAMS C.WILSON R.PATTERSON G.CHRISTIE C.DAVIES W.NELSON
GHA : J.BAILLIE S.DERRICK C.LONERGAN R.FINDLAY A. SPOWART C.KING G.BAIRD S.CARSON M.SCOTT M.FOX A.KERR J.McCARTHY L.MAVUNGA D.EWING J.SUTHERLAND L.BARRON T.BROGAN R.ANGUS G.SCOTT J.EDGAR
Referee – Ruaridh Campbell
AR1 – Alistair Watt
AR2 – Greg Cameron