GHA left to rue poor first half at Jed

GHA left to rue poor first half at Jed

Jed-Forest 26 GHA 25

GHA arrived at Riverside in confident mood after two opening victories in the League competition.The visitors expected a difficult match against the Royal Blues. Jed officials are rightly proud of their new extension which is nearing completion and will provide much needed space for the Border club. The extension is all the more impressive when it is pointed out that nearly all of the work has been completed by club players. The pitch was in very good condition although slightly heavy underfoot. Both teams prepared with a series of loosening exercises before moving into their drills and plays. There was a stiff wind which blew down the pitch and although the match began in reasonably pleasant autumnal conditions the threat of rain was never far away.

Jed kicked off and almost immediately were awarded a penalty inside the visitors half for an infringement at the breakdown. Ewan Scott kicked the penalty towards the GHA five metre line. From a simple catch and drive at the lineout Cameron MacKay scored Ewan Scott converted to make the score after only two minutes: JED-FOREST 7 GHA 0.

The Glasgow side had been caught cold and Jed attempted to build on this opening score with effective inter passing between forwards and backs and using Cameron MacKay and Jamie Hynd to take the ball into contact before recycling. After four minutes GHA were awarded a penalty in their own half for failing to roll away and Andrew Goudie sent an accurate kick into touch at the Jed ten metre line. GHA were attempting to settle and overcome the loss of an early try. From the ensuing lineout Ross Angus employed as an auxiliary centre drove through the Jed defence and a delightful pass to James Edgar saw the winger weave his way through the startled home defence only to be stopped short. GHA attacked inside the Jed twenty two metre area with drives by David Cobenici, Seitaro Usuda and Michael Scott however the visitors gave away a penalty which Ewan Scott kicked the ball into touch just outside the Jed twenty two metre area, relieving the immediate danger. For the next several minutes as we headed into the eighth minute there was a bout of attempted touch kicking by both sides which both defences covered and invariably returned with interest. A number of unforced errors were creeping into the match which meant promising moves were breaking down. A drizzle of rain began which did not help either side to pass the ball effectively at times.Good work by Ben Addison and Andrew Spowart inside the Jed half came to nought as the home side closed down the ball carrier and relieved the danger. GHA lost the ball in midfield and Robbie Yourston exploited a gap to send Robbie Shirra-Gibb towards the try line as GHA desperately tried to cover. Just as cover arrived to quell the danger, Robbie slipped a clever inside pass to Lewis Young who was galloping up in support and he crashed over in the corner to score. The try from a difficult angle was converted by Ewan Scott to make the score after eleven minutes. JED-FOREST 14 GHA 0.

GHA had been punished twice by a Borders side that were keen to probe and and change tactics as they sought to increase their lead. There were several mis moves from the home side, diagonal kicking from inside centre to turn the GHA defence or carefully crafted forays by forwards exemplified by the work of messrs Skeldon, Roff and Hogg.GHA tried to gain momentum and worked hard to drive Jed back into their own half. A spell of pressure saw David Cobenici and Adam Barnett make drives into the home twenty two metre area. In eighteen minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty for an infringement in front of the JED posts. Andrew Goudie as the rain began to be more frequent elected to go for the conversion and his successful kick gave the visitors a toehold in the match. The score after eighteen minutes was JED-FOREST 14 GHA 3.

Jed with a large home support behind them took the game straight back to GHA. The restart was lost to Jed who immediately sent Blake Roff with the support of messrs Skeldon and Gillespie into gaps in the GHA defensive line. Indeed Jamie Hynd was almost over the line having received a recycled ball only to be held up by desperate efforts from the visitors. Jed continued to make progress by their close support play and clever releasing of the ball to willing backs who were looking for space all the time. As we moved past the first twenty minutes and as the rain increased in strength which made conditions difficult there were several minutes of mid field battle with both sides trying to wrestle the ball from a player in contact.Several kicks from both sets of backs were not gathered or were knocked on by both sides which created a stop start feel to the match. Perhaps this helped to create a sense of frustration amongst both sets of players and the referee had to speak to both captains about maintaining discipline in increasingly difficult conditions. On the half hour mark a fine piece of support play released Andrew Goudie from inside the Jed half and he went over to score to loud cheers from the visitors. Andrew converted his own try to make the score after thirty minutes JED-FOREST 14 GHA 10.

Both sides had played some open attacking rugby but had been let down by dropped passes or indecisive kicking. The rain now became a torrent which made handling very difficult. From the restart GHA knocked the ball on which gave Jed an opportunity to strike inside the GHA half. From just inside the twenty two metre line clever inter passing between Sean Goodfellow and Robbie Yourston set up Gregor Law to run in a try through the GHA defence. Although the conversion attempt failed the score was now after thirty four minutes: JED-FOREST 19 GHA 10.

A further stoppage as the referee spoke to both captains resulted in a penalty to Jed which was put into touch on the GHA ten metre line. Jed knocked the ball on in the lineout but after losing the resulting scrum to a drive by GHA the home side regathered the ball and a superb take by Robbie Shirra-Gibb wrong footed the GHA defence just failed to score. The resulting pressure in the loose however saw the winger get his reward as he squeezed into the corner to make the score just on half time as Ewan Scott put over an excellent conversion: JED-FOREST 26 GHA 10. This was the score at half time .

It had been a first half which saw a lot of moves breaking down with passes not going to hand, several minutes of purposeful play would be spoiled by a careless pass or a spilled ball. The visitors had struggled to find their rhythm and had been punished for mis
takes that they had made. Just before the end of the half there had been a spirited and coordinated riposte by the visitors which led visiting supporters to hope for better things in the second half. The torrential rain which did not stop for most of the rest of the match would undoubtedly play a part in deciding the outcome of this match.

GHA began the second half as they had finished the first. They took the ball into contact and recycled to the backs who forced Jed back on to the defence. The driving rain made ball retention difficult and excellent approach work by GHA foundered as the ball went to ground.The first five minutes of the half centred around the half way line as the visitors visibly grew in confidence. Messrs Gillman and Goudie worked tirelessly to probe for gaps and to launch a speedy back line with a variety of well worked feints and mis passes.As we reached the tenth minute of the half a bout of kicking by both sides saw the ball cross and recross the divide but with little effect. The appalling conditions were causing players to knock on and drop passes. However GHA stuck manfully to the task of overhauling the deficit and on thirteen minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty for offside which Andrew Goudie managed to convert to give further hope to the Glasgow side who had started the second half in determined frame of mind. The score was now : JED-FOREST 26 GHA 13.The efforts by GHA to find their rhythm were clearly worrying the home side and the home support became increasingly concerned as their team struggled to cope with the increased intensity from the visitors. Despite that the home side grimly stuck to their task stopping surging breaks from Elliott Hardie and James McCarthy. Pressure deep into the JED twenty two metre line resulted in a penalty being awarded to

GHA at the five metre line. Once again GHA drove for the line with every forward in the visiting side straining every sinew to get man and ball across the line. As the Jed side defended GHA released the ball and excellent handling in such conditions saw James Edgar ( whose running with compatriot Andrew Spowart had caused Jed problems all afternoon) dived over to score . Andrew Goudie converted to great acclaim from the visiting support to make the score after twenty minutes JED-FOREST 26 GHA 20.

The home side regathered for what would be a tense last quarter. The pattern of the half was now set. GHA would take the ball into contact then recycle and despite the slippery ball move the ball through hands hoping to find a gap in the home defence. Several promising breaks by the visiting team perished as the conditions took their toll as passes failed to go to hand or the ball was lost in the tackle. As we headed towards the final quarter GHA continued to apply pressure but the hosts were determined not to lose the advantage. However despite resistance, the home support were horrified to see Ben Addison exploit space created by close order passing to score to the left of the posts. The visiting support rose to acclaim this fight back. Andrew Goudie just failed with the conversion which meant with just under ten minutes to go the score was: JED-FOREST 26 GHA 25.

Both sets of supporters glanced anxiously towards the electronic scoreboard to check how long was left of this increasingly exciting encounter. The last few minutes saw GHA trying everything to break through again but JED-FOREST held firm and indeed as the final whistle approached they managed to clear the ball deep into the GHA half which forced the visitors back to their own twenty two metres. Jed held on to record a very narrow victory. FInal Score: JED-FOREST 26 GHA 25.

This was a match which the visitors will know they could have won. An indifferent start allowed the home side to put points on the scoreboard and force GHA to chase the game. Had the visitors begun this match in the manner they played the second half then they could well have triumphed. JED took their chances, defended well but were clearly surprised by the the second half effort of the visitors.





Photo Credit Colin Robinson

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