GHA 33 Dundee HSFP 3
Despite several days of constant rain it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the match at Braidholm was on this Saturday. In fact despite the dreadful weather over recent days the pitch had held up remarkably well. Whilst heavy underfoot there was little wind to trouble the players and as kick off approached the weather improved somewhat. A walk along the Braidholm Boulevard reveals the rapidly emerging 3G pitch, Both sides prepared carefully working in separate units before running plays with the full complement.
Dundee kicked off and the ball was gathered by the home side. Michael Scott burst through the middle ably supported by his fellow forwards and play was swept up to the Dundee twenty two metre line.The home side were keen to establish an early foothold in the match and Dundee were forced to make hurried relieving kicks in the first minutes.Superb work by messrs Macfarlane and Lonergan forced the visitors to defend desperately. For the first ten minutes the visitors could not force the play out of their own half. A number of spilled passes and knock ons and several wrong options meant that all the pressure from the home side failed to achieve a score.Just as it seemed that the home side would score, Dundee broke out and took play to the other end of the pitch. In a resolute defence George Baird managed to clear the immediate danger. However Dundee prompted by Harry Mercer and Joshua Rutnagur , looked for a way through the home defence. Indeed several scoring opportunities for the visitors were spurned as passes were spilled or the ball knocked on. The number of knock ons in the match by both sides was extraordinary and continually meant that momentum was broken at key moments of pressure in the first half.
As we reached mid way through the first half, Dundee had settled into the match and were countering the GHA offensive moves with some of their own. Play tended to move from one end of the pitch to another with just a rushed pass causing moves to break down. GHA began to reassert themselves and following excellent approach work by the home forwards working in concert with very alert backs, Bob Kaspar went over to score to loud cries from the home support.George Baird made the conversion and the score after twenty eight minutes was: GHA 7 DUNDEE 0.
This score acted as a spur to the visitors who threw everything into attack, A marvellous side stepping break by Duncan McIntyre made ground for Dundee and a break by Daniel McGinn was only stopped on the line by a desperate last ditch tackle.As we approached half time Dundee began to exert pressure on the home defence who had to work hard to prevent an incursion. In thirty seven minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty in front of the posts for offside. Fraser McKay converted the penalty to make the score at half time: GHA 7 DUNDEE 3.
GHA had had the bulk of the pressure and penetration in the first half and fumbled passes and knock ons and perhaps wrong options had allowed Dundee to come back into the match. There was a clear air of frustration amongst the home side and perhaps a realisation that a more patient and controlled approach at critical moments in the match would bring success. Dundee were also guilty of squandering a chance or two and knew that they had struggled to hold a fast moving home side.
GHA began the second half in determined mood. Quickly the home side established territorial position deep in the Dundee half. Faster ball moved through the energetic and talented GHA back line supported by the home forwards was giving Dundee great concern. Probings by messrs MacFarlane and Lonergan were setting up striking opportunities. After three minutes of the half impressive work by the home forwards allowed Ross Angus to go over to score. George Baird converted to make the score: GHA 14 DUNDEE 3.
The visitors attempted to make an immediate riposte to this score but found the home defence resolute and indeed Bob Kaspar created a turn over in midfield which allowed George Baird to place an angular kick deep into Dundee territory. As the visitors desperately tried to regroup a huge concerted drive by the home forwards drove Dundee off the ball inside their five metre area and allowed Bob Kaspar to score. The conversion was missed and the score was now after eight minutes: GHA 19 DUNDEE 3.
There was a more controlled and patient approach to contact from the home side which stifled the visitors and kept them penned in their own half.There followed several minutes of attempted kicks into space by both sides but by the fifteenth minute of the half, the home side had again established dominance deep in the Dundee half.A number of thrusts by messrs Carson, McCarthy Scott and Ewing set up good field position for the home side. GHA were awarded a penalty inside the Dundee twenty two metre area. A quickly taken penalty presented the ball to Max MacFarlane who produced a sublime side step to waltz through the Dundee defence, totally wrong-footed to score. The try was converted and the score after nineteen minutes was now: GHA 26 DUNDEE 3.
To their credit, Dundee refused to buckle and tried hard to gain territory however they were now giving away a number of penalties as their efforts to prevent further GHA incursions had become stretched at times. George Baird took play deep into the Dundee twenty two metre are but the visitors managed to clear the danger with some excellent defensive work. The match had been played at a fast pace and as we approached the half hour both sides began to tire. There followed several minutes of aimless kicking with little ground being made. As we approached the final few minutes Jamie McCarthy and Bob Kaspar made several inroads into the Dundee half before recycling. Adam Barnett made a huge break right through the heart of the Dundee defence before being stopped. The ball was carefully recycled to allow Grant Mollison to go over to score. The try was converted and the final score was: GHA 33 DUNDEE 3.
GHA had produced a much more controlled and accurate second half working patiently with good variation to trouble the Dundee defence. The combination of forward power and fast hands in the backs proved too much on the day for the Dundee side.Thus GHA completed a notable victory home and away against Dundee.
GHA: J. EDGAR, A. SPOWART, C. LONERGAN, M. MacFARLANE, B. ADDISON, M. HOUSTON, G. BAIRD, S. CARSON, M. SCOTT, M. FOX, B. KASPAR, J. McCARTHY, A. KERR, D. EWING, R. ANGUS – REPLACEMENTS: A. CORNWELL, T. BROGAN, A. BARNETT, A. PUREWAL, G. MOLLISON
SCORERS: T – KASPAR (2), ANGUS, MACFARLANE, MOLLISON C – BAIRD (4)
DUNDEE HSFP: F. McKAY, K. D’AETH, D. McINYRE, S. LETHANGIE, D. McGINN, H. MERCER, J. RUTNAGUR, N. DYMOCK, C. STEWART, H. MEADOWS, A. THOMSON, E. GREWAR, A. HAMILTON, A. FARQUHAR, S. BARLOW – REPLACEMENTS: L. McLEAN N. TURNBULL, K. FRANCO, R. McGINN, P. RITCH
SCORERS: P – MCKAY
REFEREE: MR D YOUNG
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Mr B NEVINS & MR A PARRY