Peebles 18 GHA 21
GHA’s game verusus Peebles at the Gytes was one of only a handful of league fixtures that beat the weather last Saturday and the game was played out in a biting cold wind and, for around 15 minutes, a full on snow blizzard. To the credit of both sets of players, it was a decent game of rugby, with the lead changing hands on 5 occasions and some well worked tries.
After Peebles sound win the previous week against Aberdeen Grammar a wave of optimism was spreading amongst the Peebles faithful, another 4 or 5 pointer would do wonders for lifting Peebles well away from the league drop zone.
Peebles took to the field in to wind for the first half, a tactic which always seems to have been the Peebles way. Scott McCormick is obviously no stranger in playing in to a wind where kicking options are limited, marshalling the forwards well as route 1 became the only way forward in to the fierce wind.
Peebles scored first after an early onslaught saw full back Greg Raeburn exploit a mismatch in the GHA midfield to ghost through a gap.
GHA’s response was almost immediate. After some determined build up play, Scott Carson scored his first try of the season by bulldozing over from close range. Goudie converted to give GHA the lead.
Peebles hit back with a well taken penalty by Raeburn before GHA rounded out the half with another determined effort in the Peebles 22 that eventually wore down the Peebles defence and Niall Cassie muscled his way through some tired defenders for the score. Goudie again slotted the conversion to give GHA 14 to 8 half time lead.
The teams ran out for the 2nd half into the aforementioned blizzard and the task looked daunting for GHA with the wind, and snow, now blowing into their faces. Peebles started the half strongly and prop Graham Hogarth scored from close range after a quick tap penalty, Raeburn converting the try and another penalty for a 18-14 lead..
Thankfully for GHA, the snow died down and in a flowing move that defied the conditions they spread the ball wide and advanced to the Peebles 22. Second Row Adam Barnett spotted a gap in the ruck and waltzed through and around the full back for a terrific score that saw GHA regain the lead by a point. Andrew Goudie then slotted the nigh impossible conversion into the wind from the right hand touchline to give GHA a 3 point cushion.
Although Peebles did subsequently miss a penalty chance that would have squared up the scores, GHA had the chance to secure a bonus point at the death with two lineouts in the Peebles 22 however both came to nothing. This would have been the icing on the cake after a performance full of character in such adverse conditions. Given the conditions though, no one was complaining.
Peebles coach Drew Moore stated “A losing bonus point is not to be snuffed at against the second most consistent team in the league, an opportunity for 4 points was definitely missed though, the second half just vanished away from us, before you know it you’re 3 points down and the final whistle goes” which summed up the second half rather well.
“The aim was and still is to make the top four after a disappointing end to last year, we had the performance today but just didn’t get the points”.
Peebles: G. Raeburn, N. Mather, C. Anderson, D. Smith, M. Anderson, D. Anderson, S. McCormick, M. Carryer, R. McConnell, A. Brown, R. Brown, K. Clyde, K. Brown, R. Harrison, D. Hall – Replacements: R. Wilson, G. Hogarth, L. Brinck, C. Blyth, J. Harrison
Scorers: T – Hogarth, Raeburn C – Raeburn P – Raeburn (2)
GHA: Chris Binnie; Rangi Jericevich, Niall Cassie , Andrew Henderson, Euan Greer; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Scott Carson, Donald Malcolm, Michael Fox, Adam Barnett, Chris McGeogh, Alan Auld, Andrew Boag, Grant MacDonald. Replacements: Jamie Leslie, Lewis Anderson, Jamie Auld, Ross Angus, Murray Houston.
Scorers: T – Barnett, Carson, Cassie C – Goudie (3)
Referee: Mr G. Ormiston
Source: Chris Nairn & Peebles RFC