GHA END SEASON WITH HUMILIATION AT CHAMPIONS

GHA RFC MATCH 192: STIRLING COUNTY RFC 75 – 19 GHA RFC 

2009/2010: Scottish Premiership Two

STIRLING COUNTY RFC 

 GHA RFC

R. McGowan 15 G. Taylor
B. Addison 14 R. Jericevich
F. Lyle 13 P. Hilley
B. Archibald 12 A. Rushforth
G. Bryce 11 C. Binnie
J. Hope 10 N. Cassie (c)
S. Kennedy 9 A. Gillman
A. Hunter 1 G. Warnock
(c) A. Moffat 2 J. Low
G. Mountford 3 M. Kidd
D. Mountford 4 D. Stoddart
C. Deacons 5 R. Jenkins
C. Faill 6 J. Auld
B. Bersanti 7 J. Pinder
J. Clarke 8 D. Kellock
C. Black 16 C. Landsburgh
M. McDonald 17 A. MacFarlane
A. Simpson 18 M. Houston
R. Aitken 19 R. O’Keefe
Bersanti (2), Clarke (2), McGowan (2), Addison, Archibald, Bryce, G. Mountford, Simpson Try Gillman (2), Pinder
Archibald (7), McGowan (3) Con Gillman (2)
Pen
DG
Referee
Mr C. Samson (Howe of Fife RFC)

 

April is a month GHA would wish to airbrush from the playing record. It was the month of the last two games of the Premier Two programme, and both were heavy defeats. The home loss against Aberdeen Grammar three weeks ago was severe enough, but it was worse at Bridgehaugh on Saturday, with Stirling County scoring 11 tries in winning by 75-19.

Despite the defeat, GHA remained in fifth place in the P2 table. That would change to a final finish of sixth only if Aberdeen win at Gala on Friday night. Stirling were already Premier Two champions, and they were obviously out to celebrate the trophy presentation which followed the match. They were 21 points up in 18 minutes, they secured a bonus point in first-half added time, and seven tries flowed from the champions in the second half.

Fate was not kind to GHA before the match. Two of their most experienced forwards were unavailable, and only a few hours before kick-off Jim Noonan, the long-established pivot, dropped out with injury. Niall Cassie had to take over in the unaccustomed role at stand-off, and even he played only half a game. The captain gave into injury at the interval, and Andrew Gillman had to switch to fly half.

In the circumstances it was hardly surprising that GHA were outgunned in the scrum and struggled for decent possession in the lineout. Yet the mainly young pack, including four 19-year-olds, did not wilt in their determination, though they could not counter the bulk and drive that produced Stirling’s three pile-over tries.

Even though GHA leaked so many tries they still produced dogged defence, none more so than the crossfield covering tackle by Rangi Jericevich to deny Jonny Hope as the County stand-off scampered up the touchline almost into the left corner late in the first half. Cassie (until injured), Andrew Rushforth, and Patrick Hilley also had notable hits in midfield.

GHA, creditably, scored three tries of their own, two of them by the workaholic Gillman. He also converted those scores. His pace from his own quickly tapped penalty nearly 40 metres out carried him clear for a try by the posts, cutting County back to 21-7 after 28 minutes. Jericevich’s elusive work opened the way for Gillman to run diagonally in off the right for his second.

But the best of the GHA scores; perhaps the best of the match, was scored by the persistent Jamie Pinder just after Stirling had reached their half-century midway in the second half. Jericevich opened the door for that GHA score, too, with a run up the right, and Gregg Taylor made the link for the flanker.

GHA might have had another try and a bonus point if Ruairi O’Keefe had not been obstructed as he chased his own kick ahead into the home 22. Incredibly, the referee waved play on, and it was even more frustrating that the official ignored blatant forward passes in the prelude to each of County’s last two tries, scores that bracketed Gillman’s second in the final 12 minutes.

Robbie McGowan, Benji Bersanti and Jonny Clarke each had two tries for Stirling. Ben Addison, Glenn Bryce, Andy Simpson, and Garry Mountford had one apiece, as did Brain Archibald, who also goaled seven of the tries. McGowan kicked three conversions.

Source: Bill McMurtrie and The Daily Record, Wednesday 28th April 2010

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