GHA 26 Selkirk 15
After the freezing conditions of last week it was a delight to see Braidholm bathed in the Spring sun. The clubhouse was very busy as members of Clarkston RFC came together for a lunch to celebrate the eightieth birthday of the grand old club. GHA also dedicated the stand to two club legends in Andy Williams and Stuart Wallace. Thus it was an emotional and special day for everyone. Bob Auld gave the audience a hilarious take on the bond between Castlemilk and the club.
A large crowd gathered as both sides made their preparations, both sides realised the importance of this match to their league standing.The pitch was in very good condition and only a slight breeze ruffled the flags around the pitch. Observing the preparations it was clear that there was a quiet determination about the home side perhaps remembering how they could have won the match at Selkirk earlier in the season. Scott Carson already a club legend joined the pantheon of players who have played 100 matches for GHA..a very select band of brothers.
Selkirk kicked off and the ball was gathered by Seitaro Usuda and he immediately launched an attack by forwards and backs into the Selkirk half. However the Selkirk defence was firm and as the visitors regained possession there were probes by Ross Nixon and Darren Clapperton. Both sides in these early minutes were moving the ball at pace looking for ways to penetrate the respective defences. After eight minutes Selkirk established a control of territory and in a well worked move Darren Clapperton ( who was at the centre of much of Selkirk’s good play) went over in the corner to score. The score was GHA 0 SELKIRK 5.
The conversion failed and GHA took the match straight back to Selkirk. The line speed and effective tackling of GHA was causing Selkirk problems. After twelve minutes and after several minutes of sustained pressure, Andrew Goudie improvised with a grubber kick through the startled Selkirk defence and running through managed to score to the delight of the home crowd. An excellent conversion by the stand off made the score: GHA 7 SELKIRK 5.
GHA were determined to build on the control they had begun to establish and excellent work in the loose gave the home side possession. A seering break by Charles Lonergan cut through the Selkirk defence. GHA were awarded a penalty from the breakdown and Andrew Goudie drilled the ball to the corner. From the resulting lineout the home side spun the ball wide to allow Andrew Sprowart to score in the corner. Andrew Goudie converted the score to make the score after twenty minutes: GHA 14 SELKIRK 5.
Selkirk sensing that this was a pivotal time in the match redoubled their efforts and began to again territory in the GHA half. A stunning break by Frazer Anderson forced the home side on to the backfoot. The visiting side recycled the ball through the backs and Josh Welsh scored in the corner. The conversion was missed . The score was now: GHA 14 SELKIRK 10.
This had been a quick response by Selkirk in what was an evenly contested match…neither side was able to dominate for long periods before the initiative went to the other side. GHA made huge efforts to retain the ball in the Selkirk half, a variety of two man and three man drives gained ground for the home side and forced Selkirk back. As we reached the half hour the GHA forwards were working tirelessly to get the ball over the line but Selkirk managed to hold the line. A penalty to Selkirk relieved the pressure. A feature of the match was the delays at scrum time. This tended to break momentum for either side and perhaps introduced an element of tension between the players. The first half finished with GHA attempting to hem the visitors in their own twenty two metre area and Selkirk going through their defensive repertoire to get out of their own twenty two area. The match was evenly balanced but GHA were entitled to feel at half time that had a couple of passes gone to hand then there would have been more points on the board. Selkirk were very much still in the match.
The second half began with the home side kicking deep into Selkirk territory. A penalty awarded to Selkirk for an infringement allowed the visitors to take play up to the GHA ten metre line. Both sides attacked with every bit of possession and both defences just managed to hold out. Suddenly GHA were being forced back into their own half. The visitors moved the ball between forwards and backs and tied in the GHA forwards. Selkirk operating deep inside the GHA half were running very tight angles and recycling which put a huge strain on the home defence. After excellent foraging Luke Pettie went over to score supported by the rest of the Selkirk pack. A difficult conversion attempt failed and with fifteen minutes of the half gone the score was: GHA 14 SELKIRK 15.
The tension now was palpable as both sides regrouped ready for an all out effort to wrestle control of the match. Selkirk enjoyed some control of the action for several minutes and the running and support play of Daniel Clapperton was stretching the home defence. However the home side managed to stem the assault by Selkirk and indeed began to force their presence into the Selkirk half. Both sets of forwards were giving their all and in a melee amongst the citizens of the scrum Michael Scott was given a yellow card. On the face of it this numerical advantage would suggest that Selkirk could take control of the match. Astonishingly the home side redoubled their efforts knocking down every Selkirk player attempting to break free. The GHA forwards to a man hit rucks and mauls as if their lives depended on it and clearly rattled the Selkirk players. Messrs Goudie and Gillman were orchestrating move after move and the arrival of George Baird kept the momentum going. GHA were playing with even greater intensity than they had been displaying and in a superb move which involved most of the home side Charlie Lonergan carrying or passing the ball, flew over the line to wild cheering from the home support.. Thus on the half hour the score was GHA 19 Selkirk 15.
The conversion was missed which meant that one score separated the teams…one mistake could lead to victory of defeat. Both sides made every effort to control the direction of the match but GHA began to force the visitors into their own half. The intensity of the GHA play was giving Selkirk problems and forcing them into rushed passes. In thirty eight minutes Scott Plumridge tore through the Selkirk lines putting in two powerful tackles in quick succession which forced Selkirk to knock the ball on.In fact in a superb piece of skill, Scott hacked the ball through and seemed to have got the ball over the line and down only to be deemed to have knocked on. However with time running out drives by David Corbenici, Scott Carson helped work an excellent attacking position for Michael Scott to score which was converted. The score was now GHA 26 SELKIRK 15.
With a minute or two additional time due to stoppages Selkirk attacked again but the GHA defence was resolute. The final whistle brought an entertaining match to an end. Selkirk found the intensity and cohesiveness of the home side especially in the last twenty minutes too much to handle.
GHA: J.EDGAR, A.SPROWART, C.LONERGAN, C.TUCOULET, B.ADDISON, A.GOUDIE, A.GILLMAN, S.CARSON, S.USUDA, M.SCOTT, D.CORBENICI, A.KERR, D.EWING, J.SUTHERLAND, R.ANGUS – Replacements: K.CHERNICK, L.MAVUNGA, S.PLUMRIDGE, M.MACFARLANE, G.BAIRD
Scorers: T – GOUDIE, LONERGAN, SCOTT, SPOWART C – GOUDIE (3)
SELKIRK: S.HAMILTON, F.ANDERSON, D.CLAPPERTON, R.NIXON, J.WELSH, A.McCOLM, C. McEWAN, L.PETTIE, N.HALL, D.ANDERSON, A.RENWICK, M.GORDON, S.NIXON, D.NICHOL, E.MCDOUGALL – Replacements: J.BETT, B.RIDDELL, R.REILLY, C.MacDOUGALL, G.ROSS
Scorers: T – CLAPPERTON, PETTIE, WELSH
REFEREE: MR R ARTHUR
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Mr W ANDERSON Ms M HAY