Greenock Wanderers 0 GHA 32
After a lengthy lay off due to the awful weather over the last 5 weeks it was fantastic to have a sunny and virtually windless day in Greenock to restart the rugby season.
Although both teams were relatively rusty after the layoff they served up a great match for the watching supporters with GHA eventually running out victorious by 32-0.
Greenock started the game in the ascendency and pinned back GHA for the first 15 minutes with strong and aggressive forward play and some good back moves with their centres making telling breaks through the stretched GHA defence. However, some poor handling let them down and GHA were able to capitalise and start to slowly edge their way into the game, winning good forward ball on their own 22 and surging forward culminating in a try, after 16 minutes, in the corner by Andy Black. Given that this was his first match for 6 months after injury, he showed fine awareness and strong running for a well deserved score. Unfortunately, from right out on the touchline the conversion attempt was narrowly missed.
A period of scrappy play from both sides ensued as cold hands caused many spilled passes and consequently knock-ons. In addition, both sides gave away several penalties in their eagerness to get in control of the ball. It came as no surprise after Greenock conceded a penalty in front of the posts that Davy Scott added a further 3 points to make the score 8-0 after 28 minutes.
With the final play of the half Kelso Brown touched down after some superb offloads amongst the forwards and with Davy duly converting the half time score was 15-0 to GHA.
Within 5 minutes gone in the second half GHA were awarded yet another penalty as the Greenock forwards were on the wrong side of the ruck but an excellent kick from right on the touchline from Davy fell agonisingly short.
Two quick tries followed 9 in the 50th & 55th minutes, as the GHA forwards started to exert their influence on the game with several scrums taken against the head. Both tries were scored after the backs strung passes across both sides of the pitch giving touchdowns to Andy Black in one corner and Mark Carnan in the other. Davy converted the latter of these to make the score 27-0 in GHAs favour.
James Hendry completed the scoring with another excellent try in the 66th minute clearly showing to all that when moving the ball wide, space is created for the wingers to utilise which resulted in 4 of GHAs 5 tries. Final score Greenock 0 GHA 32
Several pleasing aspects can be drawn from this match; firstly all the GHA squad got some game time and the extra training done in the gym when the weather was its poorest gave those who attended an extra period of fitness when those around were flagging a little.
All those who participated put up a sterling performance but three players stood out from the rest and they were Andy Black, Kelso Brown and Andy Mather.
A special mention must also be made of our 2 new recruits, Craig Williamson & Rob McLintock, who have recently joined us from West of Scotland and have fitted in really well.
Next up are Glenrothes (away) in Round 2 of the National Cup on Saturday 30th January and then we entertain a touring team from Belfast High School on Sunday 31st January at Braidholm. All are welcome to come and watch.
Craig Williamson, Tom Ritchie, Andy Mather, Calum Hunter, Adam Barnett, Nick McCaw, Calum Shields and Ross Carty
Josh Rutnagur, David Scott, Francesco Di Cosmo, Gordon Belch, Andy Black, Mark Carnan & Rory Hughes
Replacements – From
Ben McGinty, Kelso Brown, Matt Conner, Johnnie Haughney, Euan MaCallum, James Hendry, Cameron Gilchrist, Amir Najafian, Rob McLintock & Ben Thomson
Greenock Wanderers 0 GHA 32