GHA 34 Jed-Forest 40
An overcast day greeted the teams at Braidholm. The pitch was ideal for running rugby. A slight wind blew across the pitch in what was quite a clammy atmosphere. Both teams prepared to establish routines, running a mixture of drills and warm up exercises. Matches with Jed -Forest are always keenly contested and todays match was to be no different.
GHA kicked off and regained possession,looking to recycle and build possession. The home side were awarded a penalty on the visitors ten metre line when an overeager number of players had strayed into an offside position. The conversion attempt failed . However GHA attacked again from the restart and a hack through by Dario Ewing had the Jed defence desperately trying to cover the incursion. Following a five metre scrum the home side moved forward and recycled the ball in a several player move, James Sutherland went over to score after four minutes to make the score GHA 5 JED-FOREST 0.
The conversion attempt hit the post and fell back. This miss and several others throughout the match would prove costly. GHA continued to apply pressure to a Jed side which found the fluid passing amongst the home sides forwards and backs difficult to contain. Ross Mccorkindale in tandem with George Baird were continually searching for gaps in the Jed rearguard. By the tenth minute GHA looked to make their early dominance pay off. George Baird took a penalty quickly and caused panic amongst the Border side as he ran from the Jed ten metre line.Another penalty inside the Jed five metre line was quickly taken and the ball shipped to Michael Scott who crashed through the Jed defence to score. Scott Plumridge converted the try to make the score after ten minutes GHA 12 JED-FOREST 0.
The visitors clearly troubled by the confident and effective start by the home side began to regroup and Euan Scott began to use his fellow backs to ask questions of the home defence. Jed began to enjoy some possession and a scrum deep inside the GHA half offered a good attacking position. To the delight of the home support a huge drive totally disrupted the Jed heel and in the resulting ruckus, Cameron Mackay was yellow carded. The home side were playing with authority and the visitors found the slick passing and movement of messrs Baird, McCorkindale,MacFarlane and Lonergan difficult to control. At this stage the artistry of the backs was matched by the ball retaining drives of Michael Fox Jamie McCarthy and Ross Angus. As we reached the twentieth minute the home side drove the visitors back deep into their own half and a superbly executed move between forward and backs allowed James Edgar to go in at the corner. The conversion was missed and the score was now GHA 17 JEF-FOREST 0.
Darren Gillespie was yellow carded for a high tackle. This meant that the visitors were temporarily reduced to thirteen players. They had really struggled to make an impact in the match as GHA attacked at every opportunity. However the visitors refused to panic and set about trying to establish some parity in the match.As we headed towards the twenty fifth minute Jed were awarded a scrum on the GHA twenty two metre line. From the resulting heel, Euan Scott broke through tackles to score under the posts . he converted his own try and the score was now GHA 17 JED-FOREST 7.
This score and the ease with which it was executed seemed to galvanise the visitors who sought every opportunity despite being outmanned to run the ball at GHA. Sustained pressure from the visitors allowed Clark Skeldon to go over from the twenty two metre line . The conversion now made the score GHA 17 JED-FOREST 14.
This astonishing turn around of events clearly rattled the home side who suddenly seemed bereft of their early confidence. By contrast Jed visibly grew in confidence and seemingly unhindered by being two men down began to ask questions of the GHA defence. Suddenly it was the home side who were defending desperately as Jed sensed the game was turning in their favour. Excellent driving work by Darren Gillespie allowed him to batter his way over the line in the thirty fourth minute . the try was converted and the score was now GHA 17 JED-FOREST 21.
As we moved towards half time there were signs that the home side were recovering some of their composure and they took the play deep into the Jed half. A great break by James Edgar carried the play up to the five metre area of the visitors. Another penalty award set up Jamie McCarthy who slipped the ball inside to Ben Addison who shot over the line to score. The score was now GHA 22 JED-FOREST 21.
The conversion was missed and it was Jed who looked shellshocked at this turn of events so near the interval.A huge break by Jamie McCarthy sent alarm bells ringing in the visiting defence which resulted in a penalty award to the home side.George Baird angled his kick to drive play up to the Jed five metre line. Michael Scott took the ball at the lineout and with his compatriots providing support he went over to score. The score was now GHA 27 JED-FOREST 21. The try was converted which made the half time score GHA 29 JED- FOREST 21.
It had been a pulsating first half. GHA began the half in spirited form and had given themselves a comfortable lead which they clearly wanted to build on. Then over a period of ten minutes with Jed reduced in personnel defensive errors allowed Jed to come straight back into the match. That GHA had managed to go in front of Jed just before half time says a great deal about their resilience. With both sides running the ball at every opportunity it seemed certain that there would be further scores in the match.
The second half began with Jed attacking. Tension spilled over the players and not for the first time in this match the referee spoke to both captains. GHA recovered the ball and in a combination of two and three man drives worked their way into the Jed half.Another penalty to the home side saw the ball kicked towards the corner. From the line-out the home side quickly worked the ball between the forwards and despite desperate attempts by the visitors James Sutherland dived over to score after five minutes of the half. The conversion was missed and the score was now GHA 34 JED-FOREST 21.
From the restart Jed claimed the ball and from halfway Lewis Young made a searing break through the home lines only to be stopped almost on the line but Jed reworked the ball patiently and as the ball was fired out Lewis Young made no mistake as he found a gap to go over in the seventh minute. The try was not converted and the score was now GHA 34 JED-FOREST 26.
Both sides attempted to gain territory with a mixture of forward drives, back penetrations and kicks ahead. Both sides won possession then lost it with a turnover or loose pass.As a result there was a stop start nature to the match for several minutes. Constant resetting of scrums also tended to break up play. As we reached the twenty second minute a halfway move by the visitors allowed Gregor Young to sail through the home defence to score. The try was converted which made the score in this astonishing match GHA 34 JED-FOREST 33.
The game was now very evenly balanced and it seemed that the side that could find a way through the defences would carry the day. Further altercations between players reflected the growing tension.in the match as we headed into the last ten minutes. Jed mounted a series of attacks which forced the home side on to the back foot Jed were now inside the GHA twenty two metre area and were patiently working the ball to tie in the home defence. Darren Gillespie seized his chance and despite desperate attempts by the home side to stop him went over in the thirty fifth minute to wild celebrations from the visiting support. The try was converted making the score GHA 34 JED-FOREST 40.
Despite frantic attempts to attack the Jed line by GHA the visitors held out to win the match. There had been a lot of exciting rugby played in the match and the home side will rue a ten minute period in the first half when they allowed the visitors to come right back into the match. They will also have to consider how they failed to close out the match in the second half.
GHA: G.MOLLISON, J.EDGAR, C.LONERGAN, M MacFARLANE, B.ADDISON, R.MCCORKINDALE, G.BAIRD, M.SCOTT, D.EWING, M.FOX, J.McCARTHY, A.KERR, S.PLUMRIDGE, R ANGUS, J.SUTHERLAND – REPLACEMENTS: L.BARRON, K.CHERNICK, B.KASPAR, C.KING, R.FINDLAY
SCORERS: T – SCOTT (2), SUTHERLAND (2), ADDISON, EDGAR C – PLUMRIDGE, BAIRD
JED-FOREST: L. YOUNG, C. YOUNG, G. YOUNG, M. MITCHELL, R. MARSHALL, E. SCOTT, G. MUNRO, G. PAXTON, C. MACKAY, P. FERREIRA, C. SKELDON, G. LAW, D.WARDROP, G. TAYLOR, D. GILLESPIE – REPLACEMENTS: T. JEFFREY, J. OLIVER, J. NORTHWOOD, J. HOWE, R. HOGG
SCORERS: T – GILLESPIE (2), SCOTT, SKELDON, G. YOUNG, L. YOUNG C – SCOTT (5)
REFEREE: MR L FISH
ASSISTANT REFEREES: MR A LAING & MS M HAY