Nine-try romp keeps GHA in National 1

Musselburgh 39 GHA 61 

GHA had a merry match at Musselburgh, scoring no fewer than nine tries, three of them by James Edgar. But more important than the huge tally was that victory at Stoneyhill kept GHA in the BT National League Division 1.

It helped GHA, too, that Howe of Fife and Peebles were defeated. Those results allowed the Braidholm club to ease up from tenth to eighth place.

A four-try bonus point was in the bag before half-time. On the way there, however, GHA were never more than 11 points ahead, and late in the first half they were behind at 14-17. The GHA lead was only six points half-time, and though they drew away in the second half it was a concern, tempering victory and safety, that they leaked as many as six tries, two of them to driving mauls off lineout ball. The home contribution added in a match tally of a neat century of points.

GHA’s strength was in the pace that Musselburgh could not match among the backs. In addition to Edgar’s trio of tries, Andrew Gillman had two: Ben Addison and Alan Auld had one each, as did Peter Jericevich, who also kicked eight conversions. Erik Cavan was the one forward to score.

Musselburgh opened the scoring with a penalty goal by Danny Owenson in the first minute. But Gillman quickly responded with a kick-and-chase try on the left, and Edgar followed his fellow wing’s example with a mirror try up the right, though from longer range from inside his own half. Jericevich converted from tight in the respective corners, and GHA were 14-3 up after 16 minutes.

However, while Gillman was in the sin-bin Musselburgh responded with tries by Owenson and James Doig. Both were converted by Owenson to put GHA three points behind.

As soon as Gillman returned it was the hosts’ turn to have a yellow card: while Michael Maltman was in the bin GHA scored twice. Jericevich sent Edgar in again, and the wing then provided for Addison to run in. Again Jericevich added the goal points to both for 28-17, but in first-half added time an Adam Hook try cut the visitors lead to six points.

GHA ran away to an 18-point lead in the second half’s first quarter of an hour. Edgar was again the provider when Gillman scored his second (the only try that Jericevich did not converted), and Auld’s diagonal run to the right led the way for Cavan’s try.

Musselburgh came back again, this time with the first of Fraser Sutherland’s tries off a lineout maul on the hour. But GHA turned up the pace again: Auld ran in from 40 metres, and Andy Henderson’s neat backhand pass out Edgar away for his third. The scrum half’s conversions put GHA 27 points up with less than 10 minutes.

Yet again Musselburgh struck back. Sutherland had a replica of his first, Owenson converting, and Adam Hook also scored his second. Only three minutes were left, but that was still time for Jericevich to have the last word as he ran clear from a scrum about 25 metres out to score between the posts. His goal gave him a match haul of 21 points.

GHA’s second XV also made the trip to Musselburgh, winning their National Reserve League Division 2 match by 77-19.

Musselburgh: James Doig; Sandy Watt, Ryan Hook, Rory Watt, Adam Hook; Danny Owenson, Arthur Sinclair; Fraser Sutherland, Conor Slaven, Donald Grant, Will Lauder, Patrick Brown, Michael Maltman, Michael Fleming, Luke Hutson – Replacements: Grant Talac, Mike Roy, Declan Slaven, Stuart Kirby, Cammy Livingstone.

Scorers: T – Hook (2), Sutherland (2), Doig, Owenson C – Owenson (3) P – Owenson

GHA: Chris Binnie; James Edgar, Ben Addison, Andrew Henderson, Andrew Gillman; Graeme Blackhall, Peter Jericevich; Lyall Archer, Erik Cavan, Michael Fox, Adam Barnett, Jonathan Lyons, Paul Harkins, Grant Neilson, Ross Angus – Replacements: Gordon Campbell, Scott Carson, Chris McGeough, Alan Auld, Calum Gordon.

Scorers: T – Edgar (3), Gillman (2), Addison, Auld, Cavan, Jericevich C – Jericevich (8)

Referee: Steven Turnbull

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