As the days grow shorter, colder and wetter, lets continue our trip down memory lane and try to fill that void of Saturday club rugby.
On the second Saturday of November back in 2011, GHA travelled to Dumfries to face the league leaders. In a tight and physical encounter the home side took revenge for their opening day defeat at Braidholm.
GHA HARVEST LOSING BONUS AT PARK FARM
GHA RFC MATCH 224: DUMFRIES SAINTS RFC 9 – 6 GHA RFC
2011/2012: Scottish Premiership Three
DUMFRIES SAINTS RFC
|T. Hiddleston||15||R. McClymont|
|J. Sloan||14||R. Jericevich|
|A. Whiteford||13||H. O’Hare|
|S. Hiddleston||12||A. Henderson (c)|
|A. Whelan||11||C. Binnie|
|G. Gemmell||10||D. Dunn|
|F. Miller||9||M. Houston|
|G. McCall||1||S. Spowart|
|F. Paul||2||G. King|
|B. Kennedy||3||S. Fisher|
|S. Kennedy||4||A. Barnett|
|D. Henderson||5||J. Auld|
|P. Smith||6||P. MacLeod|
|P. Coupar||7||A. Auld|
|S. Clanachan||8||J. Pinder|
|S. Graham||16||T. Ritchie|
|C. Hogg||17||M. Kidd|
|J. Kerr||18||T. Jericevich|
|K. Henderson||19||J. Brogan|
|T. Hiddleston (3)||Pen||Houston (2)|
|Mr D. Timson|
Dumfries Saints have lost only one game in Premier 3 this season, their opening one away to GHA. This was an opportunity for Saints to gain revenge and also to maintain their 100% Park Farm record this season, they did both with a mighty effort.
GHA fans and players alike were of the common opinion that the Saints had proved the most impressive opponents thus far and it was of no surprise that they sat at the top of the table as GHA made the trip south for the return fixture. However, both teams prowess in the loose and out wide was more or less neutralised on this occasion at the aptly named Park Farm.
Saints started well with early pressure as the game kicked off at a high pace. Sam Hiddleston led the probing runs and the pack drove on well. An early penalty was missed as Tom Hiddleston’s foot gave way under him in the soft conditions. To make matters worse with their first real visit to Saints territory GHA earned a penalty and Murray Houston kicked the points.
Stung into action with renewed vigour Saints charged back downfield and soon won another penalty which Tom Hiddleston kicked to tie the scores. As Saints maintained their pressure Sam Hiddleston was taken out in the air going for a high ball, the GHA sinner was lucky to avoid a card but Tom Hiddleston kicked the penalty to take the lead.
The Saints continued to press but at times tried to play too much rugby in the conditions. A simpler game plan retaining possession might have paid greater dividends. GHA showed when they did manage to get the ball how to retain possession and with patience build phases and frustrate Saints. They got their reward with another penalty which Houston kicked to tie the scores.
A scrum in midfield led to a pick up and go from Stuart Clanachan for Saints, he fed Finlay Miller who put Tom Hiddleston into space, he raced through the gap and the try looked on until he lost his feet swerving past the full back and hit the deck five yards out. Desperate defence kept Saints out, a penalty was kicked to the corner for a line out catch drive which was held up over the line, still the Saints kept the pressure on. The GHA number 8 was yellow carded for killing a ruck but still Saints could not make them pay and the half time whistle released the pressure.
In the second half Saints again started well with territorial pressure and GHA were lucky not to lose another man to the yellow card as Heffin O’Hare made a last ditch tackle and hung on to Graeme Gemmell preventing Saints from getting the ball away, within minutes Saints had a reward when Tom Hiddleston kicked another penalty.
The game entered as intense period as Saints looked for opportunities to stretch their lead and GHA became increasingly desperate to get back on terms. Saints with the pressure well with man of the match Adam Whelan putting in a great shift on the wing. Daniel Henderson was yellow carded for aggressive rucking when the ref had already decided to give Saints the penalty which was reversed. He team mates lifted their effort once again and kept GHA out.
Back to full strength Saints dominated the last ten minutes as they played intelligent rugby to keep the play in the GHA half and deny them the opportunity to get within scoring range.
GHA had plenty of posession inside the Dumfries 22 and yet a number of errors and infringements meant that they failed to convert the opportunities that were there. In the end GHA had to settle for a losing bonus point and despite the narrowness of the loss, this was in fact GHA’s heaviest defeat of the season. This brings GHA’s season to the half way point and the boys know that if they are to challenge for the league title this season, they must pick up their performance level and consistency.
GHA’s 2nd XV defeated Dumfries 2nds by 16 to 5 with a try scored by Benedict Farrell.
Next week GHA are at home to Morgan FP. Kick Off 2pm.
Source: Bill McMurtrie & Dumfries Saints RFC, Monday 14th November 2011