As a new year dawns, lets set of again on our weekly stroll down memory lane with some Saturday club rugby from years past.
As January 2014 dawned, GHA found themselves in a West Cup semi-final against Hillhead / Jordanhill. The Westenders arrived at Braidholm as favourites to book their berth against Glasgow Hawks in the final, having beaten GHA in the final game of 2013. However, the home side showed a great turnaround in form to achieve the win.
GHA OVERCOME HILLHEAD TO REACH WEST CUP FINAL
GHA RFC MATCH 277: GHA RFC 39 – 22 HILLHEAD / JORDANHILL RFC
2013/2014: West Cup – Semi-Final
HILLHEAD / JORDANHILL RFC
|S. Lang||15||A. Leslie|
|R. Jericevich||14||R. McLaughlin|
|H. O’Hare||13||C. Butler|
|A. Henderson (c)||12||A. Holland|
|C. Binnie||11||D. Osugo|
|N. Cassie||10||R. Holland|
|M. Houston||9||T. Davidson|
|J. White||1||J. Phyfer|
|G. King||2||J. Leslie|
|S. Gallacher||3||B. MacKenzie|
|R. Jenkins||4||C. Buchan|
|J. Auld||5||J. Agnew|
|D. Malcolm||6||D. Grove|
|P. Harkins||7||(c) S. Ross|
|A. Auld||8||B. MacPherson|
|G. Eusebi||16||M. Robertson|
|M. Fox||17||S. Halliday|
|D. Larkin||18||C. Woods|
|D. Dunn||19||C. Tulloch|
|G. Adams||20||D. Crichton|
|Cassie (2), J. Auld, Binnie, Henderson||Try||Butler, R. Holland, Osugo|
|Lang (4)||Con||A. Leslie (2)|
|Houston, Lang||Pen||A. Leslie|
|Mr C. Samson (Caledonia RS)|
What a turnaround in two weeks! GHA finished 2013 with an away defeat by Hillhead/Jordanhill in the National League, but they then began the New Year with victory against the same opposition from across the Clyde in the West Region Cup semi-final at Braidholm on Saturday. GHA now go on to a final against Glasgow Hawks at Old Anniesland this coming Saturday.
Over the two matches the swing was 30 points; 20-7 to Hills last month, a margin of 17 to GHA in the cup-tie. The principal reason for that change in fortunes was that GHA were more aggressive in their defensive play than they had been at Hughenden. Crucial to that was the return of Andy Henderson and Hefin O’Hare to form a midfield triumvirate with Niall Cassie.
GHA’s lineout misfired too often, but in other respects the pack had an afternoon to enjoy, not least Donald Malcolm, who, starting as open-side flanker, continued the eager rugby that he had played as a late replacement in the Hughenden match. Relishing the forwards’ work, Murray Houston was lively and sharp.
Cassie scored two of his team’s five tries. Henderson had one, as did Chris Binnie and Jamie Auld. Scott Lang converted all but the first try as well as kicking a penalty goal, and Houston finished off the day with a penalty goal.
For much of the contest, however, it was not plain sailing for GHA even though they had an 8-0 lead in the first 10 minutes. Cassie opened the scoring from lead-up by Lang and Houston, and though Lang missed the conversion he soon compensated with a penalty goal after Jamie Auld had been thwarted at the posts.
However, Hills were ahead by two points less than 10 minutes from half-time, and the scores were level at 15 apiece at the interval. Andy Leslie responded in kind to Lang’s goal, and putting the visitors ahead, he also converted a Christopher Butler try after Thomas Davidson had set up a close-range scrum off GHA’s loose lineout. Binnie restored the GHA lead when he picked up a loose ball about 20 metres out and sprinted in, Lang converting from close on the left touchline, but Daniel Osugo dived in to equalise off a five-metre scrum just before half-time. Leslie missed that conversion attempt from wide out.
As in the first half, so it was after the interval, with GHA striking twice in nine minutes. When the lively Houston was denied just short of the line Henderson quickly tapped a penalty to score beside the posts, and Cassie sneaked in at the left corner for his second try. Lang not only converted those two tries, but he ignited the pressure for the first of them by running the ball back from an opposition kick.
Hills, though 14 points down, came back with a Ryan Holland try in 54 minutes. Leslie converted, but just on the hour GHA went 14 points up again when lineout possession and the forwards’ pick-and-drive play created the close-range position for Houston to copy his captain with a no-delay penalty tap for Jamie Auld’s try.
Hills had their chances to be closer to GHA in the final 25 minutes. Twice possible tries slipped their grasps with knock-ons, and the visitors were also once held up over the home goal-line.
It even looked as though the final quarter of an entertaining contest would be scoreless, but two minutes into added time Houston slotted a penalty goal.
Source: Bill McMurtrie