With a new month comes a new story, so lets continue our trip down memory lane and try to fill that void of Saturday afternoon rugby.
This particular trip wont require much effort; it is in fact the last page of GHA’s story so far. On this weekend last year, GHA travelled to the Borders knowing that their Premiership survival hopes may not be in their own hands anymore but that every effort must be made to secure those vital points, unfortunately they were at Phillipshaugh, a ground where they have never won.
LOOSING BONUS POINT SECURES PREMIERSHIP STATUS
GHA RFC MATCH 424: SELKIRK RFC 12 – 13 GHA RFC
2019/2020: Scottish Premiership
|H. Bithray||15||R. O’Keefe|
|J. Welsh||14||J. Craig|
|R. Cottrell||13||G. Mollison|
|R. Nixon||12||C. King|
|C. McNeill||11||A. Purewal|
|Aa. McColm||10||J. MacKinnon|
|L. Merolle||9||S. Simpson|
|M. Haldane||1||E. Cavan|
|J. Bett||2||H. Clark|
|B. Riddell||3||M. Fox|
|P. Forrest||4||A. Barnett|
|S. Rankin||5||J. McCarthy (c)|
|A. Mackay||6||M. Ryan|
|S. McClymont||7||D. Ewing|
|E. MacDougall||8||L. McCutcheon|
|J. Mackay||16||S. Fisher|
|An. McColm||17||S. Callaghan|
|C. Anderson||18||P. Harkins|
|F. Anderson||19||G. Baird|
|L. Berte||20||J. Reilly|
|F. Anderson, McNeill||Try|
|Aa. McColm||Pen||MacKinnon (4)|
|Mr S. O’Neill|
GHA made sure of their place in the Premiership for next season thanks to the favourable result at Stoneyhill and to the bonus point achieved against a Selkirk team that had already made sure of their place in the play-offs.
The table arithmetic means that the south Glasgow side finished their Premiership campaign level on championship points with Musselburgh but with a better points difference than the East Lothian club, who remain in the relegation zone along with Glasgow Hawks and Edinburgh Accies.
Against Selkirk, GHA deserved more than a losing bonus point after dominating the second half and throughout playing with better ball retention and stronger forward play. But three missed kicks at goal, two of them admittedly against an inhospitable wind, and a mistake while trying to run the ball out of their own 22 area cost the visitors the match.
“The boys put in an amazing effort for 80 minutes,” said GHA head coach Trevor Carmichael. “There were a couple of wrong decisions when we maybe should have kicked to the corner. The boys make the decision on the pitch and you’ve got to give them that. We managed to get a point out of it. That bonus point is vital and has kept us as a Premiership club.”
In a scrappy first half, it was GHA who had first chance of points only for stand-off Jamie McKinnon to slice a penalty kick at goal. But minutes later, the same man was given the opportunity to atone and this time he made no mistake.
That had an effect on Selkirk with full-back Henry Bithray cutting through midfield with a run out of defence which sparked the home team’s first real attack. The home side earned a penalty which did not bring immediate results but after the bash squad had been stopped at close range, Selkirk were awarded another penalty.
This time Selkirk elected to take a quick tap which allowed wing Callum McNeill to scamper over in the corner for the game’s first try. Selkirk’s lead was short lived, however, as visiting centre Cameron King was put through a gap to take play deep into the opposition’s 22 and when GHA were awarded a penalty McKinnon had the simplest of kicks to put the Braidholm men back in the lead with a 6-5 interval advantage.
The second half started as a replica of the first 40 minutes with McKinnon missing a kick at goal and then succeeding with another effort after GHA had camped themselves on the Selkirk line.
From the restart, GHA tried to run the ball out of their own 22 only for a breakdown in handling to give Selkirk a cheap try, as Frazer Anderson followed up his own hack ahead to touch down in the corner, which regained the lead for his side.
That lead was stretched with an Aaron McColm penalty kick but another success at goal brought GHA back to within a point of Selkirk. GHA then tried desperately to secure a win and came close after Aaron Purewal was held up over the line.
Then, when GHA were awarded another penalty, the decision was to go for goal rather than to kick for the corner, but once more McKinnon was off target with his kick.
Having survived non-stop pressure from GHA in the fourth quarter, Selkirk stirred themselves into action for the final few minutes of the game, and their attacking play all but produced a try in the corner when replacement Luca Berte was put on course for the line. In the event, GHA’s defence answered the threat with a courageous defence to make sure of their bonus point and with it their Premiership status.
Source: Alan Lorimer, The Offside Line, Saturday 7th March 2020