Lets try and burn off some of those festive pounds and banish those January blues by taking our weekly stroll down memory lane with some Saturday club rugby from years past.
On the second weekend of January back in 2006, GHA were riding high in the Premiership Two table. In front of them was the clubs first and to date only competitive fixture on foreign soil, in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Like the governance of the aforementioned town; this match was a back-and-forth tussle, with the final outcome seeing GHA return north with a share of the spoils.
GHA RETURN NORTH OF THE BORDER WITH SHARE OF THE SPOILS
GHA RFC MATCH 85: BERWICK RFC 17 – 17 GHA RFC
2005/2006: Scottish Premiership Two
|A. Skeen||13||R. West|
|J. Grimsdale||11||N. Cassie|
|M. McCreath||10||M. Dunn|
|Trotter (2), Grimsdale||Try||Cassie, Falconer, West|
Despite the fact that Berwick extended their unbeaten run to six games with their draw against GHA on Saturday, and in fact have now only lost one of their last nine games, the players, coaches and spectators all left Scremerston bitterly disappointed that a win, with a bonus point, had not been secured.
Berwick completely dominated their opponents for the first hour of this game, and had established a 17 point lead after only 24 minutes, a lead which they retained until midway through the second half. At this point, however, Berwick’s scrum half, Liam Cox, allowed himself to become unnecessarily involved in an incident close to the touchline which resulted in the touch judge advising the referee that he should be sent off. The Berwick player’s cause was not helped by some disgraceful touchline amateur dramatics by the GHA president.
Berwick scored after only three minutes of the game when a deft kick ahead from Andrew Skeen saw Jorin Grimsdale touchdown and Matthew McCreath duly converted. The Berwick stand off was also very much involved in the second try when he sent an excellent crosskick out wide on the right-hand side of the pitch and Nathan Trotter touched down. The Berwick forwards were in total command at this stage of the game and despite the atrocious conditions the Berwick backs were enjoying the plentiful supply of ball they were receiving and a fine passing move saw Nathan Trotter go over for his second try of the game.
Berwick continued to press for the ‘bonus point try’ before half-time and came close on several occasions as indeed they did early in the second half when Seb Trotter and the GHA right winger, Kevin Lang, competed for a touchdown with the decision going in favour of the visitors.
Only one minute after Berwick were reduced to 14 men GHA posted their first score on the board when prop, Willie Falconer, was allowed to get up a head of steam and crash over in the corner for a try. Berwick regrouped after this and were pressing once again for the elusive fourth try but as they tried to kick through the GHA defence the ball was blocked resulting in a kick and chase to the Berwick try line where Ross West touched down and Martin Dunn converted.
The brave 14 continued to battle to ensure victory, but a penalty was awarded against them in the GHA 22 metre zone and the visitors threw caution to the wind as they took a tap penalty and ran out of defence. Some lacklustre tackling allowed Niall Cassie to touchdown for a try in the left-hand corner bringing the scores level at 17 points each. Still the brave Berwick players continued to strive for victory and the final whistle blew with the Berwick forwards encamped under the GHA posts.
With positions in the middle and bottom of the table being so close it would have made a tremendous difference to Berwick’s league position had they been able to win with a bonus point. However it was not to be and now they look forward to a trip up to Dundee on Saturday to take on the league leaders.
Source: The Berwick Advertiser, Thursday 12th January 2006