GHA RFC MATCH 243: GHA RFC 27 – 31 FALKIRK RFC
2012/2013: Scottish Championship A
|(c) A. Henderson||12|
|Dunn, Gillman, Henderson, Lang, J. Malcolm||Try|
|Mr A. Watt|
GHA suffered another narrow defeat in an entertaining game, they outscored the opposition by 5 tries to 3 but the boot of the Falkirk fly half was the difference on the day. GHA’s consolation was 2 more bonus points with which they maintain their 2nd place in the league but are now 10 points adrift of Cartha QP who remain unbeaten.
The game started with GHA in the ascendency and the first score went to scrum half Andrew Gillman. From a scrum inside the Falkirk 22, he picked and ran blind, outpacing the drifting defenders to score near the corner.
Falkirk hit back immediately when sloppy defence around the fringes allowed Falkirk to break through. Eventually the ball was worked to their full back for the score.
Back came GHA with some relentless phase play, deep inside Falkirk territory. A neat mid field move gave inside centre Andrew Henderson a half gap and he burst through and over for the try.
Falkirk then put GHA under sustained pressure for the next 10 minutes however it was a GHA mistake that handed them their second score. From 5 metres out from their line, a missed GHA line out dropped into the hands of the Falkirk number 7 who had the easy job of crossing the whitewash for the score.
Falkirk added a further penalty and then rounded off the half with a third try from a rolling maul off a line out catch and drive. Half time score was GHA 12 Falkirk 24.
The first half had seen GHA play well early on before Falkirk dominated the final 20. The second half however, was all GHA.
The Falkirk Hooker spent 10 minutes in the sin bin early on after seeing yellow for a ‘no arms’ tackle. During this spell GHA took advantage when a number 8 pick and go from a scrum 5 metres out from Grant MacDonald was quickly recycled and James Malcolm powered over for the try.
With Falkirk back to full strength, GHA continued to pressurise them and GHA’s fourth try came from a counter attack. Andrew Henderson broke up the left hand touch line but was stripped of the ball just a couple of metres short. However, the loose ball bounced over the line and Scott Lang was on hand to dive on it.
Falkirk added 3 penalties in the second period and with 15 minutes remaining, the score was GHA 22 Falkirk 31.
GHA had the upper hand in the scrums and GHA’s Craig Sorbie was unlucky when his chip and chase looked to have resulted in a score for the GHA fly half however the referee was too far away to determine whether the ball had been grounded and so awarded GHA a 5 metre scrum instead. More relentless phase play from GHA saw the ball worked from left to right and back again before Dominic Dunn found a gap and scythed through for the score. GHA now trailed 27 to 31 with a little over 5 minutes remaining.
The game ended in a bizarre mix up. Despite the scoreboard showing the correct score, the referee had indicated to the GHA players that they were only trailing by 26 to 22 before Dunn scored. However, a recalculation by the referee after the try led to him then confirming to GHA captain Andrew Henderson that the scoreboard was indeed correct. So with 5 minutes to go, GHA needed one more.
Falkirk secured the kick off and held onto the ball with a series of pick and go efforts from around the ruck which must’ve brought up a phase count well into double figures. With seconds to go, GHA were awarded a penalty as a Falkirk player failed to release the ball. The referees instruction was that this was to be the last play so GHA quickly tapped and went. However, from the next phase, Gillman kicked the ball into touch, much to the bemusement of his team mates and it transpired that the GHA scrum half hadn’t heard the referee’s score correction and thus thought that GHA were winning by a point.
It would have been a tough ask for GHA to go the 75 metres to score and secure the win even with the momentum firmly in their favour so in the end they had to settle for 2 bonus points but were left wondering what might have been.
Head Coach Gordon MacPherson was pleased with some aspects of the performance but disappointed with the score line. He said:
“It was encouraging in one respect because we played some good rugby. It is the type of rugby that we have been looking to play. Obviously the scoreboard wasn’t great when we looked at it after the game. There were some encouraging signs but ultimately we lost the game. The good rugby we are playing is tempered with the fact that we still lost the game. We made some basic errors such as turning the ball over. The disappointing thing is that we are making simple basic mistakes which probably cost us dearly.”
Head Coach Gordon MacPherson feels the next two games against Whitecraigs and Cartha Queen’s Park could prove crucial for their promotion aspirations. He said:
“Whitecraigs are a good team and we will have to go away and try to get a win there to get us back on track. We have to win to keep us in the promotion hunt. If we lose again and Whitecraigs win it will put more pressure on us. It is a key point in the season. Cartha are running away with it. They are a strong side and are confident and hard to beat. At the moment we are just looking forward to the game against Whitecraigs and are trying to take one game at a time. But there is big pressure on us and the teams who are 3rd and 4th to remain in contention.”
Next week GHA make the short trip to Whitecraigs for a first ever competitive fixture between the two East Renfrewshire clubs. Kick Off at West Lodge is 3pm.
Source: David Coates