Understrength U18s lose narrowly at Ayr

Ayr 22 GHA 12

The third week of the West u18 League campaign saw GHA slip to a 22-12 defeat at the
hands of Ayr.

Ayr played with the wind advantage in the first half and it was clear that they were going
to use their speedy backs to probe holes in the novice GHA back line, which had Alan
Campbell, our 2nd Rower on the wing and Ally MCallum a fairly new convert to rugby as
outside centre. Clearly this was going to be a real tester for the GHA defence and Ayr
camped in our half for most of the first 35 minutes.

With less than 5 minutes on the clock Ayr were awarded a penalty just about in front of
the posts for the GHA back line being offside. The penalty was duly despatched to put
Ayr 3-0 up and we feared the worst. Indeed, Burns Singh the Ayr inside centre, one of last
year’s Scotland u17 players, was running amok and setting up phase after phase of attack
pinning us back deep in our own 22. Had it not been for a number of spilled passes and
knock ons Ayr would surely have scored a number of tries, as they dominated the game.

Within a 15 minute period Ayr scored two tries in fairly quick succession splitting the GHA
cover defence to score wide on the right and again straight through the centre to score
under the posts. Whilst the first conversion was missed the second went between the posts
to make the score Ayr 15 – GHA 0.

With about 10 minutes of the first half left GHA looked weary and the body language was
of a defeated side but the boys dug deep and led by a first class front row performance
from Dominic Barrett, Andy Mather and Craig Williamson, we started to gain a foothold in
the game. Our forwards upped their tempo, their tackling and their work rate to take the
game to Ayr pushing them backwards in the mauls and scrums and to their credit the score
remained 15-0 at half time.

Buoyed by the improved forwards and with the wind at their back, we scored our first try
6 minutes into the second half when, Fraser Hamilton barged over the line despite having
3 Ayr backs hanging on to him. Kelso Brown popped the conversion over to put our first 7
points on the board. Soon, after one of our catch and drive line outs close to the Ayr line,
the forwards once again showed their strength by combining to force a try in the far corner.
Unfortunately, the conversion attempt missed but Ayr were clearly rattled by our pack and
the hits being put in, as the scoreboard now read 15-12.

As is often the case after 1 team scores, concentration becomes lax and we knocked on
from the kick off, the Ayr number 10 scooped up the bouncing ball and used his speed and

strength to evade 4 flailing tackles from the GHA defence to score underneath the posts.
With the conversion duly knocked over Ayr took a commanding 22-12 lead and kept us at
bay for the rest of the match despite our best efforts to get back on level terms.

Despite only having 15 players, 9 of whom were recognised forwards, we were not
disgraced today and thanks must go to all the players who turned up. Once we had warmed
up, our pack was a joy to watch as they continually put the opposition scrum on the back
foot resulting in no less than 5 strikes against the head.

Our man of the match was undoubtably Calum Hunter, who has added speed and stamina
to his overall play and was continually the first man up in the tackle putting his man on the
ground thereby giving our following forwards a chance to steal opposition ball.

A special goodbye must also be given to Fraser Hamilton, who’s cheeky humour will be sadly
missed. We wish him well at Loughborough University and will gladly welcome him back
should his schedule allow.

As usual our travelling support of parents was most welcome particularly Doc Colin Barrett
and waterboy Craig Stevenson.

Next match is at home v Hillhead/Jordanhill on Sunday 3rd October at Braidholm with a 2pm
kick-off. Hopefully, we might even manage a few more players and maybe a replacement or
two.

1. Craig Williamson
2. Andy Mather (captain)
3. Dominic Barrett
4. Ally McFall
5. Calum Hunter
6. Ben McGinty
7. Lloyd Stevenson
8. Brendan Barrett
9. Kelso Brown
10. Mark Carnan
11. Alan Campbell
12. Rob McLintock
13. Ally McCallum
14. James Hendry
15. Fraser Hamilton

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