Vital tries by Auld and O’Keefe in narrow win

Vital tries by Auld and O’Keefe in narrow win

GHA 15 Jed Forest 13

Tries by Alan Auld and Ruairi O’Keefe in the third quarter were crucial in turning the game in GHA’s favour against Jed-Forest in damp, soggy conditions at Braidholm on Saturday. But it was still a hard slog for the home team to edge victory in the BT National League Division 1 match.

GHA were down 3-5 at half-time, and such had been the Jed forwards’ dominance that the home support were grateful to be that close. Indeed, it was only in first-half added time that Peter Jericevich kicked the penalty goal which cut the interval margin to two points.

GHA earned that penalty when Paulo Ferierra was yellow-carded for killing the ball in Jed’s 22, and they were quick to exploit the numerical advantage. Barely a minute into the second half Chris Binnie gathered a Jed kick in his own half and ran the ball back into the visitors’ 22, and he was on hand again to chip the ball through into the left corner for Auld to dive through to score. PJ converted from tight on the touchline.

Just as Jed were about to return to full strength they lost another to the sin-bin when Ryan Jackson tackled PJ early and high. It was a challenge that put PJ out of the game with more than 30 minutes left. Andrew Gillman took over at scrum half.

GHA soon had the chance to turn the screw with a penalty in the Jed right corner. With the visitors’ pack depleted, the home support were roaring for scrum, but the on-pitch decision was to go for a throw-in. But GHA lost the lineout!

However, the arrival of O’Keefe and Ben Addison as replacements not only brought bright, clean jerseys on to the field. It was those two who struck in unison to edge GHA further ahead. Addison’s surge down the left created the chance for O’Keefe to run in from more than 20 metres. That put GHA 10 points up on the hour.

For the first half-hour it seemed unlikely that GHA would even be close midway in the second half, let alone ahead. In that time Jed had ample chances to establish a platform for victory, but their only score was a Ferierra try, the culmination of repeated hammering on the home goal-line. Gregor Mein missed a conversion as well as two penalties, and the visitors were denied a second try only by Gillman’s saving tackle.

More than half an hour had gone before GHA found their way into Jed’s 22m for the first time, when Binnie was denied only five metres out. At least the home team were more in the game in those closing minutes of the first half. But their only score was PJ’s penalty goal, and that would have more than cancelled out if Gillman had not pulled off another try-saving tackle before the interval.

Just as the second half started the skies open, with the rain clattering the roof of the stand like a continuous drum-roll. Ironically, while the weather was at its worst GHA were at their best with the two tries.

However, their lead was never safe. It was all the more under threat when Mein kicked a penalty goal in 69 minutes after a scrum collapsed, and in added time he also squeezed over in the left corner. Fortunately for GHA, his conversion attempt went astray.

GHA: Andrew Gillman; Rangi Jericevich, Chris Binnie, Andrew Henderson, Alan Auld; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Scott Carson, Gordon Campbell, Michael Robertson, Adam Barnett, Chris McGeough, Rob McKinstray, Grant Neilson, Grant MacDonald – Replacements: Seitaro Usuda, Lyall Archer, Paul Harkins, Ben Addison, Ruairi O’Keefe.

Scorers: T – Auld, O’Keefe C – P. Jericevich P – P. Jericevich

Jed-Forest: Lewis Young; Rory Marshall, George Young, Fraser Harkness, Robbie Shirra-Gibb; Gregor Mein, Danny Ritchie; Cameron Hogg, Ryan Jackson. Paulo Alves Ferreira, Clark Skeldon, Gregor Law, Grant Stewart, Michael Weekley, Scott Raeburn – Replacements: John Szkudro, Craig Cowan, Gregor Taylor, Robert Hogg, Graham Robson.

Scorers: T – Ferreira, Mein P – Mein

Referee: Craig Clark.

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