GHA 29 Biggar 19

A four-try surge inside 20 minutes in the second half rocketed GHA from a 5-12 half-time deficit to a comfortable 10-point victory against Biggar at Braidholm on Saturday. The win and the bonus point allowed GHA to hold on to second place behind Selkirk in the BT National League Division 1.

GHA had been 12 points down after just 16 minutes, but a Chris Binnie try in 26 minutes hauled his team back on line. Euan Greer had two tries in the second half, with Paul Harkins and Erik Cavan scoring one each.

GHA’s half-hour after the interval was a total contrast to the first quarter of the match even though opening few minutes were bright, with Scott Carson making a couple of rousing charges in the loose. However, the flow was soon reversed, and in 11 minutes Scott Swankie was denied only by Gordon Adams. Only a minute later Swankie eluded four tacklers to run over on the left.

Adams had taken a knock in his try-saving tackle, and GHA were forced into a backline reshuffle. Binnie went from centre to full back, with Alan Auld filling the midfield role.

Worse was to come for GHA as Mark Bertram followed Swankie’s example in tackle-breaking to score a try beside the posts. Andrew King converted.

It was as if GHA had been the travelling team and were taking time to shake off the buslag! But when they settled they created the position for Binnie to dive over in the right corner despite a blatant high tackle.

GHA were much more purposeful after the interval. After two penalty lineouts on the left the home team switched to the right for Rangi Jericevich to threaten up the touchline. Nothing came from those opportunities, and the forwards swapped to other means, with Harkins scoring in a push-over. Andrew Goudie converted from wide out, and GHA were level eight minutes into the second half. Rarely were out of their own half in the next 20 minutes.

Another forwards’ try followed five minutes later immediately after Biggar had been depleted by a sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on. From the ensuing penalty lineout the pack drove over for Cavan to score.

Swift passing from right to left created Greer’s first try on the hour. Peter Jericevich converted from well out on the left, his only success in four kicks, and after Biggar returned to full strength the combined pace of Niall Cassie, Goudie, and Binnie opened the door for Greer’s second.

Biggar were the hungrier in the last 10 minutes, with victory or two bonus points still on their menu, but they were allowed only one try to add to their first-half pair, David Reive nipping over from a close-range tap penalty. King converted.

GHA: Gordon Adams; Rangi Jericevich, Chris Binnie, Niall Cassie, Euan Greer; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Scott Carson, Donald Malcolm (captain), Mike Robertson, Adam Barnett, Chris McGeoch, Paul Harkins, Erik Cavan, Grant MacDonald – Replacements: Gordon Campbell, Jamie Leslie, Jamie Auld, Alan Auld, Murray Houston.

Scorers: T – Greer (2), Binnie, Cavan, Harkins C – Goudie, P. Jericevich

Biggar: Scott Swankie; Craig MacDonald, Jonny Smart, Andrew King, Mark Bertram; Andy Watt, David Reive; Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Craig Bachurewski, Calum Taylor, Jamie Orr, Mackenzie Pearce, Lewis McLauchlan, Craig Simmons – Replacements: Andrew Muir, Calvin Henderson, Alan Warnock, Charles Cochrane, Andrew Fleming.

Scorers: T – Bertram, Reive, Swankie C – King (2)

Referee: Keith Allen (Edinburgh RRS)

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