GHA 47 Falkirk 14
Due to a waterlogged ground at Braidholm, the Ist ,2nd and Lions teams all headed for Auldhouse on Saturday. Whilst the surrounds of the pitches at Auldhouse showed a lot of surface water the actual playing area was in very good condition. The notes for this report had to be taken at pitch side amidst puddles of water. Both sides prepared thoroughly, moving to different areas of the pitch for specific drills which also allowed players to familiarise themselves with the parameters of the pitch.
GHA kicked off and the ball was gathered by Falkirk before being returned by Connor Faulds. In these opening minutes Falkirk worked hard to put the home side under pressure. Good breaks by Andrew McNab and Alan Connolly made yardage for the visitors. A drive by Stewart McCulloch was nullified and as the ball went to ground inside the home twenty metre area, Clement Tucoulet kicked through into the Falkirk half. However as the home side made to gather the ball and set up a move they were adjudged to have crossed and were penalised. Fionn Call took play back up to the home twenty metre area.
With five minutes on the clock intense pressure from Falkirk on and around the five metre line required excellent defensive tackling to prevent Falkirk scoring. A superb move by messrs Spowart, MacFarlane and Tucoulet worked the ball clear and took play up to half way as a startled Falkirk side rallied to prevent further intrusion by the home side. It was the home side’s turn now to apply pressure and one or two hurried passes could have given GHA a commanding position to strike at the Falkirk line.GHA began to use their forward power to unsettle the Falkirk heel at the scrum and the home side were soon forcing the visitors to distribute ragged ball from their own heel. As we approached fifteen minutes GHA began to control the match, their defence being very quick to engage a Falkirk back line who were being stymied in their attempts to move play into the GHA half. Following pressure on the Falkirk five metre area, David Corbenici went over to score. Andrew Goudie converted and the score after fifteen minutes was : GHA 7 FALKIRK 0.
GHA attacked from the restart and a superb break by Ross Angus was only just stopped deep inside the visitors half. Falkirk used several penalty awards to kick to touch inside the GHA half. However the home side were beginning to put some powerful combinations together of backs and forwards which was slicing through the Falkirk rearguard. A lovely move between messrs Goudie and MacFarlane set up Andrew Gillman who glided in to score . The try was converted and after twenty three minutes the score was: GHA 14 FALKIRK 0.
The speed and variety of the home sides moves were causing a brave Falkirk side great difficulties. Despite this the visitors rallied and forced play deep into the home half. It was GHA’s turn to look surprised at the response by the visitors and again solid defensive tackling was necessary to prevent Falkirk scoring. The home side seemed to steady themselves and excellent breaks by Michael Scott and David Corbenici took play back into the Falkirk half. GHA were using combinations of forwards and backs working in tandem in the back line and running excellent lines which continually forced Falkirk back on their heels.As we approached half time, Falkirk made a huge effort to contain the home side in their half. Excellent quick ball by the visitors was asking questions of the home defence . From a resulting penalty Falkirk kicked to touch and in a catch and drive the visiting side through the hardworking Stewart McCulloch scored to the joy Of their support. A smashing conversion from a tight angle brought the score at half time to GHA 14 FALKIRK 7.
It had been a keenly contested first half with both sides having to defend in depth at times. GHA would probably feel at the interval that there should have been a wider margin between the sides due to the level of penetration they enjoyed. Falkirk for their part had refused to give up and were still very much in the match. The score coming as it did just before half time gave them a real lift and the visitors would attempt to increase their influence in the match in the next period. GHA gathered the kick from the restart with Andrew Goudie conducting matters with crisp quick passes inside and outside his berth to willing colleagues. However Falkirk closed down the room that the home side required to run the ball and in fact Falkirk seemed quicker to react at the start of the half. GHA gave away a penalty which Fionn Call put deep into the home side territory. From a well worked catch and drive Falkirk went over to score which was converted by Fionn Call. Thus the score after three minutes of the half was : GHA 14 FALKIRK 14.
This score clearly filled the visitors with confidence and they attempted to build on this success with crash balls and recycling with Graeme Simpson prominent. Despite the setback of conceding early in the half to the dismay of the home crowd, GHA calmly continued to carry out the basics and began to look for innovative ways to pierce the Falkirk rearguard. After five minutes the ever alert Andrew Goudie sent a deft kick behind the onrushing Falkirk defence and superbly gathered the ball to go over and score.The stand off converted to make the score after five minutes of the half: GHA 21 FALKIRK 14.
This score clearly robbed Falkirk of some of the confidence they had been building and the home side seemed to sense that accurate passing and close support combinations would bring further success. The home side took the game to Falkirk with a number of breaks and feints causing real concern in the visitor ranks. From a scrum, the home side drove the visiting eight off the ball and quickly passed it out where Andrew Spowart with scalding pace flew past the despairing attempts by Falkirk to stop him to score in the corner. Andrew Goudie from a very difficult angle converted to great acclaim from the home support . After ten minutes the score was now GHA 28 FALKIRK 14.
The home side were now eager to run the ball at every opportunity at the increasingly hard pressed visiting defence. Scott Carson though he had scored with a great break through the Falkirk ranks only for the referee to pull back play. Desperate scatter defence by Falkirk was preventing GHA finishing some excellent moves. There was a patience and consistency from the home side which reflected their growing control of territory. Falkirk were penalised for coming into the loose from the side and the home side took play deep into the Falkirk half. A catch and drive resulted in David Corbenici scoring. The conversion failed and the score after twenty eight minutes was GHA 33 FALKIRK 14.
GHA began to ring the changes in several positions but it did not affect the fluidity they were demonstrating. As we reached the half hour mark an excellent break by Charlie Lonergan took play up to the Falkirk twenty metre area. As the ball was recycled clever work by Dario Ewing allowed him to set up James Sutherland who went over to score. The try was converted and the score was now: GHA 40 FALKIRK 14.
The visitors despite being behind continued to try and run the ball at GHA. The home side had to maintain their strength of tackle to nullify the Falkirk attempts to influence the scoreboard. Excellent intrusive play by Chris Binnie ably assisted by Clement Tucoulet and Andrew Spowart took play well into the Falkirk half as we approached the last few minutes. From a scrum in front of the posts, the home side cleared the opposing pack off the ball which allowed James Sutherland to score. Andrew Goudie converted to make the final score GHA 47 FALKIRK 14.
This had been an impressive display by the home side once they overcame the resistance of the visitors and settled into a rhythm. The ball was moved at speed with accuracy and combinations of forwards and backs interchanging gave the Falkirk defence a torrid afternoon.
GHA: C.BINNIE J.EDGAR C.TUCOULET M.MacFARLANE A SPOWART A.GOUDIE A.GILLMAN T.BROGAN D.EWING M.SCOTT A.BARNETT L.MAVUNGA R.ANGUS J.SUTHERLAND D.CORBENICI – REPLACEMENTS: S.CARSON J.PRESTON C.LONERGAN B.ADDISON
SCORERS: T – CORBENICI (2), SUTHERLAND (2), GILLMAN, GOUDIE, SPOWART C – GOUDIE (6)
FALKIRK: E.ROONEY, R.CAMERON, A.McNAB, M HALL, A.CONNOLLY, C.FAULDS, F.CALL J.McKENNA, A.GILLESPIE, G.SIMPSON, G.HARMON, D.SCOBBIE, R.DENNY, M.MLADENOVIC, S.McCULLOCH – REPLACEMENTS: S.GOVAN, D.ASHWORTH, R.CRAWFORD, G.RAMSAY
SCORERS: T – MCCULLOCH, TBC C – CALL (2)