GHA 30 Cartha QP 17

Braidholm had an extremely busy air about it on Friday evening as local rivals Cartha arrived to contest this season’s Billy Barnes Cup. Braidholm was finalising last minute preparations for the GIffnock Beer Festival which was to take place on Saturday. There was also the notable presence of the President of the SRU accompanying the Calcutta Cup in the club house. Her presence was to facilitate an award to Bill McMurtrie, club and Scottish rugby legend. Bill’s outstanding contribution to the game was rightly recognised in a moving ceremony before the match.

A slanting sun which cut across the pitch and accompanied by a slight cross wind greeted the players who entered the 3G arena. The new 3g pitch dressed in its match finery looked a very inviting surface. GHA appeared with a number of debutants and sporting an attractive and distinctive new jersey. There is always nervousness in these derby matches and this match was to be no different. This report was compiled from the pitch side which seriously affects the overall interpretation of events as they unfold. However the home side kicked off with a long and high probing kick into the Cartha half. At once a penalty was awarded to Cartha for an infringement at the breakdown. Cartha cleared the danger and moved play up the pitch. Scott Plumridge who continually asked questions of the Cartha defence all evening broke through the visitors defence and drove over halfway. In a desperate attempt to prevent GHA recycling on the twenty two metre line the visitors conceded a penalty. Murray Houston converted to make the score after three minutes GHA 3 CARTHA 0.

In the early minutes the pattern of the match was being established. Both sides wanted to run the ball at every opportunity and to make every effort to blunt similar desires in opposition ranks. This led to a continuous midfield battle to try and establish dominance. It also led to both sides rushing a final pass or allowing interceptions to occur which tended throughout the match to work against sustained dominance by either side. Cartha backs were very quick to close down the probing runs of messrs Lonergan, Baillie and Derrick.after seven minutes the visitors put in an almighty drive from the set piece which pushed the home side back to loud cheers of support from the healthy crowd watching from the sidelines. Indeed GHA were penalised and Wayne Burrows, the architect of much of the strategy from the visitors kicked to the corner. M Nelleny made a great catch and drove with support for the GHA line. The home side applied themselves to rebutting this advance and were quick to close down avenues from the rolling Cartha forwards. Finally the home side gained possession and Andrew Gillman cleared the danger with a well directed relieving kick which took play up to the Cartha half.

Adam Kerr throughout the match jumped imperiously to secure vital ball aided by the excellent support of James McCarthy. Securing possession from the line out Andrew and his fellow forwards set the ball up but several attempts at clearance were charged down by a very alert Cartha defence and Jackson Baillie with a calmness and accuracy belying his tender years gathered the ricochet and took it into contact before the recycled ball was dispatched from the boot of Andrew Gillman to re-establish order in the home ranks. After nine minutes a superb penetration by Scott Plumridge and Murray Houston(whose drive and skill would be lost with an injury which forced the home side to reorganise.) threw the visitors into a panic as desperate defence only just halted a breakthrough by the home side.A penalty to Cartha allowed them to regroup. After twelve minutes there was still an inability of either side to establish consistent dominance. Rapier thrusts by both sides from accurate and quick hands were eventually blunted by both sides scramble defence. However Cartha through the hard work and skill of messrs Paul and Nelleny and Barton were asking questions of the GHA defence and play tended to break from one twenty two metre area to the other.

As we moved towards the quarter hour, the visitors were awarded a penalty just inside their own half. A deft angular kick to touch was superbly caught by Scott Derrick who passed inside to launch a penetrating break by messrs Scott Baillie and Kerr which required desperate defence from the visitors forced on to the back foot. However as play stopped deep inside the Cartha half, play was brought back to just inside the GHA half and a penalty awarded to Cartha for an infringement. Scott Derrick was yellow carded and suddenly from an defensive position Cartha were in a good attacking position and had a player advantage. Cartha seemed to be lifted by this turn of events and as we reached the twenty minute mark good pressure inside the GHA half allowed Docherty to receive a perfect pass and from outside the twenty two metre area he ran superb angles to ghost through the despairing home defence to score. The try was converted by Wayne Burrows and the score was now: GHA 3 CARTHA 7.

The closeness of the score reflected the fact that neither side was able to establish dominance in the match. For several minutes the play became scrappy with little penetration and both sides knocking on or giving away penalties as players infringed at the breakdown or wandered offside. Cartha began to put several passages of play together and their crisp accurate short passing was giving concern to the home defence. In an excellent break by R FLett only an all encompassing tackle by Jackson Baillie negated an excellent break. This tackle was greeted with loud appreciation by the home support and lifted the home side to greater endeavours.The next several minutes saw the home side achieve a measure of control of the match as messrs McCarthy, Marinkovic and Fox thundered into contact before establishing a platform for Andy Gillman to launch the eager GHA backs. Following a period of pressure with forward dives by the GHA forward, Cartha found themselves stretched deep in their own twenty two metre are and from closely worked forward pressure Cameron King burst over between the posts to score. The try was converted by Adam Scott and the score after thirty three minutes was : GHA 10 CARTHA 7.

GHA attempted to pile on the pressure as we moved towards the interval and succeeding forward drives and deft feints by the home backs caused the visitors to defend desperately in their own half.An attempted clearance kick by Cartha presented the ball to Adrew Kerr who with close support tore through the Cartha ranks inside their half. A precise chip through the Cartha defence allowed Jackson Baillie to reach the ball and touch down to score amidst startled visitor defenders. The try was converted again by Scott and the score at half time was: GHA 17 CARTHA 7.

It had been a typical early season match to this point, some very good rugby played by both sides interspersed with a lot of mistakes and penalties given away at critical moments. Cartha began the second half determined to regain some control over proceedings. Progress was stalled by numerous resetting of scrums which robbed the game of momentum. Despite the intentions of the visitors, the home side continued to make purposeful forays into the Cartha half as forwards and backs combined well to make space and territory. Charlie Lonergan, he of the dancing feet, made a lovely break with the alert Adam Scott in support. Cartha’s attempts to negate this incursion were stopped when a high tackle inside the Cartha half was penalised. Adam Scott secured the kick and the score after six minutes of the half was: GHA 20 CARTHA 7.

On the thirteenth minute overzealousness by the home side resulted in a penalty award to Cartha. Wayne Burrows with a precise kick made the score GHA 20 CARTHA 10.

The game swung back and forth across the middle of the pitch until GHA in the fifteenth minute of the half, seized the initiative and the home forwards drove deep into the visitors half led by the wily Scott Carson and Adam Barnett. The ability of the home forward to take the ball into contact retain it and make territory was hurting Cartha and forcing them on to the back foot. IN a clever drive by the home pack, Sean Fisher cleared opponents out of his path as drove over under the posts for a vital score for the home side. The try was converted and the score was now: GHA 27 CARTHA 10.

The visitors refused to capitulate and realised that this was a turning point in the match. They threw themselves into the fray and by sheer determination and no little skill forced the home side to defend inside their own half. Just after the twenty minute mark and with Cartha pressing, Sean Fisher was yellow carded for the home side. This gave Cartha a lift who sought to exploit the man advantage. As we reached the half hour mark, Cartha tried everything to break the resistance of the home side and only a huge tackle by Andy Gillman negated a promising break inside the home half by Cartha . Charlie Lonergan stopped a break by his opposite number but following a further penalty to Cartha and a drive from the lineout inside the GHA five metre line, the visitors went over in the corner. An excellent conversion by Wayne Burrows on the touch line narrowed the gap to: GHA 27 CARTHA 17.

As we moved towards the final whistle, Cartha refused to concede and clever play by messrs Boyle and Lopez caused concern in home ranks. GHA made one late break orchestrated by Andy Gillman who was only stopped by an illegal tackle. Andy slotted the penalty just inside the Cartha half and the final score was: GHA 30 CARTHA 17.

It had as always in these derbies been a keenly contested affair. Good positive work can be built on in the weeks ahead as both sides face a new league format.





Photo Copyright Colin Robinson

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