2010/2011: Scottish Premiership Two



G. Ponton15G. Taylor
M. K. Hartley14C. Binnie
D. Buckley13N. Cassie (c)
(c) K. Utterson12A. Rushforth
A. Haig11R. O’Keefe
A. Osman10D. Dunn
A. Tait9M. Houston
C. Keen1G. Warnock
C. Riddell2D. Malcolm
F. Young3M. Kidd
N. Ioane4R. Jenkins
S. Carnegie5S. Shearer
M. Murphy6I. Nelson
G. Riddell7J. Auld
I. Moody8J. Pinder
A. Frame16S. Spowart
D. Cowan17A. Barnett
J. Szkudro18B. Farrell
T. Wichary19R. Jericevich
Buckley, Haig, Osman, Skudro, UttersonTryCassie, Rushforth
Ponton (2)ConHouston
Mr K. White (Edinburgh RS)


What a difference a week can make in sport, even more than in politics. The euphoria of GHA’s home win dissipated in disappointing defeat at Kelso. The season is slipping by with only two wins in the bag from 11 Premier Two matches.

Now comes a natural break in the season, with Premier One and Two dividing into three groups in a novel format designed to heighten competition. It would certainly be a competitive second half of the season for GHA even without the new style Premiership. They have to claw and clamber their way well off the foot of the table, a position into which they were dumped not only by defeat at Poynder Park but also by Kirkcaldy’s win against Falkirk.

If there was any silver lining in the metaphorical clouds over GHA at Kelso it was that the scrummaging held up well throughout the contest. The lineout did so for an hour. But GHA lacked the composure and the outside pace that had been so effective a week earlier.

Ross McClymont, impressive against Peebles, missed the Kelso game because of injury, and Rangi Jericevich damaged a leg in the Poynder Park warm-up, being replaced in the starting line-up by Chris Binnie. As if that were not enough cruelty by the fates, Ruairi O’Keefe pulled up as he was running away clear for a second-half try which, with a conversion, would have hauled GHA back to 14-15.

Instead, Kelso fired in three third-quarter tries, grabbing a bonus point, and the win was secure in the home team’s hands when GHA at last strung a game of continuity together for a try by Andrew Rushforth. They will need more of that kind of rugby to recover in the second phase of the new-style season.

Kelso damaged the GHA cause early on with a try by Andrew Haig. Greg Ponton converted and added a penalty goal, and Kelso were 10-0 up after just nine minutes. But Niall Cassie immediately responded, the captain breaking through 40 metres out and running through for a try that Murray Houston converted.

It was a fine example by the visiting captain. Others did not follow his lead, too much kicking instead of keeping the ball in hand. Yet GHA had their moments over the next 50 minutes. During that time the only score was a Kevin Utterson try for Kelso, but after O’Keefe’s departure, instead of being just one point behind, GHA slipped too easily 15 points adrift. While too many in the GHA ranks were pondering how to deal with a Kelso kick from defence; Adnaan Osman had no hesitation in sprinting on to a kind bounce and running full 40 metres to score at the posts for Ponton to convert. John Skudro and Dom Buckley added further tries before Rushforth scored what was too little too late.

GHA now have a break from league rugby, turning this week to the new-style Premier Cup, which is being played initially in a pool format. The tournament opens for GHA with a visit to Braidholm by Dunfermline, currently propping up Premier Three.

Source: Bill McMurtrie

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