GHA RFC MATCH 169: GHA RFC 15 – 36 STEWART’S MELVILLE FP RFC
2008/2009: Scottish Premiership Two
STEWART’S MELVILLE FP RFC
|N. Cassie (c)
|R. Borthwick (c)
|Clark (3), Calder, Ker
|Mr R. McHenry (Dumfries)
GHA’s season ended with a disappointment defeat in Scottish Hydro Electric Premier Division 2 against Stewart’s Melville at Braidholm on Saturday. Afterwards they could only watch as the visitors celebrated promotion to Premier One.
But it need not have ended that way if GHA had taken all the chances they created in the first half-hour. To take a lead of only 8-0 in that time with a Jim Noonan penalty goal and a Jamie Pinder try was far from enough. Stew-Mel responded with three successive tries by No.8 Stuart Clark in less than 10 minutes bridging half-time.
Noonan’s goal after only two minutes was a promising start, and almost immediately Niall Cassie broke clear from his own half. But his inside pass was knocked on. Each stand-off missed a long-range penalty. But GHA kept up the momentum, though without reward. Even when they got to within inches of the visitors’ goal-line, after Dameon Channey’s break off a scrum on the Stew-Mel 22-metre line, they could not follow through. The supporting Pinder was penalised for holding on in the tackle in front of the visitors’ posts.
Play had gone past the midway point of the first half before GHA capitalised on their territorial advantage. Andy Williamson made the try with a storming run up the left touchline, and Joe Coffey provided the link for Pinder to score. Noonan missed the conversion from wide out, and he also failed with another long penalty attempt. Ironically, the first time Stew-Mel crossed into the home 22 they scored a try, though they were made to work for it, pounding the goal-line before Clark dived in. Ker failed with the conversion, but he added to the points to all four of the Stew-Mel tries in the second half as the visitors found an appetite for promotion.
Two errors let Clark in for his two other tries in the eight minutes after the interval. First, Noonan’s attempted chip-kick was blocked for the No.8 to gallop in, and then the referee failed to spot Stew-Mel offside well inside the visitors’ half. It was so blatant it was impossible for it not to have been obvious. A penalty goal then would have brought the GHA deficit back to a single point. Instead, Stew-Mel grabbed the chance to sweep down field for Clark to score again, and in 55 minutes the visitors were out of sight when Lewis Calder scored from a loose GHA lineout.
A Ker penalty goal (after he had missed another one) stretched the margin to 21 points before GHA scored again in 69 minutes after Andy Boag had pilfered possession from a Stew-Mel lineout close to the visitors’ goal-line. Pinder drove to the line for Williamson to score. Noonan converted, but his loose pass then let his opposite number in for the fifth Stew-Mel try.
Source: Bill McMurtrie