GHA 10 Stewart’s Melville 11

GHA held the lead against Stewart’s Melville for three-quarters of an hour against Stewart’s Melville on Saturday. In the end, however, they lost to a penalty goal only four minutes from the end of the BT National League Division 1 match.

That was not all that was frustrating. GHA had had that edge in points despite conditions that were not in their favour. Continual rain throughout the morning had left the pitch heavy, and that seemed more in the bigger visiting forwards’ favour. So it proved with the Stew Mel dominance of the scrum.

That was not all. The high penalty count – 17-11 against GHA – was not conducive to a flowing game. But, instead of being detrimental, it seemed to help the home team’s much improved defensive play.

Stew Mel held the early edge, which produced a penalty goal by Michael Hanning after 15 minutes. However, GHA came back midway in the first half. Instead of going for a lineout from a penalty five metres, they opted to tap and run, and their controlled hammering on the visitors’ goal-line paid off when Alan Auld ploughed over for Murray Houston to convert.
Hanning and James Edgar traded missed penalties in the second quarter. Edgar’s attempt was from more than 40 metres, and it fell not far short.

Two minutes into the second half, however, Houston slotted a penalty goal for 10-3. That was from a rare scrummage penalty in GHA’s favour, a gift which was gratefully accepted.

But on the hours Andy Henderson was yellow-carded for retaliation, and from the resultant scrum Stew Mel pounded the home line for Sebastian Trotter to score a try. Hanning, however, missed the conversion which would have levelled the scores, and he also missed a penalty from another GHA scrummage infringement.

GHA survived Henderson’s 10 minutes in the sin-bin. But, with less than five minutes left, fortune seemed to turn for GHA when Stew Mel were awarded a scrum put-in inside the home 22. The chances of yet another scrummage penalty against GHA seemed high. However, GHA were left with a front row of two hookers and a prop, and the scrum had to be uncontested. The danger of a penalty had gone, though not for long. Alexander Rappestad was held close to the home line, and it was there that GHA conceded the fatal penalty, apparently because of a lazy runner. Hanning duly kicked the goal for a one-point lead.

However, the closing minutes belonged to GHA. Addison went close on a run towards the right corner, and when GHA put more than a pack of eight into a driving maul the home support had a vision of a last-minute winning score. The maul plodded on until it collapsed on the Stew Mel side. But no penalty. It would have been a scrum to the visitors if at had not been for the final whistle.

GHA: Chris Binnie; James Edgar, Ben Addison, Andrew Henderson, Alan Auld; Andrew Goudie, Murray Houston; Lyall Archer, Erik Cavan, Scott Carson, Adam Barnett, Chris McGeough, Rob McKinstray, Andrew Grant Suttie, Grant Neilson. Replacements: Gordon Campbell, Michael Fox, Grant MacDonald, Andrew Gillman, Rangi Jericevich

Scorers: T – Auld C – Houston P – Houston

Stewart’s Melville: Ciaran Whyte; Daniel Anderson, Ali Greig, AJ Rennie, Sean Murchie; Michael Hanning, Andrew Manson; Michael MacDonald, Ruaridh Mitchell, Rhys Morgan, Fraser  Morrison, Alexander-Thor Rappestad, Jamie Berrisford, Hugh Robert Lindsay, Adam Howie. Replacements: Angus Wallace, Matthew Stevens, Lewis Scott, Gregor Porteous, Sebastian Steel Trotter.

Scorers: T – Trotter P – Hanning (2)

Referee: David Sutherland (Hamilton).

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