2010/2011: Scottish Premiership Two



R. McClymont15L. Millar
R. Jericevich14G. Young
(c) N. Cassie13S. Chapman
A. Rushforth12A. Emond
R. O’Keefe11R. Livingston
J. Noonan10B. Dick
A. Gillman9Ge. Graham
J. Low1A. Johnston
D. Malcolm2M. Christie
M. Kidd3E. McQuilin
R. Jenkins4C. Weir
S. Shearer5O. Palepoi
I. Nelson6G. Haurua
J. Pinder7S. Cairns
D. Kellock8E. Dods
S. Spowart16Ga. Graham
A. Barnett17L. Pettie
D. Stoddart18L. Roden
D. Dunn19I. Ross
Cassie, RushforthTryJohnston (2), Dods, Haurua
Noonan (2)PenMillar (2)
Mr K. White (Edinburgh RS)


Niall Cassie’s try 16 minutes into the second half lifted GHA into a match-winning position at 16-13 against Gala at Braidholm, but then disaster struck. The visitors hit back with three tries in eight minutes, while the home team were short-handed, and GHA were left with not even a bonus point instead of recording their first home win of the Premier Two season.

Until Gala’s winning surge it had been a close-run contest with neither team more than five points ahead, as GHA were at half-time after an Andrew Rushforth try had put the home team 11-6 up after 26 minutes.

Gala had the advantage of a stiff breeze throughout the first half, but they could make nothing of it apart from Lee Millar’s second penalty goal, which put the visitors up by 6-3 on 20 minutes. Jim Noonan immediately equalised with his second penalty goal.

GHA had the better of the first half as far as territory was concerned, making their initial statement when Noonan’s break let Pinder go agonisingly close to the Gala goal-line after six minutes. Gala conceded a penalty, potentially a try-saving infringement only feet from the goal-line, and GHA had to settle for Noonan’s first penalty goal.

Millar responded twice in kind before Ross McClymont’s searing break and Rangi Jericevich’s link let Pinder away for what seemed like another certain try. But the flanker was felled by a high tackle, another try-saving penalty, and all that GHA could take from that surge was Noonan’s second goal.

So after 23 minutes the scores were again level, but three minutes later Gillman’s tapped free kick at halfway sent the eager McClymont away again. The full back went close, and though Gala denied him GHA swung the ball across the field for Rushforth to score on the left, too far out for Noonan to convert.

GHA deserved their interval lead, not only because they scored the only first-half try but also because of their excellent defence, with notably hefty hits by McClymont and Rushforth. Gillman emulated them in the second half with a try-saving cover tackle, but all that was to be in vain.

GHA’s half-time lead would have been less if Millar had not missed a penalty a minute into added time, but only four minutes after the interval he put Gala ahead for the second time in the match, kicking the conversion after the forwards had driven over from a lineout for Alan Johnston to score.

Noonan missed a long-range penalty seven minutes later, but while Chris Weir was in the sin-bin GHA took the chance to go ahead for the third time. A free kick on the left, Gala having closed the gap in a lineout, allowed the home team to sweep the ball to the other flank for Cassie to drive through for a try for 16-13.

Noonan failed to convert from wide out, and after Iain Nelson was sin-binned Gala took full advantage of GHA mistakes to surge through for a bonus-point win with tries by Johnston (his second), Euan Dods, and Ginho Haurua. Not one was converted. So the final result boiled down to how many tries each team scored while the opposition was shot-handed – GHA one, Gala three.

GHA are still in second-last place in the league table, a point ahead of Kirkcaldy. That means that a GHA win in their next match, a visit to Kirkcaldy’s Beveridge Park, will be all the more vital.

Source: Bill McMurtrie

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