GHA Gazelles 22 Cumnock 2XV 5

Since these two sides last met, one has become a little older, the other considerably younger. That last meeting saw Cumnock on the wrong end of a heavy points differential. This time, it was clear from the very outset that their game plan was to play expansively, stretching the Gazelles for the full 80 minutes.

The Gazelles approach was to stick to a tight and controlled game, exploiting the perceived advantage in weight and experience. It was this latter strategy which was to dominate, ultimately determining the outcome of the contest.

Early Gazelle pressure led to a lineout on the Cumnock 5 metre line. From a deflection, Wheeler tidied and set, and the pack drove over, with the referee ideally placed to confirm the grounding.

Minutes later, a series of pick and drives took the Gazelles to the same spot. This time, McIlwham was in possession as the forwards bulldozed over for the second score. Again, the referee was on hand to give the OK.

Midway through the half, Burns picked up from the base of a scrum 10 metres out. His initial open side drive was stopped, but from the ensuing ruck, the ball was moved quickly out the line. Fast hands allowed Miller to race in outside the Cumnock defence, dotting down in the corner.

With Tracey adding a conversion along the way, the score stood at 17 – 0 when a moment of controversy produced Cumnock’s only score. As they made ground into the GHA half, the ball was cleared into touch. Cumnock’s quick throw-in was unfortunately initiated by a spectator. The Gazelles stopped, awaiting the whistle. It didn’t sound, Cumock kept playing and moved the ball to the opposite wing where their three on one overlap was too much for the sole second row defender.

As half time approached, The Gazelles pounded the Cumnock line, the centres bringing the ball back time after time. Burns crossed the whitewash, but this time the referee judged that a Cumnock hand had prevented grounding.

At the interval, the team talk asserted that the game was in control, it was now GHA’s to win or lose. Not surprisingly, Cumock re-started with the clear intention of leveraging their youthful advantage, running the ball at every opportunity. But resolute defending from 1 to 15, together with astute positional kicking from Tracey kept the scoreline unchanged until the last moments of the game. A thundering charge from Wheeler carried GHA into the Cumnock half. Good work from Anderson put Miller away on the left. As he drew in the defence, he fed prop Marshall, inexplicably lurking on the wing. With a clear run to the line, he cantered in to secure the bonus point try on the stroke of full time.


GHA Gazelles Team:











Harkness ( Marshall 50 minutes )


Carpenter ( Harkness 60 – 65 minutes, blood )



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