GHA Gazelles 10 Waysiders/Drumpellier 2 XV 0

The Gazelles’ league programme continued on Saturday as they welcomed the Coatbridge side to Braidholm. Despite the usual last minute team selection headaches, eased with the unexpected availability of Fraser McDonald and David Nicol, the Gazelles were still more comfortably prepared for the game, as the visitors’ arrival was delayed by heavy traffic congestion.

And so it was the home side who started the game more effectively. First blood went to Iain MacGillivray. A series of forward drives took the Gazelles to the Waysiders’ posts. The ball was fed to the right several times as the pack tried to cross the line from short range, until fly-half Innes, spotting that the WD defence was stretched, reversed the direction. The ball was whipped out left, and with the visitors’ tight head just too late to reach the corner flag, The Pastry Express slipped through the gap like a bull elephant through a turnstile.

A second score followed in short order, this time at the opposite corner. David Nicol stole the ball cleanly at a WD lineout, the Gazelles swarmed round, the drive to the line was tight and controlled, and the score was the classic Gazelle move seen several times already this season, but only rarely while the ELVs applied. This time, veteran second row Harkness came up with the ball.

Half time changes saw George Sweeney come in at centre, and Ally Cairns at blind side. From the re-start, it was clear that WDs were not just there to make up the numbers and upped their efforts. But the home side were not prepared to let this one slip away, and gave as good in return. So the second half became something of an attritional affair, with both defences soaking up pressure effectively. Waysiders big forwards ran whatever ball they could get their hands on. GHA had just the edge in the scrum, and took a few against the head. Nicol and Harkness plundered the opposition lineout, and young centre Sweeney was close to breaking through on a couple of occasions.

But it was honours even, the opposing defences holding fast until the final whistle ended a good honest contest, well managed by referee Derrick McInally, and perhaps a little more entertaining than the scoreline may suggest.

GHA Gazelles:

G. Summers ( G Sweeney half-time ), I. MacGillivray, A. Mallin, R. Keenan ( G. Summers 55 minutes ) , C. Miller, G. Innes, M. Booth ( J. Harkness 60 minutes ), F.McDonald, M.McKee, J. Clarke, J. Harkness ( A. Cairns half-time ), I. Grierson, S. Burns, Z. McIlwham, D. Nicol.

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