Hamilton 4XV 12 GHA Gazelles 20

With Jordanhill Phoenix calling off the league fixture, the Gazelles were fortunate enough to get the call from Hamilton, where playing numbers are allowing a fourth XV.

Once again, the Gazelles faced more youthful opposition, and with Hamilton electing to have unopposed scrums from the outset, that could have been construed as an additional handicap to the powerful visiting pack.

But not so, for GHA had a backs line more than capable of the challenge, with newcomers Shields, Smith and Reilly adding industry and pace to complement the older heads.

GHA struck first. Graeme Scott went on a typical barging run into the Hamilton half and fed Summers. His silky, arcing run took him into the corner just ahead of the despairing Hamilton cover, to put the visitors ahead by 5 points.

The second try was added when the backs, opted to run from within their own 22. McLean came into the line and his well judged pass released Reilly in space on the right wing. His scorching run took him all the way to the try line, passing at least two defenders on the outside.

Before half time, Hamilton replied with their first score, a try from open play exposing, for once, an opening in an otherwise strong defence.

Midway through the second half, back-to back tries came from quick penalties, one apiece. Sustained forward pressure took the Gazelles to the Hamilton 5 metre line.As a penalty was awarded for a ruck infringement, Malky McKee took a quick tap, fed Ian Grierson, and the giant farmer crashed over from short range.

The home team immediately came back, from similar range, and right under the posts. The tap was taken, and the Hamilton player simply brushed through the defence which hadn’t yet retreated. The conversion took the score to 15 -12 to the Gazelles.

The stage was set for the closing minutes of the game, both sides showing plenty of endeavour to secure the win. At this point, the benefit of the younger players was clear, their tackling and work rate being instrumental in holding Hamilton at bay.

It was fitting therefore, that the game was closed out as Dave Shields, excellent all day, created the opening for Vincent Reilly to exploit his searing pace to add his second score.

GHA Gazelles

A. McLean, V. Reilly, D. Shields, C. Anderson, J. Smith, G. Summers, M. Booth, D. Marshall, M.McKee, D. Gowan, J. Harkness, I. Grierson, G. Scott, Z. McIlwham, A. Cairns

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