Marr 26 GHA 5

The GHA runners’ try-scoring exploits a week earlier were a distant memory on the visit to Marr on Saturday. The heavy rain, the driving wind off the firth, and the heavy pitch suited the home team in recording a bonus-point win.

In the first half Marr opted to play to the Courtyard end. As the match started GHA estimated that the elements provided Marr with a 20 point advantage so by half-time they would have been confident that the only score was a converted try for Marr. However in the first period Marr had dominated in the forwards scrummage play and the visitors knew they were in for a tough time. Marr opened their account in seven minutes after Colin Sturgeon exploited the forward’s dominance as he exploded through from short range following an attacking lineout.

Frustratingly despite their pressure and possession Marr were unable to add anything to the scoreboard. By half-time GHA’s valiant defence had managed to stem the purple and gold onslaught and the visitors looked forward to taking full advantage of playing with the wind behind them.

The fickle Ayrshire weather had changed during the interval. The wind eased almost to a zephyr for much of the second half, and the rain was no more than an occasional drizzle. Blue sky, albeit almost imperceptible, hinted briefly in the north-west. Only four minutes had gone in the second half when Andrew Gillman cut the margin with a try in the right corner. It was too far out for Peter Jericevich to convert. GHA’s revised half-back pairing of Gillman and Jericevich tried to ignite a handling game off what could be gleaned in the loose by willing forwards. But the pitch, despite Marr’s morning work on it, served only to prompt Braidholm dreams of what might be possible on an artificial surface.

However Marr’s pack and backs weren’t quite ready to accept this. Marr’s front row Andy Kelly, Pieter Kilian and Phil Siave and back five forwards were in great form and with replacement rotation adding Fraser Ferguson, William Farquhar and Kyle Vallance to the mix Marr’s pack continued to dominate the set piece scrum and were in rampaging form in loose play. Behind them the backs, well marshalled by Grant Baird and half-back partner Kolarick, started to Stretch GHA’s defence.

Marr’s dominance was rewarded with three further tries, each coming from forwards’ power play. Two happened from set piece scrums where they drove GFHA off their own put in to win turnover ball. The other involved a driving maul off a lineout that ended with 13 Marr players involved. Paul Burke, Phil Siave claimed one apiece and the third was a penalty try easily awarded as GHA deployed extreme measures to try to stop Marr’s onslaught.

Despite the final result the score was limited as a result of the tremendous defensive display and effort GHA put in. Time and time again telling tackles were perfectly executed to stop Marr’s efforts to reach the whitewash. GHA’s defensive efforts were exemplified by Andy Henderson’s work-rate and determination as he repeatedly effectively made important tackles. Even with this effort Marr still managed to claim the potentially vital bonus point.

The match concluded with Marr gaining five points as GHA were left to lick their wounds and start the re-build for the coming Saturday. The character and determination they displayed means that GHA’s players and coaching side will be able to comfortably continue to secure a place in NL 1.

Marr – Rory McGee; Scott Bickerstaff, Conor Bickerstaff, Colin Sturgeon, Stuart Howie; Craig Kolaric, Grant Baird; Pieter Kilian, Phil Siave, Andy Kelly, Zane Burn, Kris Kirk, Angus Johnston, Paul Burke, Ben Johnston – Replacements: William Farquhar, Fraser Ferguson, Kyle Vallance, Gregor Ness, Aaron Rankin.

Scorers: T – Burke, Siave, Sturgeon, Penalty C – Sturgeon (3)

GHA – Chris Binnie; Andrew Gillman, Ben Addison, Andrew Henderson, Alan Auld; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Lyall Archer, Erik Cavan, Scott Carson, Chris McGeough, Jonathan Lyons, Rob McKinstray, Andrew Grant Suttie, Grant Neilson – Replacements: Seitaro Usuda, Jamie Leslie, Paul Harkins, Jack Dunn, Ruairi O’Keefe

Scorers: T – Gillman

Referee: Duncan McClement.

Additional Source: Gregor Ness (Marr RFC), Saturday 28th November 2015

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