2012/2013: Scottish Championship A



L. Tyley15C. Binnie
S. Connolly14R. Jericevich
K. Smith13H. O’Hare
B. McGroarty12A. Henderson (c)
M. Frizzell11J. Brogan
C. Harrison10G. Adams
A. McDougall9A. Gillman
D. Paton1M. Kidd
M. Duddy2J. Malcolm
M. Coyle3S. Fisher
M. Gray4R. Glen
M. McDonald5R. Jenkins
A. Ward6D. Malcolm
(c) A. Abernethy7P. Harkins
A. Lyon8G. MacDonlad
L. Campbell16S. Spowart
A. Love17A. Auld
L. Hoodless18J. Pinder
S. Giovancci19J. Plumridge
Connolly, McGroartyTryJericevich (3), Jenkins, O’Hare, J. Malcolm
ConBrogan (2)
Mr D. McClement


GHA took another step towards promotion as they defeated Greenock Wanderers 34-13 at a muddy Fort Matilda. The win leaves them ten points clear of Falkirk at the top of the Championship A table with three games remaining.

Six tries from Rangi Jericevich (3), Ryan Jenkins, James Malcolm and Hefin O’Hare helped
GHA to another bonus point victory.

GHA Head Coach Gordon MacPherson was thrilled with the performance despite the tough
conditions. He said:”It was an excellent performance considering the heavy conditions. It was good that we were able to adjust our game to the conditions. We had to kick a little bit for territory more than we probably do. It was testament to the guys that they adapted in certain areas of the game. We were fairly pleased with the performance because we know how dangerous Greenock can be.”

GHA have now picked up 17 bonus points over double the amount of second placed Falkirk.
And Head Coach Gordon MacPherson knows how important they could be by the end of the
season. He added: “The top three or four teams are looking to win first but then pick up a bonus point if you can. We are doing as much as we can. All we can do is win our games and see what transpires.”

GHA went into this game knowing the dangers posed by a quality Greenock side and the
squelchy underfoot conditions could have turned this into a real slog.

Poor discipline and mistakes in the opening 20 minutes from GHA frustrated the visitors
and gifted Greenock good field position and attacking opportunities. Nevertheless, it was a
busting run from GHA number 8 Grant MacDonald that opened the scoring as his burst up
the middle was supported by Ryan Jenkins on his inside – Jenkins taking a nice offload on the
Greenock 22 and pinning his ears back to score beside the posts. John Brogan added the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Greenock’s riposte was swift with a penalty by full-back Leigh Tyley shortly followed by a try for centre Brendan McGroarty. All started by Ally Abernethy who managed to get the ball away to Smith from a retreating scrum, and his pass to the intruding Tyley set him off on a mazy run only to be tackled some 15 metres short of the GHA line. When quick ball was recycled, Connolly chipped through and McGroarty won the chase to touch down and give the Wanderers a try and the lead at 8-7. Tyley’s conversion attempt drifted wide.

GHA came roaring back into the game though and their powerful pack started to dominate the forward exchanges. On 27 minutes they drove the Greenock eight off the ball at a scrum, and after they had gone through several attacking phases, centre O’Hare sprinted clear to score just wide of the posts. Brogan added the extras, leaving GHA with a 14-8 lead.

5 minutes later GHA were pressurising the Greenock line once more and Andrew Henderson
went over only for the referee to declare the ball held up even though a better angle would’ve
confirmed the score. Not to be disheartened, from the ensuing scrum GHA attacked the blind
side and a neat grubber from fly half Gordon Adams was finished in the corner by right wing
Rang Jericevich. 2 minutes later Jericevich scored a second as GHA attacked the blind side once again, this time from inside their own half. Good handling put him clear and he outpaced the Greenock defence down the right hand touch line to score in the corner. Brogan couldn’t convert, giving GHA the bonus point and a 24 to 8 half time advantage.

The second half started well from GHA when a line out catch and drive on the Greenock 22
was driven to within inches of the Greenock line. A quick pick and go from Hooker James
Malcolm could not be halted as the youngster scored close to the right hand corner.

The underfoot conditions played havoc with the continuity of play all afternoon and much of
the second half was played out between the two 22’s with both sides struggling to maintain the ball for long passages of play. GHA always looked threatening however and their 6th and final score came with just under 20 minutes remaining. A break from O’Hare was supported by Jericevich on his inside and a simple draw and pass on the last defender put Jericevich in for his third.

With 10 minutes remaining, the Greenock crowd feared there could be more scores to come, however the Wanderers refused to capitulate and Andy McDougall was unlucky not to score when he only just failed to hold onto a kick through with the line beckoning. With the pitch now cutting up quite badly the game was being slowed down and it appeared that we would get to the final whistle without any further scoring. With almost the last play of the game though Connolly set off on a mazy run from his own half, he chipped the ball over the advancing defence and caught his own kick on the run before passing to McDougall. He then exchanged passes with McGroarty before finally passing the ball out again to Connolly to score a quite superb try in the corner. Tyley missed a difficult conversion to leave the final score at 13-34.

Considering the conditions, GHA did well to win so comfortably over a Greenock team who fought hard for the full 80 minutes. GHA now have a week off before they travel to second placed Falkirk on the 16th February for a top of the table clash.

Source: David Coates & Greenock Telegraphy, Monday 4th February 2013

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