Marr 24 GHA 24

GHA had to settle for a draw on their visit to Marr on Saturday in a contest that was almost the exact opposite of the clubs’ previous encounter in the BT National League’s first division. Three months ago the Braidholm club snatched a home victory at the last gasp: this time it was Marr who struck in the final play, though only to share the points.

Both clubs were keenly seeking victory, though for totally different reasons. GHA needed to keep going in their bid for a promotion play-off place whereas Marr were desperate to escape the relegation zone. The draw probably hurt Marr more than it did GHA; at least in terms of positions in the league table!

Marr had the better of a mainly stop-start first half. Not only did Rory McGee knock over four penalty goals for a 12-5 lead at the interval, but they also held a tight grip in frustrating GHA’s aspirations. The visitors had only one real scoring chance, and they took it in Euan Greer’s eager hands after Andrew Goudie had struck a precise grubber kicked to the left flank. The GHA wing scooped the ball up and dived over in one swoop.

Goudie’s conversion attempt from well out drifted wide, and Marr were still ahead – 6-5 after 18 minutes.

However, the contest’s third quarter belonged completely to GHA, starting in the minute after the interval with a Goudie penalty goal. Six minutes later Ross Angus exploded out of nowhere to run in from near the home 22-metre line to score between the posts, putting GHA ahead for the first time. Goudie converted and added two penalty goals before the hour was up.

Peter Jericevich was wide with a long-range penalty attempt after 61 minutes, but Goudie was back in the groove with his fourth goal four minutes later. GHA were then 12 points ahead, and they seemed secure because not only did Marr concede points from that penalty but they also lost former GHA prop Andrew Kelly to the sin-bin.

Yet GHA made nothing of that numerical advantage, and when Marr were back to full strength they celebrated with a Colin Sturgeon try, which in its execution was almost a copy of GHA’s Angus score. That Marr score, too, was at the posts, but they were denied the conversion by Rangi Jericevich charging it down. It was to prove to be a valuable rarity: old men afterwards claimed not to have seen a conversion blocked before!

A couple of minutes later, with the clock running into added time, GHA were reduced to 14, with Rangi Jericevich sin-binned for a playing the ball on the ground after a tackle, and Marr made better use of the numerical advantage than GHA had done earlier, though the second half had run fully 46 minutes on an unstopped clock before McGee secured a share of the points for his team. In what was the last play of the match the home stand-off took a quickly tapped penalty about 20 metres out and ran in for a try which he converted.

GHA’s next league match is against Jed-Forest on Saturday coming (24 January). It’s their only home match this month.

Marr: Gregor Ness; Scott Bickerstaff, Aaron Rankin, Colin Sturgeon, Stuart Howie; Rory McGee, Grant Baird; Andy Kelly, Stephen Adair (captain), Fraser Ferguson, Dylan Rowe, Angus Johnston, Fraser Grant, Kyle Vallance, Ben Johnston – Replacements: William Farquhar, Ollie Rossi, Kris Kirk, Paul Burke, Johnny McClung.

Scorers: T – McGee, Sturgeon C – McGee P – McGee

GHA: Andrew Gillman; Rangi Jericevich, Niall Cassie, Chris Binnie, Euan Greer; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Scott Carson, Donald Malcolm (captain), Michael Robertson, Jamie Auld, Chris McGeogh, Alan Auld, Andrew Boag, Grant MacDonald – Replacements: Lewis Anderson, Jamie Leslie, Paul Harkins, Ross Angus, James Edgar.

Scorers: T – Angus, Greer C – Goudie P – Goudie (4)

Referee: Kevin White.

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