GHA 42 Cartha QP 17
Both sides arrived at Braidholm eager to win the inaugural Billy Barnes Cup and secure valuable League points in the process. The home side held a slender seven point lead from the first leg and were keen to throw off the disappointment of the loss at Dundee last Saturday. Cartha arrived fresh from an impressive victory over Selkirk last week. The pitch had been rolled and spiked and some supporters among the visitors ranks openly admitted that they hoped for rain to create a heavy pitch which they hoped would impair the running ability of the home backs. Both sides displayed an intensity in their preparations which perhaps reflects the rivalry that exists between these two clubs. A healthy crowd gathered for the early kick off and many took advantage of the Special Breakfast that was available in the club house. A minute’s silence was impeccably observed to honour the memory of Billy Barnes, Martin Hilley and Alex Millar.
Cartha kicked off sending a long ball deep into the GHA half. The home side immediately posted their intent by running the ball at the centre of the Cartha defence with David Corbenici making yardage. These opening minutes saw a determined home side looking to find gaps in the visitors defence and GHA were pressing inside the Cartha twenty metre zone. However a penalty to Cartha allowed the visitors to relieve the pressure. Indeed by the fourth minute Cartha began to throw the ball wide in an effort to find weakness in the home defence. Stout tackling by James Sutherland and Clement Tucoulet prevented Cartha breaking through. A huge tackle by Ben Addison dislodged the ball from an opponent and he kicked the ball through to the Cartha ten metre area. However Cartha were awarded a penalty and Wayne Burrows took play back to the GHA twenty metre line. The home side managed to regain possession and drive into the Cartha half. A scintillating break by Ben Addison caused alarm amongst the visitors and they had to scramble to stop his progress. Further drives by messrs Brogan, Scott and Fox stretched the visitors defence but they held firm.
As we reached the tenth minute, GHA continued to apply pressure , driving and recycling, mixing forwards and backs but stout defence by Cartha blunted attempts to score. Cartha weathered this pressure and began to look for opportunities to move the ball out of their half. Much of their good work was orchestrated by Greg Davidson with support from messrs Gray and Williamson.The next ten minutes saw play moving from side to side as both defences were resolute in preventing progress by their opponents. GHA were varying their approach with subtle chips through by messrs Gillman and Goudie and a clever grubber kick by Chris Binnie or passing between forwards and backs, taking the ball into contact before recycling. A penetrating kick by Andrew Goudie which he re gathered himself before passing to the supporting Andrew Spowart was stopped on the Cartha five metre line. Following a catch and drive David Corbineci dived over to break the deadlock. The try was converted and as we approached the half hour mark the score was GHA 7 CARTHA 0.
Cartha immediately took the match back to GHA who seemed momentarily surprised at the vigour of the visitors response. Hard tackling by the home side led to several balls being spilled by the visitors when in dangerous positions. However as we approached the interval GHA were finding it difficult to get out of their own half. Cartha were playing with determination and growing confidence. The visitors pressure told as Wayne Burrows after good work by his forwards went over to score in the fortieth minute. The conversion failed and the half time score was: GHA 7 CARTHA 5.
It had been an interesting half with both defences on top. GHA for a large amount of the half had held possession but could not find a way to turn the possession into points. Cartha had weathered the early pressure from the home side and were keen to build on their try.
The second half began as had much of the first with both sides running the ball back at their opponents. A certain degree of nervousness had crept into the match as the score was finely balanced. The home side began to build possession with three man drives . James Sutherland seemed destined to score under the posts in a break but Cartha managed to work the ball away. Scott Carson and Seitaro Usuda were working in concert to make yardage. As the home side pressed the ball was quickly recycled and as the ball was passed out through the backs Chris Binnie entered the line and with skill dived through a despairing tackle to score. Andrew Goudie with a very difficult kick added the conversion to loud cheers from the home support to make the score: GHA 14 CARTHA 5.
However once again Cartha came straight back at GHA and with good combinations from forwards and backs drove the home side deep into their own half. Michael Downer finished off this good pressure with a score to the delight of the visiting support. The conversion was missed and the score after nine minutes of the half was GHA 14 CARTHA 10.
From the long restart, GHA close down their opponents quickly and a thumping tackle by Andrew Goudie dislodged the ball forward and gave a scrum to GHA on the Cartha ten metre line. An astonishing break by Andrew Goudie from the next phase of play took him right through the visiting defence and although he was stopped short GHA were awarded a penalty and Peter Hollier was yellow carded. From the penalty, GHA built again and recycled and drove forward which allowed David Corbenici to force his way over to score. The try was converted and after sixteen minutes of the half the score was: GHA 21 CARTHA 10.
GHA now attempted to maintain the pressure on Cartha and the loudest cheer of the day went up as Scott Carson made a huge break which was just stopped short in the five metre area. Another penalty to GHA was quickly moved through the ranks and a clever mispass allowed Ben Addison to dive over to score. Andrew Goudie again converted and the score after twenty minutes of the half was: GHA 28 CARTHA 10.
From the restart GHA regained possession and in a sublime passing move between Max MacFarlane and Chris Binnie space was created for Ben Addison to run an excellent line to score. The home crowd showed their appreciation and Andrew Goudie again from a very difficult angle added the conversion points. The score after twenty five minutes was: GHA 35 CARTHA 10.
To their credit, Cartha stormed back at the home side and great work by Graham Williamson and Matt Gray set up Wayne Burrows to score. Wayne quickly took the conversion and the score after twenty seven minutes was: GHA 35 CARTHA 17.
The home side who had put some lovely phases together seemed stung to respond. Powerful support play by forwards and backs working in concert took play right up to the Cartha five metre line. From a dominant scrum, the hard working Ross Angus forced his way through the visiting defence to score. The try was converted and the score after thirty minutes was GHA 42 CARTHA 17.
The last ten minutes saw Cartha run the ball at every opportunity using the power of their forwards to assail the home defence. GHA displaying confidence and organisation stood firm and saw out the remainder of the match. Final score: GHA 42 CARTHA 17. It had been a keenly contested match with some lovely running rugby and stout defence by both sides. GHA demonstrated an ability to get over the try line after patient build up.
GHA: C.BINNIE, A.SPOWART, C.TUCOULET, M. MacFARLANE, B.ADDISON, A.GOUDIE, A.GILLMAN, T.BROGAN, M.SCOTT, M.FOX, D.CORBENICI, L.MAVUNGA, D.EWING, J.SUTHERLAND, R.ANGUS – Replacements: S.USUDA, S.CARSON, S.PLUMRIDGE, J.PRESTON, J.EDGAR
SCORERS: T – ADDISON (2), CORBENICI (2), ANGUS, BINNIE, C – GOUDIE (6)
CARTHA QP: A.SCOTT, T.NYANGWESO, E.CAMPBELL, G.DAVIDSON, J.CAMPION, W.BURROWS, A.MCDOUGALL, M.DOWNER, I.TOTIC, D.IRVINE, M.GRAY, G.WILLIAMSON, P.HOLLIER, C.SPRIDDLE, M.ROBERTSON – Replacements: J.PHYFER, C.DICKSON, F.PAUL, M.MARINKOVIC, G.DOCHERTY
SCORERS: T – BURROWS (2), DOWNER C – BURROWS