GHA 29 Cartha QP 19

The landscape at Braidholm is undergoing exciting changes with the creation of the 3G pitch. Renovation of the Overlee lounge into a most attractive and well appointed facility is further evidence of major changes at the club. On an overcast day a very healthy crowd assembled at the ground for what is always a closely contested derby match. The club house was very busy as a superbly attended club lunch got underway.The presence of television cameras added to the sense of occasion. Both sides prepared thoroughly with mostly whole team drills players exhibiting a keeness in contact and a fleetness of foot which is always evident in the opening weeks of a season.

GHA kicked off and attempted to gain distance with a long kick into Cartha territory but the visitors cleared the danger. Cartha were awarded a penalty and moved the ball very quickly Wayne Burrows probing for defensive frailties in the home defence with a clever angled kick through. Play centred around the GHA twenty two metre area with both sides attempting to break out. Strong tackling by both sides and over stretched passes led to a number of knock ons and turn overs. There was a frenetic element to these early exchanges with thrust and counter thrust breaking down with over ambitious passes or mistakes.After five minutes Cartha to huge cheers from their support drove the home side back to their own twenty two metres line. Calum Dickson was taking the ball into contact in midfield as Cartha attempted to build a platform to launch their backs. Excellent tackling by the home side especially Scott Plumridge negated the advantage that Cartha were attempting to build.In the sixth minute Andrew Gillman put boot to ball to send Gregor Davidson scurrying back on his own five metre area to clear from the on rushing Gillman. Despite pressure in the loose from Michael Scott and Andrew Gillman, the visitors secured the ball only to lose it in contact. Play was interrupted as a fracas broke out between the sides after a superb break by Scott Derrick just failed. IN eleven minutes in what was becoming a tousy affair with no quarter asked or given, GHA were awarded a penalty in front of the posts inside Cartha’s twenty two metre area. Scott Plumridge was successful with the kick to make the score after eleven minutes : GHA 3 CARTHA 0.

Undaunted the visitors returned to the attack to be met by stiff GHA tackling. The ball was retained and then lost by both sides constantly. Neither side seemed to be able to ignore the passions and tensions such a derby match creates and constantly spilt passes or caused knock ons which did nothing to settle the nerves of players or the crowd. After seventeen minutes Jacob Adamson wriggled his way through a gap in the home defence and suddenly found himself clear. To visiting celebrations he flew over the line to score. Wayne Burrows architect of much of Carha’s positive play throughout the match just missed the conversion. Thus after eighteen minutes the score was : GHA 3 CARTHA 5.

The next few minutes saw both sides attempting to make progress but mistakes and defensive strength resulted in play moving back and forth between the respective ten metre areas.After twenty three minutes GHA began to hold a slight dominance in territory with their visitors forced to give away penalties . Despite this pressure the visitors held firm and as it seemed that the home side might turn their slight advantage into points, a brilliant mazy run by the fleet footed Graeme Docherty took him well clear of the home defence to allow him a run under the posts to score. Wayne Burrows added the conversion to make the score after thirty minutes GHA 3 CARTHA 12.

To their credit the home side refused to be dismayed by this set back and immediately began to mount a well organised series of forward forays into the Cartha half, Scott Plumridge and James Sutherland being strongly to the fore. In a well crafted forward and backs combination of driving rugby, the home side moved deep into Cartha territory before releasing Ross Angus to run through and score under the posts to great acclaim by the home support. Scott Plumridge added the conversion to make the scorer after thirty six minutes: GHA 10 CARTHA 12.

Half time arrived with no further score. It had been a hectic and untidy first half with move after move breaking down through over cooked passes or basic handling errors. Both sides were clearly feeling the tension of the derby atmosphere and it seemed that the side that could cut down on errors and build well executed moves would carry the day.

The second half began with Cartha attempting to run the ball wide with several long passes to stretch the home defence around the half way line.However the educated boot of Andrew Gillman pushed play deep into the visitors half forcing them on to the back foot. Driving work by Ross McCorkindale and Max MacFarlane engineered an gap which was superbly taken by Max MacFarlane and converted by Scott Plumridge to make the score after six minutes of the half: GHA 17 CARTHA 12.

Both sides wrestled for possession around half way as resolute defences managed to blunt sniping incursions from the visitor and home player alike. As tensions mounted there was a huge altercation by players on both sides after some perceived wrongdoing. Both captains were spoken to and play resumed in what was now an increasingly tense atmosphere.A break by the powerful Maurice Adams dragged play into the GHA ten metre line. For the next few minutes play raged across the pitch as both sides attempted to establish dominance. GHA put together several phases and began to edge toward the visitors line. Several drives by Adam kerr, Dario Ewing and Jamie McCarthy allowed GHA to set up a good attacking platform deep inside the visitors half. Despite brave defence by the visitors Scott Derrick used his upper body strength to blast a way through the visiting defence and score. As the conversion was missed the scorer after twenty two minutes was :GHA 22 CARTHA 12.

Despite this lead, Cartha remained dangerous and neither side was able to feel they were in control of the match. GHA enjoying some pressure as we reached towards the half hour mark worked the ball into the Cartha twenty two metre area with a combination of forward drives and recycling in which Scott Carson was exemplary. Just when it seemed that the home side had drawn in the defence of the visitors, a long pass out was intercepted by Graeme Docherty who deftly gathered the ball and to the consternation of the home side and unbridled joy of his team mates ran the length of the pitch to score. The try was converted and the score was after thirty minutes GHA 22 CARTHA 19.

Cartha threw everything at the home side who managed to hold their defensive integrity inside their twenty two metre line. As Carha pressed a brilliant break by the GHA back line allowed Cameron King to finish off a lovely passing move to score under the posts. The try was converted by George Baird and the score as we headed toward full time was now: GHA 29 CARTHA 19.

The closing minutes were characterised by both sides attempting to exploit gaps and mistakes which were appearing as the result of the herculean efforts both teams had produced in this derby. With time almost up another altercation between a number of players on both sides resulted in Calum Dickson being yellow carded . The referee brought a very tense match to an end with the final score GHA 29 CARTHA 19. It had been a match full of incident, laced with over eagerness by players on both sides trying to force the pass or gamble on a speculative move. Despite this both sides had given their all in a fiercely contested derby which was finally won with patient well executed play.






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