2003/2004: Scottish Premiership One



S. O’Donnell15K. Nisbet
R. Watson14N. Hogarth
R. West13C. Twigley
I. Leighton12D. Gordon
A. Scott11A. Moffat
J. Noonan10S. Nicol
S. Cowan9C. Foster
C. Hastie1A. Clark
G. Inglis2T. Keen
G. Walsh3J. Currie
I. Smith4D. Paton
E. Smith5R. Cumming
L. Hazelton6P. Whelan
J. Fitzpatrick7G. Whelan
A. Plastow8N. MacIver
R. Nolan16W. Aitken
A. Williamson17D. Moore
A. Boag18D. Brown
 C. Pothan19
Watson (3), O’Donnell (2), Fitzpatrick, Noonan, E. SmthTryKeen, Twigley
Noonan (2), O’Donnell (2)Con Nisbet (2)
Noonan (2)Pen
Mr A. Williamson (Hawick)

If GHA are relegated this season, it will not be for lack of effort. In a committed performance, they wore down Peebles in the first half before overrunning them after the break as the Borderers disintegrated.

Relegated Peebles came into the game intent on salvaging some pride and put up a spirited fight for the first 20 minutes, but two tries in three minutes broke their resolve and the home side went on to run in six more, including a hat-trick from quicksilver winger Rory Watson.

The five points gained from this match and the boost to their points difference mean GHA could survive by taking two points from their two remaining games, although coach David Wilson made plain his preference for a win to put the issue beyond doubt. “We’re well aware of the fact that Boroughmuir and Hawick are two teams with history and tradition and we know it’s going to be difficult,” he said. “It’s still very hard to have a real sense of satisfaction because we know we have to get another win to stay up and the focus is still very much on that.”

Dave Cockburn, the Peebles coach, whose departure from the Gytes was confirmed last week, said: “I’m disappointed we lost by that scoreline because it doesn’t reflect the way we can play.”

The home side took the game to Peebles from the kick-off, playing the ball wide with the aim of releasing Watson’s electric pace, but suffered from giving away a string of penalties at rucks. It took 15 minutes for the deadlock to be broken when GHA won a penalty on the 22-metre line and James Noonan’s kick dinked over via the left-hand post. Three minutes later GHA won a scrum against the head, Andrew Plastow carried the ball into a ruck and Noonan sent a kick high into the left-hand corner which Andy Scott caught and off-loaded to Steve O’Donnell for the opening try. Noonan missed the conversion, but GHA surged forward from the kick-off. Plastow was again instrumental as his well-timed pass to John Fitzpatrick carved Peebles open and the flanker charged over the line. GHA’s third was scored by Noonan after he charged down a kick from Cammy Twigley as the centre dithered in his own 22, but Twigley made amends by pulling his side back into contention with a try just before half-time.

Peebles made an enterprising start to the second half as Scott Nicol and Gordon combined well to open up space in the GHA half, but the Borderers came undone again when Ross West broke their line and slipped a pass to O’Donnell for a score under the posts. With the Borderers broken, Watson piled on the agony with a trio of surgical strikes, twice darting through gaps before ghosting past Keith Nisbet to score a superb third under the posts. In between, Trevor Keen managed a consolation try for Peebles from a neat move before Ian Smith touched down for GHA from a drive-over.

Source: The Scotsman Monday 15th March 2004

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