Marr 38 GHA 12
GHA arrived at Fullarton in fine spirits after their impressive showing at home last Saturday. However it was not lost upon the visitors that GHA have not beaten Marr in Troon on several occasions.As the visitors approached along the wonderfully named Isle of Pin road, the home side were determined to return to winning ways following their defeat last week. An overcast day greeted the players during their preparation. The pitch was in good condition and despite the chill in the air and a slight breeze , the day promised some entertaining rugby.
GHA kicked off with a searching long kick which Marr fielded and took straight into contact. An early penalty award for offside allowed the visitors to take play up to the Marr twenty two area. Several incursions by Scott Carson tore through the home defence and it took considerable effort to stop further breaks by Michael Scott and James Sutherland.From a scrum on the twenty two metre area James Sutherland made a break only to be stopped and the ball be won by Marr. GHA continued to apply pressure and a seering break by John O’Brien cut through the startled home defence before giving an excellent pass to Ben Addison who went over to score. The score after five minutes was Marr 0 GHA 5.
The conversion was missed . Marr immediately attacked from the restart and William Ross MIller began to exert a huge influence on the day by peeling off a scrum and finding space behind the GHA initial defence.The home side were awarded a penalty and a precise kick from Liam McLoughlin whose kicking would cause problems for the visitors throughout the match took play up to the corner of the GHA five metre area. A well executed catch and drive saw Mackenzie Pearce go over to score. Liam McLoughlin with a very good kick made the score after ten minutes: MARR 7 GHA 5.
Once again, GHA had score early in a match and then conceded a try almost immediately. Marr now seized the initiative and this time Ewan Hamilton Bulger burst through the GHA defence to loud cheers from the home support. Play is driven to the visitors twenty two metre area. The home side through a series of measured drives and recycling, were forcing GHA on to the back foot. A break by Andrew Mill found space in the GHA rearguard and Calvin Henderson finished a concerted effort by scoring. Once again a sublime kick by LIam McLoughlin converted the try and the score after fifteen minutes was: MARR 14 GHA 5.
GHA tried to take the match to Marr but the defensive cover from the home side meant that little progress was made for considerable effort. The continual incursions by messrs MIller and Bulger were forcing the visiting side back on to the back foot. The home side were adept at finding a gap then recycling the ball quickly and releasing a potent back division to ask question of the GHA defence. IN the twentieth minute play was found around the visitors five metre line. Once again William Ross Miller broke from a scrum and cleverly set up Gregor Paxton to score. The try was converted and after twenty minutes the score was: MARR 21 GHA 5.
The visitors tried desperately to gain a toehold in a match which suddenly was in danger of running away from them. The home side were equally determined to continue to dominate the match. A huge effort by GHA forced Marr back into their own half and a kick through was hastily cleared by Liam Mcloughlin. Play moved to the Marr ten metre area. This resurgence in GHA ranks saw Murray Houston seize the opportunity to avoid several tackles to burst over the line to score. Murray converted his own try and the score after thirty five minutes was MARR 21 GHA 12.
As we moved towards the interval, GHA began to put some passages of play together and began to ask questions of the home defence who suddenly looked a great deal less comfortable then they had earlier. Half time arrived with no further score. GHA had recovered from the early set back of losing scores and were now patiently and with determination attempting to build an attacking platform in the Marr half of the pitch.
The second half began with William Ross Miller again bursting into space between despairing tackles with good support from his fellow forwards. Play was forced deep into the visitors half and great resilience prevented a further score for the home side. Both sides now made every attempt to run the ball and play moved up and down the pitch. Some super interpassing by the GHA backs was causing Marr to turn on their heels and was gaining ground for the visitors. The match was now very keenly contested and an altercation between a number of players in the twentieth minute resulted in a yellow card for Andrew Mill and Cameron King. Both sides continued to look for a way through employing several kicks for space which failed to deliver. As we moved to the twenty fifth minute of the half Marr were awarded a penalty on halfway and a huge kick by Liam McLoughlin took play right up to the GHA five metre line. Despite sterling attempts to prevent the catch and drive, Stephen Adair went over to score and the try was converted. The score after thirty minutes was now MARR 28 GHA 12.
THis was a heavy blow for the visitors who had really taken the game to Marr in the second half and their patient and incisive passing through hands was clearly unsettling the home side. As we moved towards the thirty fifth minute GHA once again attempted to pierce the purple defensive line. However, it was Marr who scored the best try of the match. Captain Conor Bickerstaff chipped the ball over the GHA defence and managed to gather his own kick, sprinted towards the GHA line passed inside to Josh Evans who in turn unselfishly passed to Gregor Paxton to score his second of the match. The try was converted and the score after thirty eight minutes was now MARR 35 GHA 12.
Despite this further setback, the visiting side continued to attack the Marr defenceand in fact GHA were finishing the match strongly.Several forays by both sides in the dying embers of the match came to nought until Liam McLoughlin in midfield inside the GHA half collected a loose ball and put a superb drop kick through the posts to bring the scoring to an end. The final score was MARR 38 GHA 12.
The score suggests a dominant performance by the home side but they had to work very hard for their victory. Marr scored at opportune times and certainly took their chances.
MARR: L.McLOUGHLIN j.SCOTT R.DALGLEISH G.PAXTON T.STEVEN C.BICKERSTAFF F.HAZEL W.FARQUHAR S. ADAIR C.HENDERSON E.HAMILTON-BULGER F.GRANT R.MILLER M.PEARCE B.JOHNSTON – Subs: O.ROSSI G.DICK J.EVANS A.MILL K.DIFFENTHAL
Scorers: T – PAXTON (2), ADAIR, HENDERSON, PEARCE C – MCLOUGHLIN (5) DG – MCLOUGHLIN
GHA: J.O’BRIEN C. KING R.FINDLAY M.MACFARLANE B.ADDISON R.MCCORKINDALE M.HOUSTON S.CARSON M.SCOTT S.FISHER J.AULD J.McCARTHY A.KERR J.SUTHERLAND L.MAVUNGA – Subs: L.BARRON M.FOX S.MULHOLLAND J.EDGAR G.MOLLISON
Scorers: T – ADDISON, HOUSTON C – HOUSTON
REFEREE: MR G ORMISTON
ASSISTANT REFEREES: MR I MORRISON & MR A PARRY