2013/2014: Scottish National League



S. Lang15M. Hanning
R. Jericevich14M. Morrell
H. O’Hare13J. Coutts
(c) A. Henderson12S. Allan
J. Edgar11A. Whittingham
D. Dunn10N. McCashin (c)
M. Houston9R. Samson
M. Kidd1W. Aitken
R. Wilson2A. Howie
S. Carson3R. Anderson
J. Auld4R. Stewart
A. Barnett5F. Morrison
R. Jenkins6D. Sangster
P. Harkins7B. Wilson
A. Auld8D. Pech
I. Nelson16G. De Villiers
S. Fisher17G. Campbell
R. Glen18S. MacDonald
J. Plumridge19M. Hannay
C. Binnie20F. Strachan
TrySangster (2), MacDonald, McCashin, Morrell, Wilson
ConMcCashin (4)
PenMcCashin (2)
Mr C. Samson (Caledonia RS)


GHA’s surge to promotion last season was built on a secure defence. Sadly, that strength seems to have been lost during the summer. At least that was the impression on Saturday as GHA leaked six tries in losing to Stewart’s Melville at Braidholm on the opening day of the RBS National League programme.

Equally worrying was the well-oiled scoring machine could not find even first gear. Last season GHA plundered 15 four-try bonus points from 18 league matches, but on Saturday, with too much possession was kicked away, the top line on the Braidholm scoreboard retained a zero throughout the match.

For much of the contest the home forwards battled on without reward. New Zealander Reid Wilson made a favourable impression with his busy work around the field on his league debut, Adam Barnett carried well, as did Matt Kidd, and Robbie Glen made his presence felt when he took the field as a second-half replacement. Not even Andy Henderson’s usual willingness could ignite the flair of last season, though probably because the supported tended to lack numbers.

GHA’s previous league performance was the effective and highly efficient way in which they beat Cartha to clinch the Championship A title in the winner-takes-all finale last season. Nine players remained on Saturday from the 15 who started that match, but it was crucial that four of the absent six were in the successive roles from 6 to 9!

All but 10 of the visitors’ points came from that corresponding section of their team – 19 points from Nick McCashin, a tidy footballer at 10, plus three tries from the back-row, two by Donald Sangster and one by Ben Wilson. Moreover, McCashin was partnered by a former Edinburgh and London Irish professional, Ross Samson.

Stewart’s Melville were workman-like in all that they did, and they wasted little time in making their intentions known. After only seven minutes they exploited weak tackling for Wilson’s try. Then Sangster’s two tries, both from forward drives, bracketed a McCashin penalty goal, and GHA’s day was summed up when Matt Morrell gathered a kick about 40 metres out before running past to many opponents up the right touchline to score the bonus-point try. McCashin converted three of those tries as well as slotting an added-time penalty goal.

GHA had their best phase of the match in the third quarter, though only in the respect that the visitors didn’t score in that time. However, McCashin and Stuart Macdonald added tries in the final quarter.

Between those two scores the home support had good reason for a rare cheer when Jack Plumridge executed an excellent retreating tackle on McCashin. It was an example to others,
and the tackle also produced a yellow card for the visitors’ hooker, Adam Howie. But before the end two home forwards, Alan Auld and Iain Nelson, had taken that same route to the sin-bin.

GHA’s next league match will be a visit to Peebles for probably a better indication of relative strengths. It is a contest between last season’s Championship A and B title-winners.

Source: Bill McMurtrie & Stewart’s Melville FP RFC, Monday 26th August 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *