GHA 48 Kelso 9

GHA led by only 10-9 at half-time on Saturday but eventually upped the tempo and struck the right notes in scoring an octave of tries for a bonus-point victory against Kelso. The Braidholm volume reached its crescendo with a scherzo of four tries in the final quarter of the BT National League first-division match.

Charlie Lonergan, Alan Auld, and Peter Jericevich each had a duet of tries. Andrew Henderson had one, as did Chris Binnie, marking his hundredth game for the club and playing the overture with the afternoon’s first try. Andrew Goudie and Murray Houston each converted two.

Binnie struck after only three minutes, going over from Lonergan’s pass on the right from a lineout on the other flank. Andrew Skeen responded with two penalty goals, putting Kelso 6-5 ahead after only 10 minutes. However, the visitors’ lead was short-lived as Binnie and Lonergan swapped roles in 12 minutes with the former sending the latter in for GHA’s second try. Both tries were too far out for Goudie to convert.

Skeen’s second goal followed a scrummage infringement, and Kelso continued to bother GHA in that phase until well into second half. But the contest was scoreless more than half an hour after Lonergan’s try, though both teams missed chances. Skeen failed with a penalty in 21 minutes, and then Rangi Jericevich was denied in the right corner, though only after the referee had consulted with his stand-side assistant.

GHA lost Paul Harkins in 27 minutes, the flanker yellow-carded for a shoulder-charge, but his time in the sin-bin was almost over before Kelso gain any benefit from numerical advantage, with Skeen kicking a third penalty goal.

That cut the home lead to just one point at half-time. But GHA had a lethal bench that included Andrew Gillman’s pace and Scott Carson’s power in the scrum and vigour in the loose. Scott Plumridge, making his first-team debut in the back row, made his presence felt as soon as he arrived.

GHA doubled their try-count in the first 18 minutes of the second half, and Gillman had a hand in both. He and Peter Jericevich laid on Henderson’s score, and Gillman’s run from his own half opened the door for Auld to notch the bonus-point try. Goudie converted both.

GHA were safe at 24-9. Yet they still had a hunger for more, and they were not satisfied until had four more tries in the bag. Peter Jericevich provided for Lonergan’s second, Auld finished off a sweeping crossfield move, and a Gillman-Binnie thrust from the home 22 was completed by Peter Jericevich, who added his second in added time. Houston converted numbers one and four of that quartet, the first from close to the right touchline.

GHA: Chris Binnie; Rangi Jericevich, Charlie Lonergan, Andrew Henderson (captain), Alan Auld; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Lyall Archer, Erik Cavan, Michael Robertson, Adam Barnett, Grant Neilson, Paul Harkins, Ross Angus, Grant MacDonald. – Replacements: Gordon Campbell, Scott Carson, Scott Plumridge, Murray Houston, Andrew Gillman.

Scorers: T – A. Auld (2), P. Jericevich (2), Lonergan (2), Binnie, Henderson C – Goudie (2), Houston (2)

Kelso: Aaron Jackson; Matthew Young, Gary Johnstone, Andrew Skeen, Alan Haig; Phil Hume, Ally Johnston, Henri Boshoff, Ross Henderson, Blair Robertson, Ian Wallace, Donald Seed, Chris Riddell, Gavin Blair, Keiran Dunbar. – Replacements: Stuart Lowrie, Michael Barber, Matthew Hall, Andy Tait, Louis Wichary.

Scorers: P – Skeen (3)

Referee: Mr Ross Mabon (Langholm).

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