GHA 38 Selkirk 36
Saturday saw the return to League business after the festivities. First visitors were Selkirk who arrived intent in creating a repeat of their comfortable victory over the home side earlier in the season. The visitors were aware of the huge improvement in GHA performances and prolonged and detailed whole team discussions during the preparations suggested that Selkirk expected a difficult match. Home side preparations showed a keen edge to drills and hits. Conditions were favourable for running rugby, there being no wind a firm ground and a mild afternoon. A large crowd assembled to watch GHA kick off deep into Selkirk territory which was cleared up to the twenty metre area. GHA secured early possession and messrs Jericevich and Goudie began to use deft kicks into space and angular runs to wrong foot the visitors. Just as the home side had done in their previous match ,GHa ran the ball with accuracy and speed and in one such move Peter Jericevich sent the incoming James Edgar through to weave his way to the line for a well crafted score which Andrew Goudie converted. After four minutes the score was : GHA 7 SELKIRK 0.
The speed and accuracy of GHA passing and the interlinking between forwards and backs even this early in the match clearly stunned Selkirk who were struggling to contain breaks by Grant Mollison, James Edgar and Andrew Spowart. However Selkirk reduced the leeway with a well hit penalty for breaking scrum binding by Callum McEwan. The score after five and a half minutes was now : GHA 7 SELKIRK 3.
The game had started at a frenetic pace and showed no signs of slowing down. From the restart Peter Jericevich placed a long kick into the Selkirk twenty metre area. GHA were very fast on the follow up and Selkirk were given no time to regroup or organise and there followed a series of rushed defensive kicks which kept the home side deep in the visitors half. The GHA pair of Jericevich and Goudie were asking questions of the Selkirk defence and breaks by Fergus Haig coming inside on the burst were causing desperate defensive tackling by Selkirk. The visitors gave away a penalty for an infringement on the ten metre line as they tried to prevent GHA forwards setting up clean ball. Andrew Goudie converted the penalty and the score after ten minutes was :GHA 10 SELKIRK 3.
The quality ball being won in the loose by the home forwards was giving time and space for the probings of the home half backs with support from an eager back line . However Selkirk began to steady again using sheer physical power in the loose and several crash ball carries from Peter Forrest and Michael Waldron to drive their way into the GHA half. Selkirk also moved the ball through the backs in an attempt to find an opportunity to send Tythan Adams and Frazer Anderson into clear space. However tenacious tackling by GHA was holding the visitors out and a startling break by Ben Addison was just stopped on the ten metre line. There was a noticeable increase in the speed of the Selkirk forwards who desperately tried to give their backs a platform to attack the home side. Over eagerness in the loose resulted in a penalty award to Selkirk.Ciaran White struck a superb kick deep into the GHA half. IN a clever mismove from the lineout phase Peter Forrest went over to score and make the score: GHA 10 SELKIRK 10.
The conversion was missed and the score at the end of the match would be affected by this miss. Whilst the pace of the match had not slackened there was frantic efforts by both sides to try and establish dominance. Both sides seemed to realise that this match was going to be won by the side that
Minimised mistakes and took chances which had been carved out. In twenty five minutes GHA forwards who clearly had no hesitation in committing their bodies in the loose, forced Selkirk to give away a penalty inside their half which Andrew Goudie calmly converted.
The home side worked hard to increase this slender lead and some neat linkage between Ben Addison and Adam Barnett and Grant MacDonald forced Selkirk back into their half.From a powerful scrum platform in which messrs Brogan Usuda and Scott were unsettling their opponents technique GHA were awarded a penalty for scrum infringement. Peter Jericevich wasted no time in rifling a long kick into the Selkirk half. There were penetrating breaks by Seitaro Usuda and Fergus Haig which only just failed to score. In the next move a clever cross field kick by Andrew Goudie just failed to reach its target as it was collected by Tythan Adams. However the ball was knocked on as Selkirk tried to turn defence into attack. There then followed a confrontation between both sets of forwards before matters calmed down somewhat. This confrontation was perhaps reflective of the tension in the match. GHA had enjoyed periods of control in the match and were frustrating Selkirk attempts to dominate. At the same time there was total commitment from every player on the pitch. In thirty five minutes following several attacks by GHA , the visitors were forced to give away a penalty on their five metre area. In a decision which would influence the final outcome the penalty was converted by Andrew Goudie to make the score: GHA 13 SELKIRK 10.
As we moved towards the interval both sets of backs continued to probe and look for gaps . On the thirtty eighth minute James Edgar on receipt of a fast accurate pass made an excellent break right through the Selkirk defence to score in the corner . With Andrew Goudie’s conversion the score was now GHA 23 SELKIRK 10.
The interval allowed for a pause in what had been an exciting match between two sides who were totally committed. GHA had shown a tigerish tenacity in loose and set piece and used the ball intelligently to offload in attacking positions. Selkirk had looked surprised by the power and accuracy of the home side and had struggled to put their game plan into action. However there were signs during the first half that the quality and experience of this borders side would be harnessed to attempt to overturn the deficit. The second half began with GHA again moving the ball quickly through hands and at times making the visitors defence seem flat footed. Great breaks by Grant Mollison and Andrew Spowart just failed to succeed. Selkirk had a player yellow carded for a high tackle. Despite early pressure on the Selkirk defence and clever fients and twists and indeed mispasses by messrs Jeicevich and Goudie with acolyte Fergus Haig in support, Selkirk managed to repel the home side for the moment . Over the next few minutes, Selkirk put some good passages of play together and only resolute tackling by the Braidholm side prevented further incursions by Selkirk. A feature of this passage of play was the tendency of the visitors to knock the ball on or indeed drop the ball at crucial times. After eleven minutes GHA were awarded a penalty for playing the ball on the ground and in a perfect example of his ability to weigh up a situation, Peter Jericevich took it quickly and threaded his way through the disorganised visitors to score. Andrew Goudie converted to make the score: GHA 30 SELKIRK 10.
For the next several minutes Selkirk were clearly unsettled by the turn of events and the constant pressing by GHA. An astonishing break by James Edgar tore huge gaps through the opposition only for a superbly timed tackle by Darren Clapperton to end the chance. Good recycling by Selkirk allowed Ciaran Whyte to clear the ball up to half way. From this position Selkirk made progress keeping the ball in the capable hands of Peter Forrest and Mathew Robertson.Selkirk were awarded several penalties in quick succession on half way as forwards began to lose their concentration. From one such penalty the visiting forwards worked the ball neatly sucking in the home players before releasing the ball to score which was converted to roars of approval from the visiting fans by Ciaran Whyte. THis made the score after fifteen minutes of the half GHA 30 SELKIRK 18.
The game was very finely balanced and both sides realised that mistakes could be critical. Grant Mollison was impeded as he went to collect a short chip through by M. Davis who was yellow carded. Play swung from end to end with desperate interventions by both sides stopping progress. With just over twenty minutes to go,Ross Angus was yellow carded for not releasing the ball in the tackle. Selkirk kicked to touch and with the home side reorganising their lineout, the visitors broke through the lineout and scored. The try was converted and the score was now: GHA 30 SELKIRK 24.
Selkirk sensed that they could still win this match as we entered the last quarter. GHA continued to run the ball at Selkirk and again Grant Mollison was impeded when he chipped through and Andrew Renwick was yellow carded. GHA ran the ball at Selkirk and as numbers and pressure mounted on the visitors Andrew Spowart took a short hard pass from his scrum half to score amidst great cheering from the home support. There was no conversion and with a little over ten minutes to go the score stood at: GHA 35 SELKIRK 24.
Despite this set back Selkirk incredibly increased their efforts only to be met by an equally stubborn GHA. The determination of the home side was personified by a break out from his own twenty metre area by a rampaging MIchael Scott whose break before it was curtailed took the game up to half way. Selkirk supporters urged their side to keep going and with the match entering the last quarter, GHA gave several penalties away in desperate attempts to stop Selkirk progressing.From one such penalty Selkirk kicked to the corner and from the resulting penalty drove for the line. Selkirk were awarded a penalty try for the home side bringing down the maul. With the conversion, the score was : GHA 35 SELKIRK 31.
With five minutes to go Selkirk mounted an attack from mid field but in so doing were adjudged to have crossed which prevented the tackler reaching his man. As silence befell Braidholm, Andrew Goudie composed himself, studied the angle and length and converted superbly to make the score GHA 38 SELKIRK 31.
A frantic Selkirk attacked again and despite the game having had to go to uncontested scrums due to the catalogue of injuries to the home side front row Selkirk secured possession and moved menacingly towards the home sides try line. Careful and patient recycling by the visitors saw them in the dying seconds of the game finish the move off with a try in the corner. Brave defensive tackling had prevented the try being scored closer to the posts. The conversion was missed and the match finished GHA 38 SELKIRK 36. This had been a bruising physical match with a lot of good attacking rugby being played. This was further evidence of the developing prowess of GHA whose teamwork and commitment and considerable talent won the day.
GHA: G.MOLLISON J.EDGAR B.ADDISON R.FINDLAY A.SPOWART A.GOUDIE P.JERICEVICH T.BROGAN S.USUDA M.SCOTT A.BARNETT G.MacDONALD M.RYAN F.HAIG R.ANGUS
Reserves: A.CORNWELL S.CARSON P.HARKINS S.PLUMRIDGE A.GILLMAN
Scorers: T – EDGAR (2), JERICEVICH, SPOWART C – GOUDIE (3) P – GOUDIE (4)
SELKIRK: D.CLAPPERTON, F.ANDERSON, R.NIXON, C.MacDOUGALL, T.ADAMS, C.WHYTE, C.McEWAN, K.COONEY, J.BETT, M.WALDRON, A.RENWICK, P.FORREST, I.OOSTHUIZEN, M.ROBERTSON, E. MacDOUGALL
Reserves: D. NICHOL, R.WILSON, B.SIYOTHULA, M.DAVIS, D.ALLAN
Scorers: T – ANDERSON, CLAPPERTON, FORREST, WALDRON, PENALTY C – WHYTE (4) P – WHYTE