GHA 87 Perthshire 0

GHA’s backs were not just hungry on Saturday, they were greedy. They scored 13 of the 14 tries in the runaway victory against Perthshire in the BT Scottish Cup first-round match against Perthshire at Braidholm.

Andrew Gillman, while at full back, scored the first two of the match in the opening 20 minutes, and by the time he had his third he was at scrum half. By then, though, it hardly mattered where the GHA backs were playing: they were happy to run from anywhere.

Euan Greer also had three tries. Rangi Jericevich, Niall Cassie and Andy Henderson scored two apiece, and Peter Jericevich had one as well as the opening penalty goal after just two minutes and seven conversions. The stand-off might have had more than his 22 points if the kicking tee had been more to his liking: he even resorted to drop-kicking conversions, one of which so mesmerised the opposition that they stopped their charge to stand and watch in wonder as the ball sailed over the bar.

Ross Angus scored the only other try, and it was all the forwards’ own work after Peter Jericevich’s penalty kick into the right corner. They drove the line-out maul from about 15 metres out, and the flanker was the one in possession as they piled over to hoist the tally past a half-century 16 minutes into the second half.

As if stung by the leitmotiv being usurped by the piano shifters, the backs racked up five more tries in the last quarter by Cassie, Gillman, Rangi Jericevich and Greer twice. By then it did not matter that GHA had shuffled their back division with Gillman at scrum half, Peter Jericevich at 10 from 9, and Blair Forsyth replacement at 15.

Rarely, if ever, will GHA’s backs have the opportunity for such a feast again this season once business in National League Division 1 starts. It was, though, a delight to see them running and linking at pace.

Andrew Goudie, making his competition debut at stand-off, was the only back not to join in the scoring. That, however, was simply a commentary on how effective he was as first receiver and main provider for 60 minutes.

Forwards, too, had their moments in the loose. Mike Robertson, the new tight head, had a rousing gallop into the opposition 22, and Adam Barnett, Paul Harkins and Grant MacDonald also enjoyed having ball in hand.

Perthshire were most competitive in the set piece. They just about held their own in the lineout, and they worried GHA in the scrum in the first half. Indeed, Jamie Leslie’s scrummaging incurred the referee’s dissatisfaction early on. The new loose head was replaced by Jack White, and whatever the problem had been it seemed to have been resolved when Leslie returned to the field in the second half.

However, the visitors had no answer to GHA’s pace. That was hardly surprising given the huge gulf in the clubs’ final positions in the league last season – GHA eighth in the National League, 23 places higher than Perthshire, champions of the Caledonia Regional League’s first division. Similar chasms were exposed also in other first-round cup-ties on Saturday.

It was an overall successful day at Braidholm. The second team beat Kilmarnock’s first XV, GHA’s newly formed under-20 team (The GHA Lions) also won their League match against West of Scotland second XV, and the Uner 18s came home from Edinburgh with a 26-17 win against Royal High Corstorphine on their first outing in the Scottish Rugby Under-18 League.

GHA: Andrew Gillman; Rangi Jericevich, Niall Cassie, Andy Henderson (captain), Euan Greer; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Jamie Leslie, Donald Malcolm, Mike Robertson, Adam Barnett, Chris McGeough, Paul Harkins, Ross Angus, Grant MacDonald – Replacements: Lewis Anderson, Jack White, Ryan Jenkins, Andrew Boag, Blair Forsyth.

Perthshire: S. Alcorn, K. Doe, Gus Whittle, Ed Salter, Jamie Ridgeway; Andy Whitelaw, Calum Blythe; Rory Kelso, Tommy Whyte, Fin Hay, Adam Pattinson, Sam Brand, Rory McKay, Dave McDonald, Duncan Clow – Replacements: Ewan McFarlane, Dave Hill, Declan O’Brien, Dan Rae.

Referee: John Shaw (WRRS)

Photography: Colin Robinson

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