Howe of Fife 52 GHA 10

A week is a long time in politics, it is said. That can be true in sport as well. Certainly it’s time enough for a team to fall from the heights of scoring eight tries in a match to suffering the same fate in defeat, as happened to GHA in losing to Howe of Fife on Saturday.

One week their running riot against Kelso at Braidholm: seven days later they were over-run in the BT National League Division 1 match on a sunny afternoon at Duffus Park, Cupar.

GHA were reasonably secure in the lineout, benefiting from Robert McKinstray’s return, and the scrummage improved as the game progressed. Yet Howe found it easy enough to score a couple of tries from scrums that were trundling backwards almost into disarray.

The crucial elements in GHA’s defeat were twofold. They were bullied at the breakdown by Howe’s bigger forwards, and their defensive game was so loose that Howe found it too easy to capitalise on the visitors’ mistakes. The home team were tidy even in splitting their scoring – four tries and three conversions in each half.

GHA had the early pressure, though that was rewarded only with a Murray Houston penalty goal. The hosts responded with a double whammy in the space of three minutes for a 12-3 lead in 15 minutes, and they were 16 points ahead when Andy Henderson was sin-binned for an illegal charge into a maul four minutes before the interval.

Howe immediately exploited that numerical advantage with their bonus-point try. But surprisingly the contest was scoreless through the third quarter, and it was GHA who broke the drought, with Erik Cavan’s offload releasing Andrew Gillman to sprint in from about 25 metres out after 63 minutes. Houston converted, cutting the deficit to 10-26.

Far too easily, however, Howe ran in four more tries in the last quarter of an hour.

Howe of Fife: Graham Thomson, Duncan McIntyre, William Wardlaw, Fraser Clark, Chris Mann, Angus Guthrie, Stewart Lathangie, Steven Player, Graeme Steedman, Grant Henderson, Dylan Groat, Terry Turpie, James Lawrie, Michael Fedo, Chris Mason – Replacement: Lewis Wilson, Calum Harris, Andy Steven, Marcus Black

Scorers: T – TBC C – TBC

GHA: Chris Binnie; Rangi Jericevich, Ben Addison, Andrew Henderson (captain), Alan Auld; Andrew Goudie, Murray Houston; Lyall Archer, Erik Cavan, Michael Robertson, Adam Barnett, Robert McKinstry, Paul Harkins, Grant Neilson, Grant MacDonald – Replacements: Seitaro Usuda, Scott Carson, Jon Lyons, James Edgar, Andrew Gillman.

Scorers: T – Gillman C – Houston P – Houston

Referee: Mr J. Shaw (West RS)

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