As we eagerly await the return of domestic club rugby, lets take a trip down memory lane and try to fill that void of Saturday afternoon GHA Rugby.

On this day 11 years ago GHA secured the maiden win of their 2009/2010 Premiership Two campaign against Stirling County. A match that saw the debut appearance of future club centurion Jamie Auld.




2009/2010: Scottish Premiership Two



C. Binnie15R. McGowan
R. O’Keefe14G. Bryce
(c) N. Cassie13D. Gilmour
R. McClymont12B. Archibald
G. Jones11R. Aitken
J. Noonan10S. Edwards
A. Gillman9G. McRorie
G. Warnock1M. McDonald
G. King2A. Moffat (c)
A. Kelly3C. Black
I. Smith4B. McFarlane
R. Jenkins5D. McMillan
T. Peyton6S. Robertson
J. Pinder7R. Boswell
D. Kellock8C. Eadie
I. Nelson16G. Mountford
D. McKay17C. Faill
J. Auld18K. Bryce
R. Watson19B. Addison
Noonan (2)PenArchibald
Mr R. McHenry (Dumfries RFC)


GHA secured their first win of the season with a sterling effort against high-flying Stirling County at Braidholm.

In front of a sizeable crowd and in clear sunshine, but with a nasty cross wind, Stirling County kicked off from the pavilion end . From the ensuing catch and ruck, the attacking Stirling forwards were adjudged to have drifted offside and James Noonan cleared upfield. A ruck situation in the Stirling half led to a knock-on and from the scrum, Stirling were able to move the ball towards the home 22 but a powerful tackle by Niall Cassie, the home captain, stopped the attack and a kick to touch led to a line out on the home 22 metres line.

Ian Smith was performing admirably in the home lines-out and an excellent take allowed James Noonan to kick downfield, but an awkward bounce eluded the onrushing GHA forwards. Stirling immediately went on the counter attack and a penalty was awarded for a dangerous tackle on the half-way line. Niall Cassie was causing problems for the Stirling defence and an excellent run took play over the half-way line. GHA continued to press forward and following a ruck on the Stirling 10 metre line, GHA were awarded a penalty but Noonan’s kick drifted wide of the upright in the strong wind. From the drop-out, Stirling retained possession and took play to the home goal-line, but excellent cover tackling kept the score-line intact, and a knock-on gave GHA the opportunity to clear the danger, as a penalty was awarded for Stirling being off-side at the scrum.

Noonan, Cassie and McClymont continued to press forward and from a clearance kick by Cassie, Noonan was able to regain the initiative and kicked deep into the Stirling half. Stirling won possession at the lineout and a good handling move between Edwards and Archibald, allowed the latter to run in for a well deserved try some 15 metres in from the far touchline. The conversion was missed and the score remained at 0-5. This score seemed to spur the home side on to greater effort and from a scrum 10 metres from the Stirling line, GHA were awarded a penalty and Noonan made no mistake with the kick at goal, to cut the deficit to 2 points.

Stirling mounted a series of attacking moves until a timely interception by Cassie, almost allowed the centre to score in the corner at the stand side, but he was tackled short. However, following a line-out and scrum, the home forwards mounted a series of rucks, until Ian Smith with Glen King in tow was forced over for a well deserved try. Noonan was unsuccessful with the conversion, to leave the score at 8-5. From the kick off, Smith brought off an excellent tackle and the referee blew for the half-time interval.

Half-Time Score: GHA 8 – 5 Stirling County

During the interval which was extended to 10 minutes, with the agreement of the visitors, the GHA Primary 5 players entertained the crowd with a display of mini rugby.

As the second half got under way, the sun, which had been troublesome to the visitors in the first half, disappeared, but the cross field wind hadn’t lessened. Noonan kicked off and from a subsequent cross field kick, Ruairi O’Keefe almost gathered possession for what would have been a clear run-in for a try. From a penalty for a scrum infringement, Noonan kicked deep into the corner and from a series of rucks, Dominic Kellock appeared to touch down, but the referee adjudged he had been held up. Stirling defended their goal line well and eventually were able to kick clear to take play up to their 22 metre line.

From a poor throw in at a line out, the home side were awarded a scrum and Stirling were penalised for off-side. Noonan took the resultant kick from 30 metres out and appeared to have missed but the ball just made it over the cross-bar, to bring the score to 11 – 5.

Both sides continued to press, as the play went from end to end and eventually, Stirling were awarded a penalty some 30 metres out, but Archibald kicked wide of the posts. Andrew Gillman was proving to be as evasive as ever and he had some clever breaks from the base of the scrums and rucks. Jamie Pinder was also having an excellent part in the home attack and defence, but with just 15 minutes left, he had to leave the field injured. Soon after Ian Smith was yellow-carded and it looked as if the home side were to be denied a first league victory of the season. However, the 14 remaining on the field, seemed to gather new strengths and continued to contest at every opportunity. Most of the play was now concentrated in the home half of the field, as the crowd tried to influence the referee’s decision on Smith’s return to the game. However, with only 5 minutes remaining, Smith returned to the fray in time to see Archibald complete the scoring with a well taken penalty.

Final Score: GHA 11 – 8 Stirling County 

Source: Bill McMurtrie and The Daily Record, Wendesday 7th October 2009

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