2003/2004: Scottish Premiership One



G. Law15I. Kennedy
C. Murray14R. Watson
G. Douglas13R. West
C. Neish12C. Pothan
C. Farmer11B. Edgar
A. Green10J. Noonan
K. Reid9S. O’Donnell
A. Gillie1C. Hastie
M. Landels2G. Inglis
D. O’Connell3I. McKinnon
G. Petrie4I. Smith
I. Elliot5J. Beardshaw
F. Pringle6P. Dearlove
J. Parker7J. Fitzpatrick
R. Neilson8A. Plastow
J. Rickard16R. Nolan
S. Hill17A. Miller
D. Irving18
TryEdgar, Fitzpatrick, Kennedy
ConNoonan (3)
Law (3)PenNoonan
Mr I. Heard (Gala YM)

It was mission accomplished for GHA on Saturday, as survival in Division 1 was secured with a battling performance against all the odds. The result consigned Stirling County to Division 2. But while the players celebrated another season in the top flight, coach David Wilson was already casting his eyes ahead.

Having been forced to endure a tense three-week wait to play this match, Wilson said perhaps the whole league structure needed to be looked at. “With 12 teams in the league, you are always going to get this fixture congestion, but we had no other option but to play Hawick on Saturday,” he said. But Wilson believed that midweek fixtures were not the answer to the congestion problem. In amateur sport, it is very difficult to be asking guys to play on a Wednesday night and then play again on a Saturday,” he said. However, Wilson added: “To have lost 11 games and stuck at it shows a lot of credit and character. It has been a steep learning curve. “Hopefully we can build upon it next year and maybe compete a bit further up the table instead of having to fight our way through at the end of the season.”

Wilson was indebted to Glasgow coach Hugh Campbell for releasing pro players Joe Beardshaw and Paul Dearlove. And they also had a little helping hand from Hawick, who had flanker Fergus Pringle sent off on half time for kicking out at an opponent. That was not to detract from a gutsy display by GHA in a scrappy, tension filled encounter, which they won by three tries to nil, no mean achievement in Hawick’s own back yard.

GHA took time to settle and fell behind to two Garry Law penalties. But in first half injury time with Hawick camped in their line, the visitors hacked the ball clear and Barry Edgar’s try, converted by James Noonan, gave them a 7-6 advantage at the interval. Law kicked a second half penalty for Hawick, but GHA ensured survival with two tries in the final three minutes, scored by John Fitzpatrick and Ian Kennedy. Noonan, who had earlier kicked a penalty, converted both touchdowns for the Glasgow side.

Source: The Scotsman, Monday 26th April 2004

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