GHA U18’s season keeps getting better as they added the Whitecraigs U18 sevens trophy to the silverware they have already won this season. A comfortable 28 – 5 win over West of Scotland in the final, which included tries for Nigel Kelly, Zander Gregor, Scott Derrick and Euan McKirdy and four conversions for Captain Andrew Goudie, was a satisfying finish to a hard fought day.

The boys started the tournament with a 35 – 12 demolition of pre-tournament favourites Ayr. A hatrick from St Aloysious 1st XV captain Nigel Kelly and tries for Matt McShane and Scott Derrick were all converted by Andrew Goudie to give the Southsiders a well-deserved victory over the Scottish U18 champions.

In the next pool game Stirling County provided a stern test of GHA’s nerves and a late try from Derrick finally sealed a 24 – 21 win. The other tries came from Gregor, Goudie and a spectacular solo effort from Kelly, Goudie converted two of the tries.

The confidence gained from beating two of Scotland top U18 teams spurred GHA on and they easily put Cumnock/Kilmarnock away, 35 – 12, with tries from Gregor, McShane 2 and 2 from Euan McKirdy, Goudie kicked all 5 conversions. This was followed by a clinical performance against the hosts, Whitecraigs. Two superb solo tries from hooker Derrick and further tries from Morton Reid, Walker Graham and Kelly put the game beyond Whitecraigs. Goudie’s 3 conversions gave a final score of 31 – 5 to GHA.

The final was all over by half time with GHA leading 21 – 0 with tries from Kelly, Gregor and Derrick, all converted by Goudie. West of Scotland scored early in the second half to give them a glimmer of hope but GHA were soon back in control with a forth try by McKirdy and Goudie’s conversion.

GHA captain, Andrew Goudie, said afterwards ‘We needed to gel as a team quickly at the start of the tournament but once we found our best combination we were always going to be pretty hard to beat.’GHA Academy Manager, Paul Tyler, said ‘This is a really exciting squad of players and there are still 3 or 4 players who were missing to come back into the squad. This was the perfect start to our 7’s season and we’re now building towards the Emirates 7’s at Scotstoun and our own Braidholm U18 7’s tournament.’

GHA’s second squad finished the Whitecraigs tournament in 6th place after good wins against Hamilton and West of Scotland. Captain, Tom Brown, led by example scoring 4 tries in the 5 games and kicking 7 conversions. Dario Ewing, GHA’s U16 captain and GHA Academy player, made a number of valuable contributions on his introduction to U18 rugby including 2 superb solo tries against Whitecraigs and Ayr.

Photo Captions:

GHA U18 7’s Team: from L ‡ R, David McLaughlin, Morton Reid, Walker Graham, Andrew Goudie (capt), Euan McKirdy, Zander Gregor, Matthew McShane, Scott Derrick, Robbie Black, Nigel Kelly – abs Cameron McIlwham

Photo by Adam Bentley

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