Match Report v GHA RFC : Saturday 13 February 2016
Stewart’s Melville travelled to GHA on the weekend. The 1s and 2s were excited about a bus trip and the visit to a great place to play. I think a few boys were more excited by the extended time in the opposition’s clubhouse where a few beers would be sunk while hopefully watching a Scotland team get the W over Wales.
The game started with a kick off. Early on both teams were finding their feet and getting used to the conditions just as the GHA grounds man had prior to the game with a bit of surface water. A lot of noise was coming from the sideline by an excited supporting crowd and an enthusiastic Stewart’s Melville bench. After 13 mins Iron Mike Hanning wasted no time in getting the scoreboard ticking over with an opportunity to kick a penalty. The result saw mud flying and a low flat nudge that skimmed the cross bar putting Stewart’s Melville up 3-0.
22 minutes into the first half after a lot of errors and poor handling (mostly due to the conditions) GHA found themselves close to the line through some spirited attack and quality kicking for field position. A lack of leg drive from Stewart’s Melville compounding like a high interest credit card, conceded a 5 pointer to GHA. The GHA kicker lacked no confidence in his boot and the conversion was good. GHA up 7-3.
Meanwhile Ulster was discussing his value to the team and how he roasts chickens at Sainburys on the 2s bench. Ulster’s position at the back of the bus however did not impress the senior members of the team and was noted for the next court session. Back to the game and near the end of the first half both teams worked hard but a lack of accuracy at times let each team off the hook. There was not much to report in the first half, apart from a dominant scrum from Stew Mel and the ref blowing everything it was fair to say there will be minimal opportunities for both teams. To better sum up the first half the game resembled more the Battle of Ba up in Orkney than a National 1 Scottish league game. As the half time whistle went GHA took a narrow lead into the half at 7 points to 3.
The second half started with a whistle. 3 minutes passed and GHA worked into a good position to draw a penalty from the ref. The goal kicking from the GHA kicker was good even in the heavy conditions. Taking the score 10 -3 to GHA. As the 48 minute mark passed the game threatened to open up. There was some excellent direct running from Gus who was making the most of his starting position at 12. Failure from the other backs in connecting ended the movement with another error. Both teams traded blows up front like Rocky v Apollo Creed and Angus Wallace kept the scrum going forward for Stewart’s Melville as he replaced and injured instagram celebrity Mike Macdonald. Ali Greig who has been described as a doorman at Harrods and revolver door on D changed that view by defending strongly in the midfield and showing great promise for the future.
64 mins. Andrew Manson had played like dog on heat, grappling anything and everything in his path but as the GHA forwards legs slowed the coaching panel interjected Gregor Porteous to spark something. The move immediately paid dividends as a quick pick at the back of a dominant scrum from inspirational number 8 Adam Howie freed Greegs up for a snip down the short side. The diminutive halfback burrowed over for the try. The conversion from Hanning unsuccessful as the deficit narrowed to 2 points. GHA up by 10 points to 8.
Blockbusting centre FBT got the crowd roaring and pumped up the boys on the field with his dynamic sideline warm up but it was difficult for the coaches to take off the midfield pairing in Rennie and Greig as it was working well. If only the crowd had have seen him earlier in the week at training with his Spiderman skins on. Stewart’s Melville continued to apply pressure in the GHA half but GHA showed they were well drilled. With 10 minutes to go Stew Mel continued to throw the kitchen sink at GHA but again the defence was resilient. As the snow started to fall there was an unfortunate injury to veteran Matt Stevens. What he later commented on Facebook “Bye Bye MCL again, maybe? Screamed like a jessy, not a proud moment”. Hopefully it is not too serious as the players medium age will severely decrease with the absence of Matt, Rhys and Willie.
6 minutes to go Stewart’s Melville drew a penalty from close range. Iron Mikes eyes lit up like a deer in headlights with the opportunity to put Stewart’s Melville ahead. He had obviously been reading the blog from www.professionalrugby.club as his pressure kick never looked like missing. As he ran back he jeered the crowd up by yelling “can you smell what Stew Mel is cooking”.
GHAs never say die attitude was impressive and a credit to them. It left for some tense moments towards the end of the game but Stewarts Melville eventually came away winners
Final Score GHA 10-11 Stewart’s Melville