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Home > News > GHK lose in SW
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08
APR

Match Report Newton Stewart RFC -v- GHK

Saturday 6th April 2013

The GHK Expeditionary Force convened late morning at Old Anniesland and set off on the long and winding road through south west Scotland destined for Newton Stewart. The highlight of the outward bound journey was a remarkably efficient organisation of the Grand National sweep by Fraser McLeod.

On arrival those not involved in preparation for the match were well fed and watered by our welcoming hosts. In fact the President and his confidantes were invited to join the Newton Stewart ladies lunch and that was an offer never likely to be refused. The delightful ladies of the kitchen squad made sure that the GHK hangers on were also catered for and some very fine local produce set us up for the game ahead. Sadly, from a GHK point of view, our usual standard of rugby was not on the menu.

On a firm dry pitch the home side kicked off and within thirty eight seconds GHK found themselves convening under their own posts as Newton Stewart had reclaimed possession from their own kick off and run through virtually unopposed for a very soft score. The conversion was added and before the President had finished his biscuits and cheese it was 7-0 to the hosts.

Perhaps it was the journey that was not out of the players systems, but whatever it was it seemed clear that GHK were having difficulty in establishing any rhythm or pattern to their play. It was not until well in to the first quarter of the game that the visitors got themselves in to a threatening position in Newton Stewart territory. The home defence drifted offside and from the penalty Scott Robertson reduced the lead to four points. 7-3 to Newton Stewart after seventeen minutes.

Danny Hoffman was having some footwear issues but thankfully help was at hand, or at foot, in the shape of John Hodgkinsons size tens. Whilst the replacement footwear may not have been like for like, Hodge being strictly a black boots chap whilst Captain H favoured kingfisher blue, they did the trick. Unfortunately this alteration did not change the fortunes of GHK, indeed if anything Newton Stewart continued to carry more of scoring threat with their direct driving game. It was no great surprise when they restored the seven point margin when GHK were penalised for an offside infringement as the hosts pressured the visitors line. In the closing stages of the first half GHK did put together some more positive phases of play but were unable to add to their meagre points total, so at half time the score was Newton Stewart 10, GHK 3.

Injures to Craig McPhee and Davie McKeown saw them having to take their leave at half time to be replaced by Colin Neilson and Ali Patrick. GHK started the second half much more positively than the first, indeed it looked as though the momentum that had been established towards the end of the first period had been maintained. For the first time in the game GHK had a bit of control and were dictating play in a manner that they had failed to do thus far.

Newton Stewart had been pinned back in their own twenty two for several minutes, successfully repelling a series of GHK attacks. A scrum five to GHK gave another great attacking opportunity. A couple of assaults on the home line were resisted, but eventually Mike Aird saw a half gap and slipped though for a fine score. The conversion in to the wind was pushed wide but GHK had closed the gap to 10-8 with fifteen minutes of the second period played.

It would probably be fair to say that, at this stage, GHK looked the more likely side to go on and win the game. However, with the wind behind them, Newton Stewart dug deep and managed to play the game in GHK territory. Another penalty was conceded by the visitors and three points were added to the home sides tally. It could have been worse for GHK but the Newton Stewart kicker missed a couple of opportunities to extend further the home lead. It remained 13-8 going in to the last ten minutes.

Whilst it was far from a classic, the tight score line did mean that the result was far from settled and when GHK managed to string together a few passes, taking play in to the home twenty two, the award of a penalty gave Scott Robertson the chance to close the gap to only two points. He duly dispatched the ball between the posts to cut the Newton Stewart lead to 13-11.

The closing stages saw GHK get themselves in to some decent field positions without creating any particularly clear scoring opportunities. Newton Stewart were defending like a side whose season was riding on the outcome of this match. Their spirit was admirable. They managed to turn defence in to attack and one final push looked to have GHK pinned deep it their own twenty two as the clock counted down. With the last play of the match, a series of drives from a scrum close to the GHK line saw Newton Stewart get a clinching score with a try under the posts. The conversion was the final act giving a result of 20 11 to the home side.

It was a day when GHK started sloppily and never really got in to the game in the way that they have done for most of the season. We all know we can and should do better. Congratulations to Newton Stewart they played the better rugby and deserved the win. In addition, their hospitality and warm welcome in the clubhouse made the visit an enjoyable one. Thanks from all at GHK.

We normally pick a player of the day/man of the match. There was no outstanding candidate from GHK, but I think wed all agree that our bus driver played a blinder so he gets the gold star.

Glasgow Accies await next week. There is still some rugby to be played.

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