Cartha QP 17
GHA came out on top in a typically keenly contested South Glasgow derby on Friday night to retain the Billy Barnes Cup – played in memory of the much missed Cartha player/coach and GHA coach – for the third successive year since the trophy’s introduction in 2017.
“GHA and Cartha introduced the The Billy Barnes Cup in order to formalise what has always been a big derby match for South Glasgow rugby,” explained Rangi Jericevich, GHA’s Director of Rugby. “Due to differing league positions, the two clubs played irregularly therefore the Cup was introduced to also ensure that we play each other at least once per season. The occasion itself was a fantastic advert for club rugby.”
Among the 600 strong crowd at Braidholm for the match was SRU President Dee Bradbury and SRU Council/Board member Willie Gardner, to accompany West Regional Leagues representative Dougie Belmore in presenting a commemorative quiche to Bill McMurtrie, the long-serving rugby correspondent for The Herald, in recognition of his outstanding service to GHA and Scottish rugby in general. Ed Crozier was also there in his capacity as former SRU President and current Cartha QP President.
Despite fielding a number of debutants, GHA took an early lead with a Murray Houston penalty, following a powerful break from the lively Scott Plumridge.
While both teams played with plenty of ambition, a combination of early season rustiness and wholehearted defence meant that they struggled to execute the killer pass.
With GHA’s Scott Derrick in the sin-bin, Cartha struck when Graeme Docherty hit a great angle to give his team the lead, and Wayne Burrows added the conversion forged measure. The visitors looked to press home their advantage, and it took an excellent tackle from Jackson Baillie to negate another dangerous break from Ryan Flett.
GHA forward pressure put them back on the front foot and Cameron King eventually burst between the posts to score, and the hosts pressed home their advantage when Charlie Lonergan latched onto a chip through the Cartha defence for a converted try which made it 17-7 at the break.
A Lonergan break, supported by debutant Adam Scott, brought a high-tackle penalty, which Scott fired home to extend GHA’s lead at the start of the season half, although that was soon cancelled out by Burrows.
GHA’s forwards power – with Scott Carson and Adam Barnett leading the way – eventually led to a Sean Fisher try just before the hour mark, and left Cartha with too much ground to make up – although the National One side refused to capitulate, and with a couple of GHA players on the naughty step, they struck back with a try in the corner from Michael Robertson, converted by Burrows. Gillman finished the scoring with a penalty for GHA.
GHA: A Scott; J Baillie, C Lonergan, C King, S Derrick; A Gillman, M Houston; M Fox, L Barron, S Fisher, A Kerr, J McCarthy, S Plumridge, M Ryan, M Mariknovic. Subs: K Chernick, S Carson, J Barnett, J Hamilton-Porter, A Lamb, E Greer, J Craig.
Cartha: G Docherty; A Lopez, A Boyle, R Flett, S Harrison; W Burrows, D Knox; M Godwin, F Paul, J Fhyfer, M Nelleny, P Barton, D Dodd, R Howie, C Wicks. Subs: L Alessandri, M Adams, M Robertson, E Paterson, L Stout, T Davidson.
GHA: Tries: King, Lonergan, Fisher; Con: Scott 3; Pen: Houston, Scott 2.
Cartha: Tries: Docherty, Robertson; Con: Burrows 2; Pen: Burrows.