IAIN HAY @ Braidholm
THE Braidholm faithful, returning a fortnight on from the dramatic Glasgow derby, were treated to another nail-chewing finish, as Trevor Carmichael’s side held on to defeat Gavin Kerr’s Jed-Forest by the narrowest of margins.
As was the case in that match against Hawks, there was a dramatic comeback in the final quarter when the result seemed like a foregone conclusion. Only this time, it was GHA who had built up the advantage which they saw being devoured at a rate of knots, causing palpitations among their coaching group.
“I think we went to sleep halfway though the second half, but the defensive set we had at the last couple of minutes there was brilliant from the boys,” said Carmichael. “That will to not lose was immense. I’m proud of the boys and we got a bonus point. I think we just need to shore up the defence a wee bit, we’re leaking some tries, but another win, we’ve got the cup next week, but we move onto our next Premiership game with a bit of confidence.”
After a scrappy first half, the teams hit the sheds with GHA leading 10-7. Jack Anderson had knocked over an early penalty, but for the next 20 minutes both sides swung proverbial punches which couldn’t quite connect.
Jed’s Callum Young was brilliantly tackled into touch by Jordan Craig after a sweeping backs move, and Craig caused consternation at the other end of the pitch when his grubber forced Jed back onto their own line. Dario Ewing blocked Robbie Yourston’s clearance kick, but it ran over the dead-ball line.
Jed eventually got themselves into the lead. A charging run from the base of the scrum by No 8 Dom Buckley set the visitors on their way, and although Finlay Campbell was bundled into touch as he stretched for the line, Anderson’s clearance was returned with interest.
Having been fielded by Lewis Young, he ran it back deep into GHA territory, before Callum Young sent replacement Gary Munro – introduced following an early injury to Monty Mitchell – in at the left corner.
GHA retook the lead through a Chris Binnie score, the result of a great breenge by Adam Kerr into the Jed 22 which took out three tacklers, and a lovely offload from Jack Anderson which kept the ball alive.
Jed had one final good chance in the half to get back in front when Adam Barnett was penalised for playing the ball on the floor, but they were penalised for obstruction at the resultant line-out.
It was one set-piece error of many from the visitors, and GHA’s dominance in that facet of play saw them extend their lead at the start of the second half.
First, they pulverised Jed’s scrum on their own put-in, and inside their own 22. Knowing they had the upper-hand, they went to the corner. The maul, roared on from the sidelines by forwards coach and former Glasgow Warrior James Eddie, was illegally hauled down and referee David Sutherland awarded the penalty try.
Perennial team-of-the-week contender Jackson Baillie thought he’d bagged himself try number six of the season, only to be denied by Callum Young, but GHA were playing with penalty advantage at the time, so they went to the line-out well once again. And once more, they came back with a full bucket, when Michael Fox dotted down.
Jed’s outside back trio of Youngs were making metres with ball in hand though, and once they had gotten Jed some much needed field position in the second period, Adam Kerr, the man who had disrupted so much of their line-out ball saw yellow for offside, Paulo Ferreira bustled his way over from close range, to reduce the deficit to 22-14.
Both sides had been looking to play expansively, but execution wasn’t always ‘on point’, to use the parlance of our times, and Anderson had what looked a simple chance to add another penalty when Callum Young and Rory Marshall were penalised for crossing. Inexplicably, the home stand-off, who played very well otherwise, missed from bang in front of the sticks.
It didn’t do too much harm though, as GHA soon crossed the whitewash in somewhat controversial circumstances. Jed had decided to stop kicking for touch due to GHA’s prolific pilfering, so captain Gregor Young tapped and went when GHA were penalised for not releasing. Jordan Craig did not appear to have retreated the statutory 10 metres when he plucked Young’s pass out of the air to race home. Gregor and Lewis Young both certainly thought something was amiss, but no decision came, and GHA had their fourth try for a bonus point.
Another sensational Lewis Young run, he was like a gazelle all match, led to Munro’s second try of the match, and pulled Jed back into it, and Ferreira again scored from close range as GHA’s game management deserted them.
But, with the clock in the red, and Jed once again camped on their line, a splendid defensive effort secured the turnover penalty.
GHA’s celebrations at the ref’s whistle were not viewed kindly by some of the Jed team, and once the stramash had died down, referee Sutherland called over Jed’s Buckley, who had already been yellow carded for a shoulder charge on Ewing, and flashed a red, to compound Gavin Kerr’s side’s frustrating afternoon.
“I think we could’ve sneaked it there at the end, but maybe over-played it,” said Kerr afterwards. “I thought there was opportunity for a drop-goal, or a penalty earlier on we could’ve gone for. But, we’ve lost another forward. We’re being hit by quite a few injuries which is not making things easier for our set-piece and for setting up a platform to play off.”
GHA: C Binnie; J Craig, G Mollison, J Reilly, J Baillie; J Anderson, A Gillman; T Brogan, H Clark, M Fox, A Barnett, A Kerr, M Marinkovic, D Ewing, M Ryan. Subs: E Cavan, S Fisher, L McCutcheon, G Baird, A Scott.
Jed-Forest: L Young; C Young, R Marshall, M Mitchell, G Young©; R Yourston, N Stingl; G Paxton, F Campbell, P Ferreira, M Weekley, H Meadows, D Grieve, J McGough, D Buckley. Subs: C Lothian, A Keeler, E Lauder, J Ferguson, G Munro.
Referee: David Sutherland
GHA: Tries: Binnie, Penalty Try, Fox, Craig; Cons: Anderson 2; Pen: Anderson
Jed-Forest: Tries: Munro 2, Ferreira 2; Cons: Yourston 4.
Scoring Sequence (GHA first): 3-0; 3-5; 3-7; 8-7; 10-7 (h-t) 17-7, 22-7; 22-12; 22-14; 27-14, 29-14, 29-19; 29-21, 29-6; 29-28.
Yellow Cards –
Red Cards –
Man-of-the-Match: Despite his yellow card, Adam Kerr, was a menace to Jed’s set-piece, carried well on a couple of occasions, and put in a decent shift elsewhere round the park.
Talking Point: As if the injury to Mitchell wasn’t enough, Jed also lost Harry Meadows, a prop playing at lock, during the match, and he left the ground with his arm in a sling. Add in Buckley’s needless red card, and Jed will be struggling to get a forward pack out next week.