National Two: struggling Gordonians give league leaders a run for their money

Peebles keep the pressure on Dumfries Saints at the top of the National Two table with dramatic away win against Hamilton Bulls

GHK snatched Stewart's Melville's unbeaten record away with a 19-44 win at Inverleith to climb to fourth in the National Two table. Image: Gordon Honeyman

DUMFRIES SAINTS kept their unbeaten run intact in Aberdeen where they eased to a less than convincing three try win against a Gordonians side who enjoyed no breaks against the league leaders, although their own error count was a major factor in the their own downfall.

“We were worthy winners, but didn’t deserve a try bonus point, although we’ll take a win on the road,” said Saints head coach Euan Mack.

His opposite number, Ryan Morrice, had mixed emotions about his newly promoted side’s third defeat in three starts, leaving his side pointless at the bottom of the league. “It was just one of those days which we are having too often since coming up, but we made too many mistakes, especially in the first half,” he said. “In fairness, we raised our game in the second half, scoring two good tries, but failed to get even a losing bonus point. We’ll get there, I promise you.”

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After a pointless first half, the Doonhamers were first out of the blocks, scoring two minutes into the second period when hooker Henry Mckinnon plunged over, and with stand off Jack-Steele kicking the conversion, and a strong wind at their backs, it looked like curtains for the Countesswells side.

Gordonians were, however, made of sterner stuff, raging back within two minutes when flanker Adam Simpson cashed in on good play for his captain and centre Danny Usugo to score a fine try, which stand-off Thomas Urquhart was unable to convert and t 7-5 to the Saints it was anyone’s game.

The visitors who took control with an unconverted try from centre Ewan Miller with an unconverted try, but the Aberdonians were not done yet and in 68 minutes, replacement prop Cameron Hughes rumbled over, leaving Urquhart to miss the easiest of kicks, albeit into the strong gusting wind, and chance to tie up the game.

Heartnened by the let off, Saints cashed in five minutes from time when Steel burst clear to make it 19-10 after he converted his own try.

After the game, both presidents agreed it had been a scrappy contest. “We made too may mistakes, but our aim is to ensure we enjoy playing this great game,” said Jim Sugden the Gordonians.

“Not the best game you will ever see, but it’s a win, and we are in a good place,” said Andy Graham of Dumfries.

Man-of-the-match was Saints’s scrum half Alan Birdstall who was a continual menace with his sniping runs from the base of the scrum.

Peebles keep the pressure on

Meanwhile, Peebles also won their third match from three to stay second in the table. Donald Anderson was the hero for the Borderers, kicking a penalty with two minutes to go to see them through to a 31-29 triumph at Hamilton after a cracking match.

The visitors were 28-8 up at one point before imploding. Greg Raeburn was handed two yellow cards in the second half to leave them with 14 men as Hamilton went ahead 29-28 at Laigh Bent with five minutes to go before the late drama.

Raeburn, David Willis, Murray Brown and Anderson all scored tries for the victors with the latter kicking four conversions as well as his winning penalty.

Hamilton picked up two losing bonus points with Gary Adams, Stephen Turnbull (2) and Scott Whitelaw scoring tries and Owen McLeish and Andrew Wilson adding points with the boot.

GHK are fourth after they became the first time to defeat Stewart’s Melville. The Glasgow side won 44-19 at Inverleith in the end, with late first half tries from Hugh Parker and Danny Campbell having increased their lead to 29-7 at half-time. Ben Frame, Kyle Henderson and captain Cammy Hughes bagged tries in the second half for GHK in this away day bonus point triumph.

Kirkcaldy got their first league win of 2019-20 by defeating Whitecraigs 48-13 at home. Owen Bonner led the way with a hat-trick of tries for the Fifers and was named man-of-the-match.

Falkirk are second bottom with two points after a 34-26 reverse at home to Newton Stewart.

Glasgow Accies lost 39-29 at home to Preston Lodge, but can take some consolation from picking up a bonus point through ties from Ross Cowan (2), Jack McCready (2) and Greg McEwan.

National League Division Two results –

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Table as it stands –

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About David Barnes 3180 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.