National Two round-up: All change at summit of the table

GHK's derby victory edges them top ahead of Kirkcaldy on points difference as early-season pacestters Dumfries Saints drop to third

GHK came out on top of their derby clash against Glasgow Accies on Friday night. Image: Bob Johnstone
GHK came out on top of their derby clash against Glasgow Accies on Friday night. Image: Bob Johnstone

THERE are new leaders heading into the second half of the National League Two season after GHK defeated Glasgow Accies on Friday night, then Kirkcaldy saw off Falkirk and Dumfries Saints lost in Prestonpans on Saturday afternoon.

It was GHK’s third victory on the spin and they are now ahead of Kirkcaldy on points difference at the summit. Saints, who do still have a game in hand over most of their rivals, have now lost their last two to sit third. Stewart’s Melville and Peebles, who both won at the weekend, are fourth and fifth and this league gets more exiting by the week.

Derbies are always feisty affairs and at Old Annesland under the lights on Friday night it was certainly no different. GHK took the lead thanks to a penalty try when their attack was stopped in its tracks by a high tackle, then captain Cammy Hughes found space before feeding Nick Hurn for a second try, with Jack Cuthbert converting to make it 14-0 to Peter Wright’s men at the break.

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Accies started the second half well, but could not get points on the board and it was GHK who finished things off with try number three from Hugh Parker. The 21-0 win leaves GHK on 41 points while Accies are in ninth, seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Kirkcaldy went to Horne Park to face Falkirk looking for their seventh league win in a row. And it came with a bonus point when they were victorious 41-25. Fionn Call’s penalty put Falkirk 3-0 up before Craig Letham levelled things for Kirkcaldy.

By the break, Kirkcaldy were 24-18 up, their tries coming from Sean McKervail, Dayle Turner and Owen Bonner, with efforts from  JJ Nelson and Duncan Tompkins keeping the hosts in the contest.

In the end, Kirkcaldy pulled away and got the bonus point thanks to tries from captain Josh Laird and Letham, with the latter kicking seven points in the second 40 minutes. They did lose Connor Wood to a red card though.

“It was a tough game in tough conditions, I thought Falkirk played well in the first half, but in the second half we dominated the game,” Kirkcaldy forwards coach Kris Richards said.

After their home defeat by Peebles, Dumfries were on the road to face Preston Lodge. A poor start cost the Saint at Pennypit and they ended up chasing a 20-0 deficit at the break. Tries from Jack Johnstone and Pete O’Malley, both converted by Jack Steele, gave Dumfries hope with 20 minutes to go. However, PL’s defence stood firm and all the Saints took from this one was a losing bonus point as it finished 20-14.

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Like Dumfries, Stew Mel have played a game less than most teams and they are just three points off top spot after a 38-17 win over Hamilton Bulls at Inverleith.

“A very strong performance in tough conditions,” stated Stew Mel head coach Jonny Else. “Hamilton are a side who play with pace and width and scored a cracking try in the first half. We recovered well from that and then took our chances in the second half. It was a real team performance and our bench made an impact when the guys came on which was pleasing.”

Peebles came alive in the second half against Whitecraigs to win 33-10 at The Gytes. The Borderers led just 16-10 at the break, but tries from Patrick Harrison, Neil Hogarth and Callum Gray saw them home. Eddie Abekhe and Stuart Pollock scored Whitecraigs tries, but they remain bottom.

Gordonians are second bottom, but they nearly grabbed a win at Newton Stewart and did pick up a losing bonus point. The Aberdeen men had a late penalty chance to triumph on the road, but the hosts held on after they had kicked one of their own two minutes before through Jack Gaw. In total, Gaw kicked four penalties while he also converted a try by Jason McKie.

Chris McIlroy scored two tries for the visitors while William Parker kicked seven points.

National League Division Two results –

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Table as it stands –

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About Gary Heatly 318 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.