AFTER another weekend of twists and turns in this fascinating National League Division Two season, GHK are back on top after they toughed out a win at Newton Stewart on Saturday at the same time Dumfries Saints were losing at home to Hamilton Bulls.
Meanwhile, Peebles also managed to edge out Stewart’s Melville after a classic encounter at The Gytes to leave those sides third and fourth respectively.
Bladnoch Park has been a tricky place for all teams to go this season and it proved to be just the same for GHK at the weekend. Newton Stewart took the lead on the half hour mark when Fraser Morton scored a try converted by Jack Gaw, before a Jack Cuthbert penalty on the stroke of half-time gave the visitors three points and a route into the game.
In the second half, the visitors scored 13 points via two more Cuthbert penalties and a converted try by Kyle Henderson, and they defended resolutely. The victory leaves Newton Stewart seventh in the table.
“It was probably one of my best wins in a GHK shirt, defensively we really fronted up and we took our opportunities well which was really pleasing,” said GHK skipper Cammy Hughes. “The boys put in a huge shift and I couldn’t be prouder. This sets us up nicely for the double header against Hamilton [in the National League Cup quarter-final on January 25th and in the league on January 31st].”
Dumfries were leaders before the weekend but are now second, one point off the pace, after a 29-17 home reverse to Hamilton. The Bulls were 10-0 up early on thanks to a Steve Turnbull try and five points from the boot of Owen McLeish.
Bobby Douglas then bagged an unconverted try for the hosts, but a McLeish penalty and a try James Howatson had the visitors 18-5 ahead. An Ian Carlisle got Dumfries back into it, but a third McLeish penalty made it 21-10 to Hamilton at the break.
JP Thomson’s try, converted by Rory Steele, pulled Dumfries to within four points, but discipline continued to be an issue. Sam Hiddleston was yellow-carded and although the Bulls could not score a try when he was off they did go 24-17 up thanks to a McLeish penalty. The Bulls final try came from Ross Inglis.
Meanwhile, Peebles are two points off the top spot after a late converted try saw them get the better of Stew-Mel at The Gytes. With six minutes to go Stew Mel had gone 29-25 up through Darren Miller’s try, but Peebles late salvo won it and they also held the Edinburgh side up over the try line in the dying seconds.
Kieran Brown, Scott Stoddart (2) and Murray Brown were the Peebles try scorers as they took five points from the game, while Doug Randall (2), Adam Greig and Sean Murchie were the other try-scorers for Stew Mel scorers as they took losing bonus points back to Inverleith.
Sixth placed Kirkcaldy won 40-18 at 11th placed Gordonians. Steve Milne, Marcus Saltand and Danny Jennings scored tries, all converted by Craig Letham, to put the Fifers 21-13 up at half-time in Aberdeen. After the break, Owen Bonner, Greg Wallace and skipper Josh Laird secured the comfortable, bonus-point for Kirkcaldy, with Letham chipping in with two conversions.
Gordonians points in defeat came thanks to tries from skipper Danny Osugo (2) and Simon Orr, with Graeme Crawford kicking a penalty. ”We are in this position due to our inability to take the try scoring opportunities that come our way,” lamented Osugo afterwards. “We left four tries out there, which is just not acceptable, but we are not down yet. They also took advantage of some poor defending by us. We have a break of two weeks before our next game away to Peebles, time enough to get ourselves sorted out.”
Glasgow Accies are now six points clear of the drop zone after they dogged out an 18-10 victory over bottom side Whitecraigs at West Lodge. Calum Duke was the Accies hero with two tries while Gregor MacEwan kicked a penalty and replacement Fin Neilson scored a conversion and a penalty. Stuart Pollock and Eddie Abekhe scored the tries for Whitecraigs, with head coach Ian Hamilton reporting that he saw big improvements in the team’s performance.
National League Division Two results –
Peebles 32 Stewart’s Melville 29
Gordonians 18 Kirkcaldy 40
Newton Stewart 7 GHK 16
Preston Lodge 32 Falkirk 24
Dumfries Saints 17 Hamilton Bulls 29
Whitecraigs 10 Glasgow Accies 18
How it stands –