National Two round-up: Stewart’s Melville climb to second behind GHK

Inverleith men leapfrog Dumfries Saints after battling to a gritty bonus-point victory on the road against fellow promotion-chasers Kirkcaldy

Stewart's Melville went second after battling a bonus point win at Kirkcaldy. Image: Michael Booth
Stewart's Melville went second after battling a bonus point win at Kirkcaldy. Image: Michael Booth

GHK stayed top of National League Two with a bonus-point away win at Falkirk on Saturday while Stewart’s Melville jumped into second with an impressive win at Kirkcaldy.

At Horne Park, GHK got off to a good start when Hugh Parker scored a converted try early on. Two penalties from Fionn Call got Falkirk back into the game at 7-6, before tries from Ben Frame, skipper Cammy Hughes and Neil Callender got the bonus point in the bag for Peter Wright’s men before the break.

Blair Hastie scored the only points of the second half with a try and after the 31-6 triumph GHK captain Hughes said: “Given the tough conditions, getting a bonus point win was really impressive from the boys. We controlled the first half nicely and although Falkirk injuries made scrums in the second half uncontested, we showed that we can put in the hard yards.”

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Dumfries saw their match away to Whitecraigs postponed and Stewart’s Melville were the team to take advantage by leapfrogging the Saints into second place. The Edinburgh side are now just one point behind GHK after they battled hard to defeat fellow top two chasers Kirkcaldy 26-8 at Beveridge Park.

James Ferguson’s try, converted by Euan Bowen, made it 7-0 to Stew Mel in Fife before they lost two men to the sin-bin. That allowed Conor Littlejohn to score an unconverted try for the home side before Joe Bailey responded to make it 14-5 to the Edinburgh side.

Kirkcaldy responded with a penalty, before a seven point penalty try made it 21-8 to Stew-Mel at half-time with two players from the home side in the sin bin.

In the second 40 minutes, an unconverted try from Sean Murchie sealed the win for Stew Mel and gave them an important bonus point.

“It was a very good win in extremely difficult circumstances,” said Stew Mel head coach Jonny Else. “Fair play to Kirkcaldy for getting the pitch playable and we are delighted with the five points. Our pack rose to the challenge and our backline played with intelligence. Both teams deserve credit for continuing to play rugby throughout the afternoon despite the conditions.”

Peebles are fifth after they backed up their wins over Dumfries and Whitecraigs with another victory at Glasgow Accies. Kieran Brown, Ryan Stewart, Callum Anderson and Scott Stoddart scored tries for them to earn a four try bonus with Greg Raeburn kicking two conversions.

“To get five points away from home was really pleasing,” said Peebles head coach Lewis Bertram. “Our first half showing was excellent and we tried to get the ball wide in shocking conditions. To score four tries before the break was pleasing, but we let Accies back into things before holding on for the win.”

Kenny Beattie led the way for Accies, who are ninth in the table, with two tries as they picked up a losing bonus point.

Gordonians are still second bottom after a 17-10 loss to Preston Lodge, but they also picked up a losing bonus point at Countesswells. Corey Buchan scored a try and Matt Hillier kicked a penalty and a conversion for the hosts.

Newton Stewart are seventh and jump above Hamilton Bulls after they won 27-17 on the road at Laigh Bent. Mark McCornick and Alan Ferrie bagged two tries apiece for the winning team, with Jack Gaw kicking the other seven points.

National League Division Two results –

Kirkcaldy 8 Stewart’s Melville 26

Hamilton Bulls 17 Newton Stewart 27

Whitecraigs v Dumfries Saints OFF

Gordonians 10 Preston Lodge 24

Glasgow Accies 17 Peebles 24

Falkirk 6 GHK 31

How it stands –

Stewart's Mel1815305202432772271
Dumfries Saints18135058227830410264
Newton Stewart191081333376-437251
Preston Lodge16961410339719246
Hamilton Bulls1881005494806910446
Glasgow Accies196121285524-2395132
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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 175 Articles
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia