National Two round-up: tight at the top as Stew-Mel topple GHK

Dumfries Saints return to winning ways in emphatc win over Gordonians and only nine points now seperate the top seven teams

Dumfries Saints returned to winning ways with a big win over Gordonians. Image: Darren Cruickshank
Dumfries Saints returned to winning ways with a big win over Gordonians. Image: Darren Cruickshank

JUST nine points separate the top seven teams in National League Two heading into the festive break after a cracking day of action on Saturday.

Second in the table Stewart’s Melville won 6-10 away at leaders GHK, but the hosts picked up a bonus-point which keeps their noses ahead in the race for the title. The visitors took the lead at Old Anniesland through a penalty by Euan Bowen before Jack Cuthbert levelled things up and then both sides had men yellow-carded just before the break. Cuthbert’s second penalty put GHK 6-3 up before a late penalty try won it for Stew Mel.

“A fantastic result and a great way to end 2019 for us,” said Stew Mel head coach Jonny Else. “This was a whole squad effort, for example the bench played their part with Matt Sanderson coming on in the second-row and then having to finish the game on the wing!”

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“GHK also deserve credit for getting the pitch in such outstanding condition and both teams gave it everything. December has been a tough month for various reasons, so we head into the break ready to rest and recoup ahead of an exciting 2020.”

Meanwhile, after a frustrating four weeks of losses and postponements, Dumfries Saints got their show back on the road in emphatic style with a thumping 54-0 home win over Gordonians which puts them back into third place. Ewan Miller and Jack Steele scored first half tries, both converted by Rory Steele, to make it 14-0 to the hosts at half-time. After the break the floodgates opened and, with the wind at their backs, the home side scored tries through Sam Hiddleston (3), Lee Scott, Lewis Young and JP Thomson scored.

Peebles are in fourth after they defeated Hamilton Bulls 29-20. Kieran Brown, Roddy Guinea and David Collins (2) bagged tries in the bonus point win for the home side at The Gytes with Greg Raeburn kicking nine points.

“I was delighted with our first half performance,” said Peebles head coach Lewis Bertram. “We played some great rugby in that period, but in the second half our levels dropped and it is something we will need to address going forward, we are just not ruthless enough. However, another win to stay in touch with the guys above us is pleasing.”

Newton Stewart are in seventh after a dramatic finish saw them defeat Falkirk 28-24. The home side were 18-24 down going into the latter stages only for Ross Drysdale to score a try and Jack Gaw to kick a conversion and then a penalty to win it and break Falkirk hearts.

“It was a very good game in freezing conditions,” said Martin Wallace, the Newton Stewart head coach. “Falkirk never gave up, but a final flurry got us home and I am proud of the boys.”

Newton Stewart took five points from the game while Falkirk are 10th – and six points ahead of the relegation zone – after this battling effort.

Whitecraigs against Kirkcaldy was postponed.

National League Division Two results –

GHK 6 Stewart’s Melville 10

Peebles 29 Hamilton Bulls 20

Newton Stewart 28 Falkirk 24

Preston Lodge 50 Glasgow Accies 7

Dumfries Saints 54 Gordonians 0

How it stands –

Stewart's Mel1815305202432772271
Dumfries Saints18135058227830410264
Newton Stewart191081333376-437251
Preston Lodge16961410339719246
Hamilton Bulls1881005494806910446
Glasgow Accies196121285524-2395132
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Hamilton Bulls youngster Euan Ferrie grabs his chance

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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