Premiership: Currie Chieftains win leaves GHA staring down a barrel

Braidholm men now tied with Musselburgh as relegation battle goes to the wire

GHA's Archie Falconer attempts a tap tackle on Currie Chieftains full-back Jamie Forbes. Image: Colin Robinson -
GHA's Archie Falconer attempts a tap tackle on Currie Chieftains full-back Jamie Forbes. Image: Colin Robinson -

GHA 22

Currie Chieftains 35

DOUG ROSS @ Braidholm

CURRIE CHIEFTAINS stay hot on the heels of Hawick with this bonus-point win at GHA, which leaves the home side staring down the barrel in their final match of the season away to the league leaders on February.

The visitors wasted no time getting into the swing of things, capitalising on of a clumsy knock-on straight from the kick-off, with tight-head prop Cairn Ramsey smashing his way over the whitewash within 25 seconds. Fly-half Gregor Hunter duly slotted over the conversion to make it 0-7,

GHA pulled the deficit back when Christian Townsend put a penalty over the uprights after a lazy Currie offside, but the 3-7 scoreline flattered GHA for the first 10 minutes, with Currie camped in their half and dominating in the contact area.

This weekend’s other Premiership match reports:

Premiership: Musselburgh beat Jed-Forest to take survival fight to the wire

Premiership: Hawick too strong for Heriot’s Blues

Premiership: Marr’s destiny in their own hands after win over Glasgow Hawks

Premiership: Edinburgh Accies secure play-off spot with win over ill-disciplined Selkirk

The 13th minute witnessed a moment of madness from GHA’s scrum-half Fergus Johnston when he was deemed to have intentionally knocked the ball on, in the red zone while Currie were in the ascendency. A yellow-card for Johnston and a penalty try for the visitors meant an uphill struggle suddenly got a whole lot steeper for the home side.

It didn’t take long for Currie to capitalise on their numerical advantage, when Ramsey bulldozed his way through the GHA defence once again to get his second try of the match. Another simple conversion for Hunter made it 3-21 with just 16 minutes gone.

GHA did respond when winger Luca Bardelli managed to make magic out of nothing, Jinking through a crowded Currie midfield before turning on the burners and touching down under the posts. It was an amazing solo try to give the home crowd a bit of hope. Townsend converted to make it 10-21 after 20 minutes.

After a blockbuster first quarter, the match seemed to slow slightly. Both sets of players guilty of mistakes and ill-discipline.

Currie managed to the final score of the half when inside-centre Adam Hall picked up yet another dropped ball from GHA and sauntered under the posts, securing the bonus point, and Hunter added the conversion to make it 10-28 going into the half.


If the first half started with fireworks then the second half started with a damp sparkler. Both teams struggled to keep the ball in their hands – especially at crucial moments.

It took almost 20 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, when GHA’s Johnston made a sniping run past a flat footed Currie defence, and with Townsend slotting over the conversion, the home team felt they were back in the game.

But those hopes of a comeback were soon dashed when Chieftains second-row Ewan Stewart bundled over the home try line. Hunter kept up his 100 percent record from the spot for the day by dispatching his conversion.

Johnston got the home team their final try with 66 minutes played, superbly set up by the mazy run of winger Bardelli, who sent more than one Currie defender for a hot dog with his lightning feet. A missed conversion meant it was 22-35.

GHA soldiered on in the final stages with the potential losing bonus point still in their sights. Sadly for the home team, it wasn’t meant to be, leaving the Braidholm outfit in precarious position with only one game to go. They are now equal on points with Musselburgh, and just ahead of Heriot’s Blues, who have two games left to play.

“We started well and got ourselves ahead in the game,” said Chieftains head coach Mark Cairns. “But we just never really put it away today. Even with five minutes to go, we’re five metres from our line and if they convert that line-out into points then we’re in big trouble.

“I think that Hawick game before Christmas  was a big wake up call for the lads at what the level is to be competing for the title and its good to see they’ve taken it well and that’s what we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks.”

Calum Forrester, GHA head coach, said: “We’ve given ourselves far too much to do in the first half. We’ve given away 21 points early on and when you play a team of Currie’s class you just can’t do that and expect to win.

“We need to keep our heads up, keep tight as a group. It’s now clear what needs to be done going into the next game.”


Teams –

GHA: C King; K Dixon, J Ventisei, A Stirrat, L Bardelli; C Townsend, F Johnston; T Brogan, A Falconer, M Fox, A Barnett; A Kerr, M Ryan, D Ewing, L McCutheon. Subs used: L Barron, S Callaghan, G Baird.

Currie Chieftains: J Forbes; K McGovern, D Innes, A Hall, J McCaig; G Hunter, G Christie; C Anderson, R Stewart, C Ramsey, E Stewart, W Inglis, A McCallum, K Steele, R Davies. Subs used: J Drummond, J Ramsey, J O’Brien, P Boyer, C Brett.

Referee: Mr D Young


Scorers –

GHA: Tries: Bardelli, Johnston 2; Cons: Townsend 2; Pens: Townsend.

Currie Chieftans: Tries: Ramsey 2, Hall, Stewart; Cons Hunter 4.

Scoring sequence (GHA first): 0-5; 0-7; 3-7; 3-12; 3-14; 3-19; 3-21; 8-21; 10-21; 10-28 (h-t) 15-28; 17-28; 17-33; 17-35; 22-35.


Yellow cards – 

GHA: F Johnston


Man-of-the-Match: Chieftains prop Cairn Ramsey was a standout – not only for his two early tries but his overall play with ball in hand was a difference maker, on top of his excellent scrumming.

Talking point: The penalty try and yellow card completely turned the game. It was just too much of an uphill battle for GHA after that.

Premiership: Musselburgh beat Jed-Forest to take survival fight to the wire