Premiership: Marr maintain winning ways against indisciplined GHA

Fullarton men close the gap on Selkirk in race to make the play-offs

Blair Jardine looks to offload for Marr versus GHA. Image: Jon Pearce
Blair Jardine looks to offload for Marr versus GHA. Image: Jon Pearce

Marr 36

GHA 15

DOUG ROSS @ Fullarton Park

MARR picked up the bonus point, with a flattering scoreline, as a dogged GHA rued some missed chances and a lack of discipline.

After the match, Marr head coach Craig Redpath praised his side’s ability to pick up five points, but acknowledged that they had not always been at their best. “We got the five points, played some good stuff and played some average stuff,” he said.

“I’m just delighted to get the five points. GHA are always stuffy against us. At times we looked good, but at times we did silly things which put ourselves under pressure. But all in all I’m feeling good.


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“We need to keep working away. Every game from here on in is a cup final for us. We’ve got a big, tough game next weekend against Hawks.”

Marr certainly started the brighter of the two teams, having the majority of the possession and demonstrating some dangerous breaks from their backline. When flanker Fraser Grant bundled over off the back of a messy maul, it was nothing less than the home side deserved for their display in the opening ten minutes.

Despite the greasy conditions under foot, Marr’s backs continued to put on a display in the first quarter, with winger Jack Scott and inside centre Conor Bickerstaff making the travelling support sweat with their darting runs and fleet-footed line breaks. When Grant smashed his way across the GHA whitewash again at the 18-minute mark, it looked like it could be a long day for the visitors – especially with fly-half Colin Sturgeon coolly slotting over both his conversion attempts.

But GHA managed to stop the bleeding with an almost immediate response. An attempted Marr clearance was chased down, and GHA were able to capitalise on the loose ball in the Marr 22. Max MacFarlane was quickly put through to touch down for the visitors to make it 14-5.

Despite a shaky opening quarter, GHA came into their own after their try and managed to peg the deficit back again with a penalty from fly-half Gregor Drummond. But they showed a lack of discipline throughout the first half, especially at the breakdown, and were eventually made to pay for it with a yellow card for second row Kieran Watt with just two minutes left to play of the half.

 

The second half started as a bit of an arm-wrestle, with GHA defending magnificently with 14 men. We had to wait until the 56th minute for the game to burst into life, when Marr substitute second-row Cameron Young cut a determined line and was hit with a perfect flat pass. GHA’s solid defence was caught flat-footed and the big lock flew over for the try, with Sturgeon’s conversion making the score 21-8.

Marr were now in the mood and hunting for more, and after a prolonged period of possession they extended their lead with quarter of an hour to play. Some lovely hands in the GHA 22 set up the opportunity, and Marr’s bullying No 8 Ben Johnston finished off.

A Sturgeon penalty took the score to 29-8 and put Marr all but out of reach with 10 minutes to go, but then GHA made an effort to claw the game back in the 74th minute, when Luke McCutcheon bundled over the line  and Drummond converted, but Marr had the last word in this entertaining outing, with Scott Bickerstaff getting himself a try  a just reward for his efforts on the day.

Although Marr won by a substantial margin, GHA can certainly take heart from a lot of their performance. Discipline and a clinical edge made the difference.

“Marr are a really experienced team and I think they really took their opportunities today,” GHA head coach Calum Forrester said. “It’s quite disappointing for us to come away with nothing today after we put ourselves in the position to maybe get something.

“We need to fine-tune our game plan. I think there was some good signS of that today, but Marr’s experience really prevailed at the end.”

 

Teams –

Marr: C Inglis; J Jacobson, S Bickerstaff, C Bickerstaff (co-captain), J Scott; C Sturgeon (co-captain), G Baird; G Reid, B Jardine, C Miller, D Andrew, E Bulger, A Grant, C Folan, B Johnston. Subs used: C McMillan, A Acton, C Young, G Beckwith, N Calder.

GHA: C King; F Johnston, K Dixon, M MacFarlane, L Bardelli; G Drummond, G Baird; E Cavan, A Falconer, M Fox, K Watt, A Kerr, J Bruce, D Ewing, L McCutcheon. Subs used: O Bowden, A Barnett, J McEntagart, R MacFarlane, C Stephen.

Referee: Fergus Hollins.

 

Scorers –

Marr: Tries: A Grant 2, C Young, B Johnston, S Bickerstaff. Cons: C Sturgeon 4. Pen: C Sturgeon.

GHA: Tries: M MacFarland, L McCutcheon. Con: G Drummond. Pen: G Drummond.

Scoring sequence (Marr first): 7-0; 14-0; 14-5; 14-8 half-time; 21-8; 26-8; 29-8; 29-15; 36-15.

 

Yellow card –

GHA: K Watt.

 

Man-of-the-Match: Marr flanker Fraser Grant was a constant problem for the GHA defence and was duly rewarded with his two first-half tries.

Talking point: Marr made their experience in the pack count, dominating at scrum time and holding on during periods when they were on the back foot.


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