Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians – GHA RFC 0 pts v Currie Chieftains 36 pts (t 6, c 3)
The weather in the East was dreich, but surprisingly the forecast was much better for Glasgow, and when the small faithful band of Chieftains supporters arrived at GHA, it certainly was dry and fair; unfortunately, this did not last. With nearly an hour before the 12.30pm kick-off, the modern, spacious, well-appointed clubhouse, which is adjacent to the main pitch, was buzzing with people tucking into an excellent, value for money ‘brunch,’ and the friendly atmosphere gave a feeling of a well-run sports club. The National 1 club are riding high in their League, and although it is a few years since Currie last visited Braidholm, the previous visits had all been close contests; this encounter had the prospect of being another difficult outing for the Malleny team.
As kick-off time arrived, so did the drizzly rain, making conditions greasy and somewhat treacherous, not what the visitors wanted for their style of fast open play, especially against a hefty pack with an ‘educated’ front-row, and very capable of disruption, which they often caused. From the outset Currie moved the ball at every opportunity, but the GHA tackling was up to the task and kept their goal line intact, as the visitors edged ever closer. Matias Argiro and Scott McGinley made several charges, but following a series of penalty lineouts, and phases of play which stretched the gallant GHA defence, Marc Kelly finally carved his way through for the opening try that Jamie Forbes converted.
A few minutes later, Jamie Forbes’ neat little grubber kick caught out the quickly advancing defensive line; the precision kick bounced kindly into the hands of Matthew Hooks who went over in the corner. The try was not converted, but it was noticeable that the hard-working GHA defence found it difficult to cope with the speed and accuracy that the visitors were exerting. On the 15-minute mark, try number 3 had been added to the Currie score; a powerful drive by Michael Vernel, Rhys Davies and Marc Kelly, from another well-organised lineout. The Marc Kelly try was converted by Jamie Forbes.
It was only now that GHA managed to venture into the visitors’ 22, as their pack carried forward the momentum created by some slick back play, especially the impressive running of their stand-off and nimble full-back from deep positions. Unfortunately for the hosts, the move soon faltered in the wet slippery conditions, and Currie resumed their assaults at the other end quite quickly. A further setback did not help the GHA cause, when the referee warned them about the rising penalty count and sent an over-enthusiastic forward to the sinbin.
The Chieftains took advantage with Adam Hall making a fine jinking run which had the opposition running in all directions; the ball was quickly recycled, and AP McWilliam sent Roan Frostwick through a gap on his 15-metre trip to the goal line; Jamie Forbes converted. With halftime only minutes away, there was still time for more thrilling action from both teams. Some scintillating handling by the visitors gave Steven Hamilton space to tear down the left wing for an unconverted corner flag try; and when GHA had a chance of points, as Currie infringed under their posts, they courageously went for the penalty lineout; to their frustration, the greasy ball slipped out of their grasp, and that was that.
Halftime score – GHA 0 pts, Currie Chieftains 31 pts.
Knowing the threat that GHA could pose, and considering the tricky conditions, the Chieftains were right to get points on the board early; a cushion against any upsets that might materialise in the second half. As it happened the rain stopped, and a weak wintry sun peeped through the clouds, but the ground conditions still remained hazardous. The visitors resumed the way they had finished the first half; on the attack. Within 5 minutes they had pulled the retreating GHA defence back and forth across the pitch, and finally Chris Davies, who was involved with the move on at least two occasions, danced his way
through a gap to the try line. The score was not converted but the visitors earned well their seemingly uncatchable 6-try haul. GHA continued to plug away at their task, in the hope that some reward would come, especially as the visitors had made umpteen changes to their line-up. For the remaining 30 minutes the game was played mainly in mid-field, but the home team did have more possession and looked dangerous when in the Currie 22. It appeared to be their unlucky day, and despite going near or even over the Currie line, the ball was either dropped, fumbled or turned over, when a score looked to be there for the taking. Also, credit must go to the Chieftains’ defence, which did not make things easy for the battling GHA fifteen.
Scott McGinley and James McCaig each made a couple of exciting breaks that GHA did well to contain, and scrumhalf, Gregor Christie continued supplying good quick ball for his backs. Wallace Nelson was industrious at the breakdown, a consequence of the tremendous tackling executed by GHA throughout the match; but despite their best endeavours Currie could not add to their total.
Next weekend it is back to League duties again, and another difficult away fixture at Hawick. Even with the ‘Greens’ languishing in the lower regions of the Premier League, they have had a couple of good results recently, and a game at Mansfield Park is never easy. The Chieftains must be prepared for the undoubted challenge that will be set by a resurgent Hawick team. I.J.S, 25.11.18.
Currie Chieftains Team v GHA
15 James McCaig. 14 Matthew Hooks. 13 Joe Reynolds. 12 Adam Hall. 11 Steven Hamilton.
10 Jamie Forbes. 9 Roan Frostwick. 8 Scott McGinley. 7 Rhys Davies. 6 Marc Kelly. 5 Michael Vernel.
4 Vince Wright. 3 Matias Argiro. 2 Fergus Scott. 1 AP McWilliam.
16 Campbell Wilson. 17 Reece Patterson. 18 Wallace Nelson. 19 Gregor Christie. 20 Chris Davies.
Photography (c) Ian Gidney