GHK v Biggar Match Report
It was always going to be a daunting task when top of the table Biggar brought their high scoring squad to Old Anniesland. Winning all of their games to date, scoring a bonus point in all but two of them indicated just what a fine season they are having. GHK’s task became Herculean in nature by the unavailability, mainly though injury, of several of GHK’s first choices, especially in the pack which meant that centre Craig Rintoul was asked to fill in at wing forward with several others stepping up from the seconds.
Conditions for the match were better than had been feared with a stiff, mainly cross-field breeze but none of the rain forecast.
Despite the one-sided final score-line there were long periods of the game where GHK gave as good as they got and this was true of the game’s opening phases where both teams probed for an opening without looking particularly like scoring before Biggar made the breakthrough after 12 minutes with a well worked try. The tone for the afternoon was set when the following kick was sweetly struck, with only one of the visitors’ eventual haul of nine tries remaining unconverted.
GHK’s set piece was under pressure all day, even the normally efficient line out failing to secure reliable possession and it was evident that Biggar were keen to profit from this as they opted to scrum rather than a kick a penalty as we approached the end of the first quarter of the match resulting in a score wide out on the left. No problem for their kicker, however. 0-14.
GHK continued to defend well in open play and this paid off when a Biggar attack was thwarted and Hugh Parker and Danny Campbell combined to put Jez Hanks in for a very good score. Kyle Henderson added the extras for 7-14 after half an hour’s play. Unfortunately, GHK then started to fall off a couple of tackles which was to become an increasingly familiar pattern in the second half and Biggar took advantage to take their lead to 21-7 at half-time.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half were, again, fairly evenly contested giving the home support some hope of a tight contest. Biggar, however, had other ideas and, once they had secured their bonus point try they played with all the confidence in the world and, assisted by some lees than top quality defending, added 4 more converted scores as they stretched away to a 54-7 lead. Their final try came from a fairly speculative cross kick but, really, no-one expected the ball to land anywhere else but in Biggar’s winger’s hands, the only surprise being that the conversion was missed! Final score GHK 7 Biggar 61.
Well played, Biggar. They are certainly the best, most clinical all-round side GHK has faced all season and will take some stopping in the league.
From the home side’s perspective there were a number of positives to take from the game. Another of GHK’s French contingent, the splendidly named Ivan Beau de Loménie, made a very decent debut on the wing and Blair Hastie came off the bench and showed a willingness to take the ball to the opposition. (Editor’s note: Can this be the same Blair Hastie that we remember making his debut for the GHK P3 Mini Rugby squad? Tempus certainly does fugit!) On a difficult day, there were a number of big shifts put in. The aforementioned Craig Rintoul gave his usual committed performance and was far from alone in this. In the pack Jez Hanks, Nick Hurn and Hugh Parker in particular, all toiled manfully. Parker tidied up a lot of ball on the retreat and made several good breaks, earning him this week’s Man of The Match Award. As for the backs, credit is due to the talented teenage trio of Hugo Anderson, Finlay Callaghan and Gavin McKirdy who all had their moments and will have plenty of good ones ahead.
Onwards to next week and what better way to get Saturday’s match out of the system than with a Friday Night Lights derby match against our closest and oldest rivals, Glasgow Accies. Both teams will be very keen to pick up the league points on offer as well as garnering cross-fence bragging rights.
7.30 pm kick off at Old Anniesland. Don’t miss it!
And, if you haven’t already done so, book your place at the pre-match curry available from 6 pm at the bargain price of £10 (£20 if you show your Accies membership card!) Email Alistair Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org