GHK v Dumfries 12 January 2019
GHK got off to a flyer against fourth placed Dumfries, but sadly a seventeen point start was not enough to secure any points from the first home league fixture of the New Year.
Two very fine tries from Danny Campbell and Ben Frame saw GHK fourteen points ahead with barely five minutes played. Try one came about from some pressure close to the line and, after a couple of close drives, the ball was fired out sharply to centre Campbell to burst the defence on a clever angle. The second saw Danny Campbell and Fin Callaghan combine to put Ben Frame in the clear for another well worked try.
Dumfries, as ever prompted by centre Jack Steele, responded as expected but the GHK tackling just about held firm. Andy McCulloch led from the front with Hugh Parker and Craig Rintoul also doing more than their fair share of the defensive chores.
With the wind at his back Kyle Henderson’s left boot took every opportunity to take play deep in to Dumfries territory. That trusty left peg stretched the home lead to seventeen points via a tidy penalty. With a healthy wind behind them the feeling was that a bit more might be required to get over the line.
Dumfries opened their account when a scrum disintegrated and number eight Miller rumbled over. That was not in the GHK script. Things appeared to be getting worse for GHK as the penalty count against them mounted up. With the last play of the half, referee Calum Worsley dished out a yellow card to Nick Hurn and the penalty conceded was converted. 17 – 8 to GHK at the break looked potentially a bit on the neat side.
As you’d expect, Dumfries used the elements to play the game in the GHK half. The GHK defence was feisty and combative. Whilst no further damage was done during Nick Hurn’s period of exile, there was a distinct feeling amongst the home support that not many calls were going their way. Indeed, whilst the Dumfries advantage in the set scrum looked to have diminished, GHK were penalised/called back on a number of occasions when they looked to have secured decent scrummage ball. Managing the scrum laws does appear to be something of a mystery.
Whilst Dumfries may have looked the more likely to grab the next try, GHK held them at bay. When it did arrive there was a very large dollop of good fortune for the visitors as what looked like a very obvious knock on was missed in the build up. The clinching try also had a hint of a forward pass but that, I suppose, is how it goes when you are looking for an even break.
A final penalty, one of many awarded against GHK for being offside, saw GHK taken out of bonus point territory. Final score GHK 17 Dumfries 25
Not the result that GHK wanted, but not too far away from taking something from the game. Not many calls went GHK’s way and that made the second half very difficult.
Fine performances from many in the home squad. Star performer of the day was, once again, Hugh Parker. Another enormous performance in the line out and tireless in the loose.
Next week away to Stewarts Melville then 26 January back at OA for a shoot-out with Howe of Fife.