GHK v Peebles 24 March 2018

GHK were five points down in rapid fire time. It happened. We are over it. However, as a welcome gift to the Border visitors it was generous indeed. Blink and you did miss it.

Following upon from that earliest of early setbacks, GHK actually put together a few positive phases of play and started to ask a few questions of the lively Peebles outfit (who were clearly buoyed by their quick score.) RFU guest referee Nia Parsonage was doing her best to let the game flow and this seemed to be appreciated by two very willing outfits. However, as GHK threatened, a breakdown infringement allowed Danny Campbell to open the GHK account with a close range penalty.

Peebles were gaining good ground through their centres and the GHK defensive efforts were tested regularly. With a good supply of ball, the opportunities for the visiting backs were frequent and eventually the home defence was stretched beyond the limit and centre Brown crossed for try number two.

The visitors continued to have the edge in possession and looked the more likely especially as some smart kicking kept them playing the game in the home twenty two. A penalty to the corner set up an ominous line out five metres short of the GHK line. Thankfully, the home forwards plundered the Peebles throw in and the danger was cleared. That seemed to lift the GHK spirits and it was their turn to play the game in the visitors’ territory. A couple of sweeping three quarter moves were repelled by the Border defence. Another GHK line out on the right, about fifteen metres out, provided neat possession and as the defence looked for the ball to be shipped wide again, stand off James MacKinnon cut back inside and had the legs to make the line for a really smart score. The conversion slipped by.     Half time GHK 8  Peebles  10

Aided by a helpful gusting wind, the trusty left boot of visiting stand off Raeburn kept play in the GHK half for the most part. He stretched the lead with a penalty with just over half an hour to go. Both sides looked to build when good field positions had been achieved. However, first phase possession, for both teams, was less than tidy and reliable. It was a feature the number of occasions on which opposition line out ball was disrupted.

There were opportunities for both to create scoring chances but, when the next try came, unfortunately for GHK, there was a large element of self harm as an interception pass was snaffled by number eight Roddy Guiney to claim try number three for Peebles. A twelve point lead was useful indeed and you felt that GHK had to reply with points and pretty quickly too.

A prolonged period of pressure tested the red and white defence. Desperate measures were adopted by the Peebles rear guard and eventually one of the flankers was adjudged to have killed the ball. Despite his best efforts to secure the sympathy vote  (having sustained injury in the process), referee Parsonage patiently dispensed justice and a yellow card followed. Immediately GHK turned the screw and Danny Campbell forced his way over for a close range try. 20-13 to the visitors.

As frequently happens, you would not really have been aware that Peebles were a man down. They pulled together and, urged on by a small but vocal support, that man Raeburn booted Peebles in to positions that did not suit GHK as they looked to claim an equalising score. The lure of a four try bonus point encouraged Peebles to do more than try and close out the game. With a couple of minutes remaining it fell to skipper Calum Anderson to power over after the GHK back line cover had been tested through a number of phases. A tidy conversion followed and that was how it stood at the end of the match.

GHK 13  Peebles 27

Peebles keep their slim promotion hopes alive for the time being. Well done to President Hogarth and his squad. Good luck for what remains of the season and many thanks for supporting the club’s fund raising efforts on Saturday on behalf of Breast Cancer Care Scotland.

GHK will have been disappointed with the performance and outcome, but yet again injuries disrupted any notion of a settled team effort. However, even with that, a couple of scores that were very much of the avoidable category turned out to be difference.

GHK player of the day – Angus Lindsay, who recovered from being injured in the run up to the opening Peebles score, to turn in a tireless shift in tight and loose.

Two games to go – Dumfries at OA on 7 April and away to Howe of Fife a week later. In the meantime, the twos have a derby away to the Accies next Saturday 31 March. That could be lively.

PS Huge thanks and congratulations to all who worked and contributed in any way to make the fund raising effort for Breast Cancer Care Scotland such a success. Well done to all concerned.

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