Hamilton Bulls v GHK 7 September 2019
Despite bagging an impressive thirty six points, GHK came up just short in an entertaining first league match of the season away to Hamilton who many folk feel are likely to be among the promotion contenders come the business end of the season.
Two early home tries in the first fifteen minutes looked ominous for the visitors. Those who have watched the Bulls in recent seasons would have recognised their way of punching up and committing defenders. Secure handling did the rest.
The young GHK side responded quite magnificently. Jack Cuthbert’s early penalty was supplemented by tries, one from himself along with Nick Hurn, Gavin McKirdy and Ben Hutton. All the tries were memorable. The first from Cuthbert was a slick team move that created space and he capitalised. Nick Hurn’s was a remarkable lung bursting effort that saw the flanker cover half the pitch before being taken out as he crossed for the try. A yellow card was issued to the offender.
Left wing Gavin McKirdy went over, the scoring pass having been given by Andy McCulloch. From the restart, GHK recycled the ball and this time it was debutant Ben Hutton on the right wing who made space out of nothing, beat the covering defenders and scored under the posts. 29-14 to GHK. A remarkable turnaround that stunned the Hamilton players and silenced the vociferous home support.
GHK did have chances to close out the half without conceding further points, but with almost the last play of the half Hamilton added an unconverted try. A frantic first half with nearly fifty points scored and just the seven tries. Great entertainment for the supporters. Half time – Hamilton 19 GHK 29
The expected home onslaught duly arrived with the Bulls pack refreshed by a couple of changes. The GHK defence was tested and stood up to the blue and green pressure. Remarkably, the first score of the second period fell to GHK when stand-off Eddie Waller crossed over after a series of clever angled runs had stretched the home defence.
Hamilton were now bossing possession and, despite the best efforts of the combative GHK defence, a couple of home scores before the hour mark cut the GHK lead to a mere three points. It is probably worth noting that there was a degree of controversy over a few of the scores. GHK were the beneficiaries of what looked like a forward pass in the lead up to a try and a Hamilton score from a throw to the front of a line out looked to have fallen well short of the required five metres.
Hamilton regained the lead with their sixth try, but with nearly twenty minutes remaining you felt sure that there would be more scoring to come. Well there wasn’t. Hamilton had chances to extend their lead and GHK came oh so very close with the last plays of the game. Some slightly panicked handling and a degree of desperate defence resulted in a couple of decent chances coming to nothing. There was much relief on the home front when their scrum half booted the ball in to touch to bring proceedings to a close. Hamilton 40 GHK 36
Whilst GHK will be disappointed in not winning the match, it was a great effort from the young squad and for large parts of the game they ran their hosts ragged. GHK will take much encouragement from this performance. Results elsewhere suggest that this will be a tight, competitive league. Given that Hamilton are just down from National One, to run them so close is not bad at all as a first effort.
A number of excellent performances from the GHK squad, indeed all involved played their part. Stand in hooker Feargus Haston did well and found his jumpers in the lineout. The half back partnership of Robbie Simmers and Eddie Waller clicked instantly and varied the pattern of the game. The young wingers Hutton and McKirdy were secure in defence and lively going forward. Angus Lindsay was again outstanding in the pack.
Captain Cammy Hughes had an outstanding eighty minutes, led by example and kept his players on message with clear instructions and encouragement. It was a five star performance for which he is today’s player of the day. Well done skipper.
Next week at home to Falkirk. Kick off three o’clock. It is also GHK’s Family Day. Something for everyone. Get along to OA. You will be entertained on and off the pitch.