Stewart’s Melville v GHK Saturday 19th January 2019

It was most certainly not a case of ‘You’ll have had your lunch’ as the small band of GHK committee members and supporters were treated to some excellent pre-match hospitality at Inverleith on Saturday.

However, if Stew Mel’s vice president Simon Breeze being able to report that the home club were able to field their strongest side this season wasn’t enough to cause a degree of indigestion worse was to follow in the form of Jim Calder singing the praises of two of GHK and Stewart’s Melville’s ‘finest’ in Craig Docherty and Donald Wilson. Suffice it to say that the last thing we need is for people to get the impression that we’re impressed by the achievements of these two shrinking violets! Who knew that Edinburgh’s progress in Europe was almost all down to having Craig in charge and that Donald had had such an illustrious career with the Scotland Sevens team! Talk about fake news!

Seriously, a most enjoyable event and well done to Craig and Donald – and yes, we do know that you scored GHK’s first ever try, Donald. Just shows your age!

To the game. A slow start from the visitors allowed Stew Mel two early scores and with the already injury depleted GHK side losing prop Keiran Boles and back row Walter Gilbert to injury in the first ten minutes, the signs were that it could be a long afternoon for the away side. However, every cloud and all that, which, in this case allowed Ben Farmer to make his return from injury and Cameron Crozier to come on for his GHK debut. Both contributed hugely to the battling performance which followed, with Cameron showing up particularly well both in defence and attack.

GHk’s first try of the day came with the home side pressing but young Fin Callaghan was alert to the opportunity of an interception and no one was going to catch the speedy centre as he ran the 80 metres to the line. Converted by Danny Campbell so 12- 7 after 15 minutes. Both teams continued to throw the ball about without being particularly threatening. Crucially, in the last 5 minutes of the half, the home side added two tries in quick succession to gain their bonus point and move comfortably ahead at 26-7.

If GHK were to make game of it they needed a quick score and they duly delivered within two minutes of the restart with Danny Campbell twisting over after some good hands from forwards and backs.  With the game entering the final quarter that man Campbell was at it again as the deficit was reduced to 26-19.

As has been the case frustratingly often this season, GHK followed up this passage of really good play where they had worked extremely hard to score only to give away a soft counter. Even then, with fifteen minutes left and the score at 33-19, GHK knew that a converted try would be rewarded with two bonus points. Much effort went in to secure that elusive fourth try but, once again, GHK came away with nothing despite having contributed hugely to a really good game of rugby. Stew Mel’s hospitality did not, sadly, extend to the pitch and they defended resolutely to prevent any further scoring. Final score 33-19.

Much, as always, to be positive about. Most of all, the high quality of much of the rugby and the really good spirit shown for the whole eighty minutes by the GHK side. We know where we are in the league and the number of games left. Next Saturday at home against Howe of Fife is the last game before a break whilst the Six Nations takes centre stage. We know what is required. On this showing we are getting ever closer to achieving  the results we need.

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