GHK v Hamilton Bulls 11 Dec 2021
GHK got back to winning ways after last week’s travails up north at Gordonians with a fine win against Hamilton Bulls. In an open, entertaining game, GHK overcame their Lanarkshire opponents, but only after they withstood an early onslaught from the visitors and ultimately took control of possession and field position.
Attacking the pavilion end, Hamilton were quickly into their stride and combinations involving some abrasive charges from a committed pack and smart angles and offloading from their backs tested the GHK defence. It was no great surprise that their early endeavour was rewarded with a well worked score close enough to the posts for number ten
Adam Ryan (Kayne Macauley – see note below) to add the extras. As it happened, the Bulls stand off demonstrated throughout the afternoon that his kicking ability, off the tee and from hand, could cope with much more than the ‘straightforward’ variety. The young man had a fine boot on him.
The GHK response was rapid. Danny Campbell returned a clearing kick by running back some forty metres or so. Having got closer to the line through a series of forward drives, it was Ben Frame who touched down. The conversion drew the scores level after sixteen minutes. Not content with that, the home number nine added a second score via some quick thinking when he took a swift tap penalty and somehow made it through the last line of defence. A further five to the GHK tally.
Three minutes later it was Tommy Spinks’ turn to muscle over, again after a number of committed drives from the GHK ball carriers with particularly Jack Steele to the fore. The home side had found the welcome habit of returning from visits to the Hamilton twenty two with points in their pockets. It looked as though GHK had settled in to a very productive rhythm.
However, as has been demonstrated on many a visit to Old Anniesland, Hamilton Bulls are indeed a very resilient outfit. Having got themselves back in to GHK territory the impressive stand off Ryan kicked a penalty from about thirty five metres out. With a couple of minutes of the half remaining the Hamilton backs created space on their right wing and number 14 Benjamin Plant squeezed over by the flag. Up stepped that man Ryan to convert from the touch line. It was an absolute cracker of a kick.
Half time GHK 19 Hamilton Bulls 17
Given the competitive to and fro nature of the first half, if anyone had said that Hamilton would not add to their points total in the second period, they would probably have been viewed as seriously lacking in good rugby judgement. Nevertheless, GHK did manage to keep the opposition scoring opportunities in that second spell to a minimum whilst at the same time crafting a few chances of their own.
First up was Hugh Parker who breached the Hamilton line from short distance. The lead stretched to nine points, 26 – 17. Moments later GHK called for fresh legs with Ali Olivier and Ryan Moore taking their leave to be replaced by Blair Forsyth and Glenn Sutherland.
The momentum was with the home side and scrum half and captain Frame completed his hat trick of tries touching down after several holes had been punched in the Bulls’ defence. Five minutes later, rather than go for the corner, Grant Anderson converted a penalty opportunity thereby taking the GHK lead to two converted tries. That advantage was extended to three converted tries shortly thereafter when Lewis Brock battered over. It was a richly deserved score for the middle row who had an outstanding game throughout. Indeed, Lewis and the aforementioned Hamilton stand off seemed to be having a game within a game as it seemed like every one of the excellent towering Hamilton restarts, each one seemingly higher and hanging longer than the last, found its way to the GHK lock whose takes were assured and athletic.
The tireless Feargus Haston and Tommy Spinks were given some respite and replaced by Cian Smith and Toby Jeffreys. All of the GHK replacements played their part in keeping GHK on the front foot. They also stood up when Hamilton had one last series of attacks on the GHK line. The visitors came close in the last few moments of the match but GHK held firm.
Final score GHK 41 Hamilton Bulls 17
Many thanks to President Jack Ryan and his Hamilton squad for an excellent game of rugby that was played competitively and in a great spirit. Having contributed an enormous amount to the match, Hamilton are perhaps entitled to feel a bit hard done by leaving OA with no points. They are a strong, skillful and positive side who play good rugby. All the best for the rest of the season.
GHK wind up 2021 with a win that entertained the crowd at Old Anniesland and steadied the ship in terms of the National Two league campaign. They had to be dogged and determined to overcome their opponents but once GHK got on the front foot they looked threatening for most of the afternoon. Centres Angus North and Jack Steele are a classic combination. The middle row of Brock and Troop were very impressive. The replacements all added a bit of energy with perhaps Glenn Sutherland making his presence felt most of all.
In terms of man of the match, it’s hard to look by a man who has scored three tries (although we’ve done that before I think)! Anyway, the richly deserved GHK Edinburgh Gin man of the match is Ben Frame. Well done sir!
GHK’s next home game is on 15 January against Whitecraigs. Before that there is a visit over the fence to take on the Accies on January 8th 2022. Kick offs are scheduled for 2.00 but check the website or however you get your rugby information.
All that remains is to thank all GHK supporters/followers/long suffering partners and spouses of supporters/followers, for all their encouragement over the last wee while. It’s been a bit unusual, but hopefully some rugby ‘normality’ has helped us all along the way. Best wishes to all involved with rugby in Scotland for this festive season and for the year that is just around the corner.
Take care. Stay safe.
A huge thanks to the players – is it 49 so far? – who have represented the GHK 1st XV this season and to all the other players, coaches, physios and those who do so much in the ‘off-field’ team to bring about the league table below. It’s where we want to be but much work remains to be done to ensure that we remain there until the end of the season. Enjoy your festive break but remember that all eyes need to be on 8th January and our short trip to play Glasgow Accies.
Unbeknown to the writer, there had been a late change in the Hamilton team as listed in the match programme. The outstanding number ten was in fact Kayne Macaulay and not Adam Ryan. Kayne was playing only his second game for the Hamilton 1st xv. An impressive start to his senior career. And I am sure that Adam is a pretty decent player too!