Fightback comes just too late again

Scrumhalf John McWhirter
Scrumhalf John McWhirter

GHK 31, 
Newton Stewart 27

Newton provided a good 40 minutes of their best with only the final whistle preventing what so nearly could have been a massive poke in the eye for the city boys.

GHK sprinted out of the blocks, when a quick tap penalty allowed their hooker Craig McPhee to trundle through some dismal tackling and across the line for an easy five points.

GHK new how to get their backs on the move and full-back Sean Murray was next to ground in the corner only minutes later with the confident boot of their stand-off Reed adding the additional two points.

In defence, Newton were all over the place but thankfully with ball in hand they were more at ease and mid-half possession was turned into points from a pushover try, James Wallace grounding and Iain Russell converting.

Newton were under the cosh and another badly defended tap penalty yielded try number three for the Glasgow lads. More poor defence was all GHK needed and the half-hour mark saw the home side take their four-try bonus point.

When the Reds wiped the sleep from their eyes they looked like a more potent outfit. Peter Gordon, a new recruit, was hungry for ball and a solo run through the midfield was the catalyst for a rally.

As half-time loomed Newton laid siege to the GHK line and another pushover try courtesy of all forwards and Sandy Hamilton brought the tally to a more respectable 24-12.

The forwards began to dominate and a turnover on their own 22 saw Ben Haigh stretch his legs, Peter Gordon take over for the backs and Graham McMillan to cut inside to score.

Newton put their foot firmly on the gas in the second half. An awesome performance from the forwards saw the GHK scrum destroyed. As usual, Ben Haigh was a handful for GHK and, with three committed to halting the big runner, gaps appeared all over the place.

Hamish Hamilton replaced Stevie Wright in the back row and GHK’s woes multiplied. A penalty in front of the posts narrowed the margin to two points and Newton tasted blood.

It was Hamish Hamilton who forced his way over in the corner in 60 minutes for Newton to take a deserved 27-24 lead.

GHK’s forwards were allowed to rumble up the park and once the home side’s backs were released the outcome was inevitable. Another fine kick from their stand-off Reed reinstated their lead.

Hamilton had an opportunity to run over the last defender and Peter Gordon was only a finger-tip short of collecting the final pass for victory but in the end dominance could not be converted to points and GHK were relieved at the whistle.

Not for the first time this season the clock was the stumbling block to delivering the killer blow but to leave Anniesland with two bonus points against the highly fancied GHK side lays down a clear marker for those who are yet to face the bullish Reds. Man of the match was Peter Gordon.

This week sees they go head to head with Glasgow Accies in the RBS West Regional Shield at Bladnoch Park with a 3pm kick-off.

Newton Stewart: M Wallace, R Fiskin, S Hamilton, M Adams (capt), W McCornick, S Wright, J Wallace, B Haigh, J McWhirter, J Muir, P Gordon, M McCornick, G McMillan, I Russell, T Wilson. Reps: H Hamilton, A Gaw.