John Brogan made a substantial contribution with more than half the GHA’s points in victory against Whitecraigs at West Lodge on Saturday. On his return to the first XV the 19-year-old wing scored two of the visitors’ six tries and kicked half a dozen goals for a tally of 24 points.
Andy Henderson also had a brace of tries. His fellow centre, Hefin O’Hare, also had a try, as had Dominic Dunn as GHA kept in touch with the RBS Championship A league leaders, Cartha Queen’s Park, who will be next weekend’s visitors to Braidholm.
However, GHA suffered misfortunes on the road to victory. The contest had hardly started when Craig Sorbie had to retire with a shoulder injury. Dunn moved forward from full back to take over at stand-off, and before the end of match he too succumbed to injury.
Worse was that Paul Harkin was shown a red card with nearly 20 minutes still left to play. By then, however, GHA had a 13-point cushion, and not only did the 14-man team survive without conceding another score but they added to their tally with O’Hare running clear for the sixth try.
As if Sorbie’s early injury was not enough of a setback, GHA were seven points down after only five minutes to an Ian Laidlaw try and a Ryan Moffat conversion. But GHA’s response was swift. After 17 minutes they led 15-7 with tries by Henderson and Dunn and a conversion and penalty by Brogan.
A try by Biel Farrell cut the visitors’ lead to three points midway in the first half. However, GHA were 11 points up at half-time with Brogan kicking a second penalty goal and sprinting away for his first try. Another burst of the after-burners brought Brogan his second try only 51 seconds after the interval. He converted that try and the two others in the second half.
With a 30-12 lead and a bonus point secured, GHA seemed to ease up in the third quarter, and Whitecraigs came back with two more tries: Stuart Pollock scored in a drive-over in the left corner, and Moffat ran in at the posts, the latter converting his own try and cutting the GHA lead to just six points after 52 minutes.
Captain Henderson, however, led the way with his second try on the hour. That score and Brogan’s conversion became all the more valuable barely a minute later when Harkin was dismissed in what (from the touchline) seemed to be no more than a collision between two opposing players going for the ball on the ground. O’Hare’s late try was reward for the deleted team’s efforts in the last quarter.
On Saturday, league leaders Cartha lost 24-10 to Ardrossan.