A METHODICAL GHA side defeated Cartha Queen’s Park to win the RBS championship A trophy in their final league game of the season.
With the teams neck and neck atop the league, it was far from it on the pitch on Saturday when GHA made light work of Cartha in terrible conditions.
The week’s snowfall meant the pitch required a team effort from Cartha’s groundsmen, supporters and players to get the surface fit for play – in the loosest terms possible.
The teams took to what was a near unplayable bog in freezing conditions not conducive with flowing rugby and it would have been a convincing argument for moving to a summer rugby schedule had the game not been in late March.
However, the arctic weather didn’t deter supporters who turned out in their hundreds for the southside derby.
Cartha were a team sure of their game plan, they were not going to risk spreading the ball in such poor conditions and played much of the game through their forwards.
However, not to be bullied, GHA had a willing supply of volunteer ball carriers in the Malcolm brothers and Grant Macdonald who had no problem taking the ball to Cartha through route one round the fringes.
In a game dominated by forwards, it was the backs who made the first dent in the scoreline when an Andrew Gillman kick through allowed Scott Lang to chase, only for the Cartha full back to take the young former Hutchie pupil out off the ball.
The result was a sin-binning for the full back and a penalty try, which was converted by John Brogan.
Big hits and good work around the breakdown allowed GHA to dominate possession and territory for much of the first half.
In the few opportunities Cartha had with the ball, impact players such as Andy Scott were left as mere spectators as stand-off Wayne Burrows repeatedly chose to take the ball on himself.
With ten minutes to play before half time, prop Scott Carson added a try from a drive from a line-out, once again proving GHA’s powerful forwards were just as important as their more celebrated team mates in the back line.
A pair of John Brogan penalty goals put Cartha a comfortable 18 points up with slightly less than ten minutes to go.
The win was put in no doubt with five minutes left to play when a trademark Andrew Gillman break for a try, to make the score 23-0.
With only a few hiccups and a convincing win against formidable opponents in unfavourable conditions to end the season, GHA now find themselves in Scottish rugby’s second tier.