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GHK at Glendale
GHK at Glendale

GHK rugby club took their flowing rugby to the states - and may have converted some doubters along the way.

The travelling team featured former Hutchesons’ Grammar school first XV prop Cammy McLay and Dumbreck based flanker Mikey Borthwick.

In what was a far cry from their national three trips to Ross High and Preston Lodge, GHK completed their undefeated Colorado tour at Infinity Park Glendale, home of rugby in the USA.

There, they played and won in the blistering sun in front of 2,500 spectators on an immaculate pitch, and after their 58-26 win, they were even signing autographs for their new found fans.

What Glendale Raptors lacked in rugby nuance (apart from their Kiwi duo in the backline), they attempted to make up for in size and strength.

The travelling GHK support looked worried when an early converted try from Glendale made the score 7-0, but GHK quickly adjusted to the physicality of the opponents, the grandeur of the occasion and the altitude to make light work of their American opponents.

Impressive stand-off Andrew Fleming exploited poor positioning of the Raptors’ full-back with some booming kicks, allowing the Glaswegian side to play the game in the opposition half.

Consistent pressure from the comparatively undersized Scottish forwards earned possession for the visitors, which captain Danny Hoffman took full advantage from when he scored in between the posts.

By this point the cobwebs were well and truly off and the toils of a long, hard season was replaced by pure adrenaline.

The poor handling of the first ten minutes made way for flowing expansive rugby, and led to tries from Fleming, Hoffman and flying winger Rory Love before the end of the half, making the score 7-22.

The giants from Glendale began to tire even more in the second half and GHK began to run wild on the big brusiers.

Tries from Fleming, scrum-half Mike Aird, flanker Mike Borthwick and number eight Rory McCormack, as well as a further trio of conversions from Fleming, made the score 51-7.

A changing of the guard for GHK allowed Glendale to run in a few late tries, but the Glasgow side got the last word when mercurial outside centre Andy Shedden sidestepped his way to a score underneath the posts, converted by Danny Campbell. It was a fitting end to a tour which saw GHK also defeat Boulder (17-41) and the Denver Harlequins (0-96).

Coach Kenneth Hamilton told ExtraSport: “The players have proven themselves fantastic ambassadors for Scottish Rugby, making friends throughout their travels in Colorado, and impressing people with the quality of their play.

“Playing abroad enriches the playing experience and understanding of every player and will be of huge value to our young squad.

“Of course the support of our club members and sponsors was essential in bringing the overall costs down, and I am particularly grateful to them”.