Defeat for GHA

GHA were taught a lesson as they fell to a comfortable defeat against the best team in Scotland this season as they lost 33-0 against Ayr at Millbrae.

Despite the defeat GHA will take a number of positives having held their own against the Premier Division league leaders.

The result leaves the Braidholm side second in Group A of the RBS West Regional Cup.

Head coach Gordon MacPherson feels the team will have learnt a lot from their performance against a Premier Division team.

He said: “It was obviously not good enough to cause Ayr the problems we would have liked to.

“Considering they are the best team in Scotland I think we acquitted ourselves quite well in a lot of areas in the game. Especially set piece, line outs went well and the scrum worked well as we managed to push them back on a couple of occasions.

“They gave us very little space to play in which was probably one of the key factors.

“When we had possession we didn’t have the time that we have when we play in the third division.

“When we had the ball it was important to keep the ball and not give it away cheaply because when we did do that we got punished.

“Overall though there were a lot of positives despite the outcome of the game.”

GHA entered the game as huge underdogs but for much of this encounter they held their own against a classy Ayr outfit whose size and pace was the difference in the end, capitalising on GHA turnovers and the odd loose kick to seal a comfortable victory which sees them go top of GHA’s group in this season’s RBS Cup.

It had been well publicised in the build up that Ayr’s pitch had suffered the effects of the recent rainfall and those rumours proved true as the sticky underfoot conditions prevented both sides from playing with much ambition on the day.

The loss of scrum half Andrew Gillman due to illness was also significant as GHA’s attack struggled for continuity all afternoon.

Despite giving away a significant weight advantage to the Ayr pack, GHA were solid in the close exchanges, the scrum held firm and indeed drove Ayr off the ball in the closing minute.

The lineout was as good as it’s been all season. GHA’s undoing was their failure to hold on to the ball for prolonged periods often having to commit a lot of numbers to the breakdown, and when the turnovers came, Ayr were quick to move the ball wide where their ever dangerous back three, particularly the diminutive Craig Gossman, had lots of space to work in with Gossman scoring one try and setting up numerous Ayr attacks.

In the end, Ayr ran in six scores but GHA can be pleased with their overall effort, especially physically which is one of the key areas where you’d expect a Premiership side like Ayr to dominate.

Also encouraging was the fact that seven GHA Academy players got their first taste of Premiership rugby, five of whom are still in their teens, giving them valuable experience as they continue their development.