GHA clinch the title

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IT WAS elation for GHA and devastation for Cartha as the Braidholm side took the spoils at Dumbreck.

Thanks to a 23-0 win, GHA claimed not only bragging rights in the southside derby, but also, the league title.

Their season comes to an end with a nine game unbeaten run in what was a spectacular year for the club.

Flanker Alan Auld believes much of the credit goes to the coaches.

He told The Extra: “The belief they installed that we can compete with any team in any conditions was evident on Saturday.

“We have developed a more rounded style of game, with dangerous runners in John Brogan, Dom Dunn and Andrew Gillman. We are confident we can take teams on up front.”

The 27-year-old is relishing the opportunity of playing in the National league.

He continued: “Next season, with away trips to Watsonsians and Stew Mel and a couple of journeys to the borders this will be a new experience for a lot of the boys, us older more experienced players must lead by example.

“To have any ambitions of finishing in the top half we must concentrate for the full 80 mins and make Braidholm a very difficult place to take points from.”

GHA head coach Gordon MacPherson is looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Scottish rugby’s second tier next season.

He said: “It will be a big step up and we will obviously be looking to improve again.

“I think the teams towards the bottom of the second division we will possibly be on a par with. I think the top teams will pose a bigger threat.

“We will need to step up our game and improve as a team again to be able to match and beat these sides.

“It will be a real challenge but one the club is really looking forward to.”

The former New Zealand cap believes the performance by the club’s youth contingent this season stands the club in good stead.

He told ExtraSport: “It shows how much we have improved over the course of the season.

“Guys like John Brogan, Grand MacDonald, James Malcolm, Jamie Auld and Matt Kidd are all either still in their teens or young 20s.

“It was really pleasing to see how they stood up to the conditions and were absolutely relishing the game.”

The rugby season comes to a close this Saturday, as far as the southside is concerned, when Whitecraigs host Dalziel (kick off 3pm).