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September 30, 2004

Week Six

Alan Bulloch was in good form for GHA (photo by Vicki)
Sorry for the absence of a club round up over the last few weeks, work commitments kept me away from a PC. In the last fortnight it has been a bit mixed but Hawks have come onto a game, GHA have lost a couple and Ayr and Biggar have had mixed fortunes. So let's get on with a look at this Saturday. With Warriors away there are some good match ups for any of you missing games this weekend.

GHA v Heriots
Saturday, 2nd October 2004 at Braidholm

GHA have now lost three on the trot, but still look healthier than last year. I had tipped them as Dark Horses for the championship, but had seriously underestimated the weakness in the pack. Their backline remains outstanding, but they don't get enough ball. Opposition sides can play it tight and dominate, a la Muir 3 weeks ago. Heriots by contrast are not a forward dominated side, the wide field at Goldenacre has always seen a host of backs. Which other side has provided so many great full-backs? However, this could prove a leveller. The Edinburgh side did show they can play in the trenches against Biggar last week, and I think that they will use their pack as a platform early on, before doing the fancy stuff later.

Prediction: Hairy-rotters with a bonus.

Result: GHA 25 - 5 Heriots

Heriot's' title hopes suffered a major setback when they were crushed by GHA at Braidholm.

The Edinburgh troops had gone into battle as clear-cut favourites - but it was the home forwards who dominated the contest.

Two tries by Ross West and efforts from Rory Watson and James Eddie snuffed out the challenge of the Goldenacre side.

Ian Kennedy and Nick McLeod shared the kicking spoils, while Jon White bagged the consolation Heriot's touchdown.

You can see more photos from the game at Braidholm here

Saturday, 2nd October 2004 at Mansfield Park

It's a bold man that would have looked at the Prem 1 table at the start of the year and predicted the respective fortunes of the 'Greens' and the 'Maroons' this year. Since they started poorly against Biggar and GHA, Hawick cannot look forward to the visits from the Glasgow sides this year. Some may argue that in the great tradition of the game they will come good, however something stinks in the state of Hawick. With the local 'Trades' failing to fulfill fixtures, the whole town is struggling. It is not the right time to have Ayr visit, they put Gala to the sword with a lot of panache last week, and will want to carry on the good work.

Prediction: Ayr with a try bonus.

Result: Hawick 31 - 19 Ayr

Hawick produced a stirring late rally to break their duck in this BT Scotland Premiership Division One clash at windswept Mansfield Park.

With 10 minutes left, the Greens trailed 19-17, but the revival came when skipper Roddy Deans returned to the fray after a spell in the sin-bin.

Their tries were snapped up by Danny Landels, Cammy Bruce (2) and Colin Murray, who added vital kicks.

Gordon Sykes ploughed over for Ayr's touchdown, with stand-off James Adams slotting a conversion and four penalties.

Saturday, 2nd October 2004 at Netherdale

A few seasons back Hawks played Gala at Netherdale in the cup and won 69-21. This could be replicated by a side which is back on song after the opening defeat against Rose. They have a weakness, which is a tendency to play the game at a level which suits their opponents, but I can't see them dropping that low. Gala having played well against GHA in the opener have been shipping points in an alarming fashion. In fact their best chance of avoiding relegation is if they merge with Hawick AND Rose, thus doing away with the need for 2 sides to drop down. The 70+ conceded against Rose will have hurt a lot, but with little more than pride, they will struggle to hurt Hawks.

Prediction: Hawks to score 40+ and a try bonus.

Result: Gala 24 - 29 Glasgow Hawks

Champions Hawks stepped up their defence of the BT Scotland Premiership Division One title with an edgy success over Gala at Netherdale.

Hawks made sure of the bonus point with scores by Colin Shaw, Kenny Sinclair, Neil McKenzie, Mark Sitch and Scott Forrest. Mike Adamson added to conversions.

Jamie Henderson went over twice for the Maroons, their others coming from Ewan Johnston and Greg Brown, Chris Dalgleish converting two of them.

Saturday, 2nd October 2004 at Hartreemill

Ouch, this would be a match to see. Biggar are getting amongst the best crowds in Prem 1, too much can be made of the 'local' tag, Sanft, now there's a Lanarkshire name, but they perform time and again. Rose are playing well, but it is a grudge match, because it matches two Rose heroes, Parker and Chalmers in the coaching slot. In the end, I think that the home advantage will keep it tight.

Prediction: Biggar win, Rose losing bonus.

Result: Biggar 36 - 10 Melrose

Coach Gary Parker was celebrating after inspiring newly-promoted Biggar to a deserved triumph over his old Melrose team-mates.

Parker's battlers did most of the damage in the first half as they used the wind at Hartreemill to open up a 28-0 lead.

Glasgow Heineken Cup squad prop Elliot McLaren led the charge with a try-double, the others coming from Stuart Harrison and Murray Thomson to capture a precious bonus point.

Quentin Sanft completed the rout with two conversions and four penalties. New signing Taumei Hikila notched the only Rose score, while Bruce Ruthven added a conversion and penalty.


Kirkcaldy v Stirling County

So County visit a Blues side which is struggling to resurrect the glories of a couple of seasons ago. County are the likeliest side in Scottish Prem rugby to go through a season unbeaten. Blues will lose.

County with a bonus.

Premiership Three

Two Glasgow derbies make for a local interest this weekend.

Cartha Queens Park v East Kilbride Dumbreck

With EK looking strong losing only to surprise package Livi this year and defeating Dunfermline, it is unlikely the CQP will come close to the quality needed to beat the men from the Weegie highlands.

EK narrow win.

Hillhead Jordanhill v RHC Hughenden

Not the Glasgow derby, Bill McDonald's men are playing well and are certainly worth a watch, can only improve now that some of the returning student players will add depth to a good young squad. Much too much for RHC despite their win over Cambuslang.

Hills by a mile, and with Livi playing Dunfermline, they'll have a double bonus as one of their rivals will fall further behind.

Cambuslang v West Of Scotland Coats Park

West, where has all the money gone having a bigger playing fund than Hawks still sees the Burnbrae boys dissappoint. Defeat to Dunfermline can be expected but to lose to CQP and not even bother the scorer, well that is pretty mediocre, for a side that should be aspiring to prem 1. That said Cambuslang are poor and West should win by such a margin that the sooside men might want to give up rugby.

West with a try bonus

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