Saints travelled to Glasgow on Saturday to play GHA who are on the top of the league and on the top of their form. Despite inches of snow in Dumfries the Braidholm pitch on the south side of Glasgow was in perfect condition.
Saints started well despite a missed penalty kick by Tom Hiddleston in the first minute. They had possession for the first 5 minutes but taking a quick tap penalty with no plan just outside the GHA 22 led to a turnover and a 70 metre sprint for Rangi Jericevich to open the scoring for GHA with a try converted by John Brogan. Tom Hiddleston responded with a penalty then within minutes one of GHA’s ex Warrior’s Hefin O’Hare demonstrated how to take a quick tap penalty on the opposition 22 and score in the corner, this time the conversion was missed. Tom Hiddleston responded with a penalty but GHA were just warming up and within minutes Hefin O’Hare put in a huge miss pass for Scott Lang to score a try in the corner from which Brogan converted.
Saints backs gave away hard won forward possession with ill-judged chips over the defence. Hefin O’Hare showed them how it was done with a well-placed, well timed and well planned kick for Jericevich to run onto for his second try. Tom Hiddleston missed a penalty and kicked a penalty to bring the score to 24 9 then just before half time cleared his line after GHA had caught and drove a lineout from half way to the Saints 22 before knocking on then drove the scrum putting the Saints 8 and 9. Chris Wick and Andrew Ainslie under enormous pressure to get the ball away but cool heads got the ball to Hiddleston who cleared the danger.
There was no let-up in the second half with Sean Fisher finishing a sustained forward assault on the Saints line, Brogan converted. Then it was the turn of GHA’s other ex-Warrior and former Scotland International Andy Henderson to show his class and put Jericevich in for his third with a well timed pass.
Saints got one back after a spell of good rucking and moving the ball left and right put Mark McClatchey into space with the ball in hand. A great individual effort to stay on his feet and keep going forward by Mark with a final push from Sean Graham to get him over the line and scoring over his head. The conversion was missed but a little pride was restored, briefly.
GHA scored another 5 tries punishing Saints mistakes with precision passing, intelligent running angles and searing pace. This was an outstanding performance from the whole GHA team who have learned to use the brain rather than the brawn of their two former professionals Henderson and O’Hare. The young Saints should have learned much from the experience.
Saints Team; S Graham, F Paul, G Duffy, B Hunt, A Mather, S Renwick, M McClatchey, C Wicks, A Ainslie, G Gemmell, A Wilson, M Yates, S Hiddleston (captain), K Henderson, T Hiddleston, replacements A Prentice, D Boyd and J Kerr.