‘Tis the season of goodwill, until you get to Boxing Day and hostilities are resumed…. smiles and laughter before and after the hits but, at the moment of the hit it was instantly serious and the competitive instincts were there for all to see….
As the Captain’s XV & The Exiles were having a gentle run around on the main pitch, with allegedly little in the way of contact, the real battle had commenced on Pitch No.3 at New Anniesland and indeed the “Old Crocks” action lasted until after the “young uns” had gone in for a shower.
The punters new where the action was to be had and a healthy crowd was out in force to see the legends of yesteryear, roll back time with running rugby that the Baa, Baa’s would’ve been proud of.
GHK fielded a formidale blend of youth and experience with Cammy Little, George Breckenridge pulling the strings at halfback, Donald Wilson rolling back the years on the wing (and providing a ref via his son), Gerry Hawkes (still playing 1st XV rugby), Drew Busby (Scotland B, Glasgow etc and still a formidable force on the hoof), a very pacy Sandy Kennedy and Chaz MacFarlane (Max has a lot of questions to answer…). They also had a couple of duffers in Kenny Hamilton and Scott Inglis (only kidding guys!!) and a couple of fresh faced kids called Geroge Oomen and Greg Francis, a season ago these two boys were playing Prem 1 Rugby!
Accies fielded a side also blessed with youth and experience, and in your scribes opinion a much better pack. Perrie, Dunn & Spence, Fitzpatrick, Chatfield, Cadwallader, Winter & McFadzen/Sandford, a formidable pack, sadly negated by “Old Crocks” rules of uncontested scrums. Your scribe struggles to get this reasoning as the old boys all know how to scrum and with a “no kicking” policy outside the 22m line means the old boys don’t get the wrestling match they actually enjoy instead they have to run about all day – not normally their game. If it’s all about running around then let the backs play 7’s, and the big boys will retire to the bar and a chat!
As you’d expect, the opening salvo’s were all about feeling out the opposition and trying to get a second wind and it was a tight contest until GHK got a couple of soft tries from penalties which they ran in as Accies were trying to sort out where they were supposed to be standing. 12 – 0.
Accies struck back, all guns blazing, Tony Smith added the standard Kiwi influence via his “maori side step”, Guy Chatfield had a couple of storming runs and suddenly Accies were back in the game with two tries, the pick was Ali Smith’s interception from within his own 22m, 78m later, gasping for breath and the line, it was 14 – 12 to Accies at half time.
The second half was no less intense as the big hits came in but Accies legs were tiring as the constant running of the ball – “old crocks rules – no kicking…” played into the hands of GHK’s ball players – Little, Breckenridge (until his hamstring went “twang!”) and Charlie Dunlop. Then GHK unleashed the flying machine that was Sandy Kennedy – three tries from 60m out meant the spoils went to GHK 33 – 14.
Well done to GHK, Accies will be back but importantly a good game played in good spirit and bonhomie in the bar later that is often overlooked with the rivalry between the two clubs.