Sep 28 2012 by Lizzie Smith, Kilmarnock Standard
A COMEBACK proved too late as Kilmarnock were narrowly beaten by GHK at home in their first league defeat of the season.
Kilmarnock started at a frantic pace with wave after wave of attacks but were unable to score.
GHK kicked ahead from a scrum but the ball went dead forcing a drop out 22 which was kicked deep into the GHK half, full back Horton returned the kick to touch for the first lineout.
Kilmarnock failed to win their own ball and were penalised for offside in the backline. Stand-off Reed kicked to give GHK a 3-0 lead after five minutes.
Both sides moved the ball wide in open play but GHK had the bigger push in the scrums. A break by Colin Sturgeon set up a ruck and GHK were penalised, McKenzie Pearce took a quick tap penalty and made a 30metre dash, he passed to Fergus Porter who was stopped a metre short of the line and GHK kicked clear.
Kilmarnock’s Gordon Laurie stole the resulting lineout and the ball was shipped out the line with captain Johnny Bradford clearly obstructed but was adjudged to have knocked the ball forward. From the scrum, GHK cleared the ball upfield with Kilmarnock kicking straight to touch. GHK won the lineout and from the driving maul another strange decision was given as GHK were awarded a scrum after a Kilmarnock knock on.
GHK applied the pressure and their forwards drove to the Kilmarnock goal line, winning a penalty they opted for the tap penalty and were stopped on the goal line for a second time but were given another penalty which Reed converted 6-0 after 15 minutes.
More GHK pressure and Kilmarnock were again penalised for playing the ball on the ground however the third penalty attempt failed. GHK had the upper hand by now and continued attacking.
From a lineout 10 metres short of the line the GHK forwards caught and drove for the opening try with no conversion. The visitors were 11-0 ahead with 25minutes played.
Kilmarnock countered with good forward play and Bradford set off on a 40m run with Ruairidh Cuthbertson in tow. Two more phases of back play saw Paul Ramsay and Greg Montgomery in the action.
On the half hour GHK were offside and Sturgeon scored a penalty to make the score11-3.
At the restart, Kilmarnock were sleeping and gave possession away with a misfield, the ball was snapped up at scrum half and moved to the full back who easily dummied the Kilmarnock midfield for a second converted try,18-3.
Moments later Kilmarnock gave away another penalty for offside in front of the posts, scoreline 21-3.
Kilmarnock won a lineout after the restart with Kieran Grant setting up an attack and won a penalty. Sturgeon kicked upfield for another lineout which was won by Laurie at the tail, he forced a penalty and GHK were penalised for not retiring 10 metres. Sturgeon slotted the penalty on the stroke of half time 21-6.
Facing an uphill task, half time saw Kilmarnock substitute Fergus Porter with Greg Montgomery switching to scrum half and Sean Christie moved to centre.
From the restart kick, Michael Kidd secured the ball and set up a maul, Sturgeon waltzed through a couple of players passing to Bradford who kicked ahead and a penalty was given to Kilmarnock. From the lineout the ball was passed to blindside winger Paul Ramsay who raced up the touchline avoiding tackles but was eventually caught a few metres from the goal line. He managed an overhead pass which was collected by Bradford for a great try and a touchline conversion by Sturgeon.
The best possible start for Kilmarnock now 21-13 in arrears.
The Kilmarnock scrum was severely tested, from a turnover ball the GHK backs won yet another penalty. The 25m kick sailed over for GHK’s only score of the second half to lead 24-13 with 35 minutes remaining.
Kimarnock gained momentum in the remainder of the half, McKenzie Pearce took a tap penalty bursting through the forwards and won a penalty in front of the posts, sadly Sturgeon missed the kick. Kilmarnock made further substitutions with Scott Crawford and Mckenzie Pearce replacing Stuart Lauder and Graeme Dickie.
Kilmarnock made more of an impact with the team intent on squaring the match or more.
A penalty midway through the half saw Kilmarnock kick for touch when a penalty was in range. Frustratingly the lineout 10 metres from the line was lost to ease the pressure on GHK.
Kilmarnock continued the fight and were rewarded with a late try after a tap penalty from Greg Montgomery to Sturgeon to Sean Christie whose timely pass saw Bradford burst through at pace to score his second try and salvage a bonus point, Sturgeon coverted 24-20.
The Bellsland men are sitting second top in the RBS West Division One with three wins and one defeat. They will look to get back to their winning ways with a league trip to Helensburgh this Saturday.