Conditions were atrocious at Inverleith on the day. I arrived expecting to meet an exodus from the car park, so convinced that a sensible game of rugby couldn’t be played. The starting whistle sounded over the wall instead.
The pitch made a sloshing sound as the game moved up and down though the wave was clearly breaking harder against the home side who were keen to play a kicking game in return.
The visitors pressed a good size advantage, gratefully receiving the ball in their own 22 and working their way through the pitch. There were plenty of rewards on offer at the finish line as passes stuck in the way that tackles didn’t. Fourteen points were retrieved from the home side in the first fifteen minutes.
Nineteen points were collected before five were deservedly returned by Melville. Plenty more were on offer as footing, grip, and even visibility were challenging throughout the first half. Slips and fumbles were largely unpunished, the relentless drive of the Glasgow team was winning the day.
The home side ended the half throwing out ideas, looking for inspiration to swim against a 5 – 24 deficit.
Visible disgust was apparent from the home sides as they ran from the changing rooms to find out the rain was still pelting down in sheets. I shared the sentiment. If it affected their second half game plan then it wasn’t apparent how.
Melville found a match in the second half that was out of sight in the first. Pace and accuracy followed in conditions that promoted neither. They were rewarded with an early 5 points for their efforts though they won them seemingly with ease.
In the twenty minutes that followed it was up to the visitors to keep hold of the game. Fourteen points was the buffer to be overcome; the home side looked capable of it and then some.
GHA showed that they could hold their ground against a rallied home side. The visitors even fought back to put away another 7 points and put the game beyond doubt.
Melville fought hard for a final 7 in the late stages of the game to leave the score 17 – 31. A mark of how well the Glasgow group held the game through the second half. Melville played to deserve a much closer finish, but the first 40 minutes were too many to overcome.
A tough fought match for both sides, a convincing win for the visitors, tough tuition for the home team. Though how either side managed to put together a game on the day I’ll never work out.