THE newly-formed Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians (GHA) combine made a thoroughly convincing start to their Premier Two promotion campaign by outgunning championship contenders Ayr 23-20 in a Braidholm thriller.
Brett Begley and JohnFitzpatrick claimed the crucial tries for the team created by the summer amalgamation of Hutchesons’ Aloysians and Glasgow Southern. And a series of five kicks by Jim Noonan proved equally important.
Damian Kelly bagged a brace of touchdowns for the Millbrae men, while Stuart Magorian marked his return from northern Italian club Treviso with their other score.
Andy Reid kicked the other points - but Ayr lost their desperate but commendable gamble in running four close-range penalties in a bid to grab a win. The all-important late try proved elusive, and GHA were able to celebrate a winning debut in the competition.
Fallen giants Watsonians looked impressive as they powered past Grangemouth 31-13 at Myreside.
Their tries were scored by Graham Haley, Stuart Tindall, Richard McEown and Ross Halliday, while Bernie Hennessy landed a penalty and four conversions.
Stevie Wood squeezed over for Grangemouth’s sole touchdown, the impressive Kenny Halliday booting the remainder of their points.
Gala claimed the spoils 14-9 against Kirkcaldy in the battle of the relegated sides at Netherdale.
Calum MacRae provided the platform for success with an early try, before Jackson Berry and Andy McLean shared the decisive kicks.
The Fifers lacked a cutting edge and had to rely on marksman Robbie Gilmour, who slotted three penalties.
Veteran Adam Roxburgh was the man who mattered as Kelso edged out newly-promoted Biggar 16-10 at Poynder Park.
Roxburgh made the crucial opening breakthrough with a touchdown, with Bob Hogarth killing off the Lanarkshire side with three penalties and a conversion. Ewan McAlpine went over for Biggar, who also had a conversion and penalty through Murray Thomson.
Murrayfield got the better of Selkirk 17-10 on the National Stadium back pitch - with Carl McWilliam the destroyer-in-chief.
goaled their tries by Ian Henderson and himself, then banged over a vital penalty. Selkirk replied with touchdowns from Billy Gentleman and Craig Hunter - but their day of misery was complete when skipper Cammy Cochrane was stretchered off and taken to hospital with a rather serious-looking knee injury.
In the battle of the newcomers to Division Three, West came out on top against Dunfermline by 26-19 thanks to tries from Simon Bashford, Aaron Collins and Ewan Smith but mostly to the boot of Bashford who landed a conversion and three penalties.
Dunfermline hung in and tries from Jon Petty, Richie Givens and Neil Harris with a couple of Colin Brown conversions gained them the bonus.
Dundee romped to a 52-0 win over Corstorphine with full back Shannon Wilson running in a hat-trick and lock Richie Hawkins grabbing a couple of tries.
Neil Gallagher converted five with Wilson finishing a glory day with a conversion.
It was close at Inverleith where Stewart’s-Melville led by 5-3 at the break over East Kilbride and held that two-point lead to win 18-16.
Gavin Sharp and Scott Bownman had the tries for Stew-Mel with Bowman landing a conversion and a couple of penalties with Fraser Stott’s try for EK converted by Gordon Steven who added three penalties.
Elsewhere, a Craig McGeary hat trick for Musselburgh helped them to a 36-19 win over Premier newcomers Ross High while four penalties by Scott Brownlie added to Rhodri Thomas’s try gave Haddington a narow 17-15 win over Edinburgh Accies who claimed tries from Rory Boyd and James Oliphant with David Roberts landing a conversion and a penalty.