West of Scotland............... 8

GHK........... 34

THE trouble with amalgamations, of course, is that you would never see games like this, but no matter the huffing and puffing it is still a fact that neither of these teams would survive in the first division without an injection of talent.

Anyone writing a script before the game would have talked about West's need for points in their promotion chase, and how wrong that would have been. Nevertheless, a true Glasgow derby was fought hard and viciously at times and kept a big crowd happy, but must have left West coaches and players scratching their heads.

For sure, never had they come up against a tackling back row such as GHK's, with Fergus and Murray Wallace, helped by Andy Ness, more than able at bottling up any attacks. Nor had they been put down so easily in midfield by centres Ally Common and Grant Watson.

But the plain fact of the game is that while West played fancy rugby and recycled the ball with balletic precision and popped the odd pass, they forgot, at the same time, to make ground. That, and they failed to play the conditions, which consisted largely of a howling gale blowing down the pitch which George Breckenridge used in the second half, and hadn't been used in the first.

There was talk, too, of the West members of the Scottish squad being exhausted from their Murrayfield training, certainly the pack did things in ones and twos.

And, when things went wrong and Alan Bulloch was being knocked down in the centres, there appeared to be no plan B for West and they failed to get the ball to James Craig. ''It wasn't the losing, it was the manner of losing.'' said West coach Sandy Service afterwards.

Full back Dave Barrett agreed: ''We were dragged into playing the wrong game and they tackled us well.''

Two anonymous young ladies cornered your correspondent on the way out and complained bitterly that the ball had not made its way along the backs to young Craig, saying that West always use the crash ball in midfield.

There was some good rugby on offer, and whereas West were mighty confused, GHK took the short route, ran at James Craig to drag him in off his wing, double teamed him when West had the ball, used the wind, and fed the ball to Geoff Caldwell and Gerry Hawkes on the wings, both gentlemen engendering wobbly knees in their opponents.

Kenny Wilson slapped back some choice ball, as did West's second row of Guy Perrett and Scott McCechnie, Scott Hutton was out of position in the second row but is a rumbustuous lad, and the back row held sway.

It looked good for the visitors as a neat blind side scrum move released Cammy Little - who had another fine game - for a try after only four minutes.

The only score coming West's way, despite a the gale at their backs, was a kick from Dave Barrett. Instead they chose to run penalties.

Soon after the break, West's stand off and local rugby league development officer Graeme Thompson, broke left but as he was tackled, his loose pass was kicked ahead by Caldwell who followed the ball to the try line.

Andy Ness ran over for his try following a ruck set up by his forwards on the heels of a Nicky Barrat break. With a commanding 19-7 lead you could see the grins of pleasure on the GHK bench, yes that was Walter Malcolm, old Silver Fox himself, looking very happy with the way things were going.

But then, after a poor clearance kick from Breckenridge, Alan Bulloch gave the ball to James Craig. Now, Craig may have been going backwards at the time, but that was no excuse and he turned on the after burners and went round Gerry Hawkes to score.

With Cammy Little dictating play - despite a fiery game from his opposite number Fraser Stott - GHK were clearly enjoying themselves. The long striding Little spotted a gap when awarded a penalty, Ally Common took the ball upfield, and Gerry Hawkes dived over. Ness took his second try after two minutes of injury time.

This was some result for GHK, who, having beaten all their local rivals recently, could justifiably argue that they are the top side in Glasgow. West, though, can still go up if they beat Glasgow Accies and Dundee, their two remaining fixtures.

SCORERS: West of Scotland - Barrett 1p, Craig 1t. GHK - Ness 2t, Little 1t, Caldwell 1t, Hawkes 1t, Breckenridge 3c 1p.

West of Scotland - Barrett; Craig, Greenshields, Bulloch, Williamson; Thompson, Stott; Orr, Bulloch, Jamieson, Perrett, McKechnie, McLeish, Shaw, Lonergan.

GHK - Breckenridge; Caldwell, Common, Watson, Hawkes; Barratt, Little; McIlwham, Docherty, McIntyre (Blackie 40m), Hutton, Wilson, Wallace (Malcolm 77 m), Ness, Wallace.

Referee - Muir (Langholm).