Accies back to winning ways
On a somewhat overcast day at New Anniesland Accies were playing host to our friends from Inverness and it was good for this reporter to be able to get back to some good rugby banter before the match, with some of the Highland committee and supporters.
Highland kicked off playing away from the clubhouse and after some early quality play from Accies backs the Highland pack started to assert some pressure at the breakdown. It was clearly not all down to their forwards as their backline was showing why this team are well up the league and pushing for promotion. However after 20 minutes in which Accies solid defence had coped with most of what Highland had to offer, a penalty was awarded by the very competent referee for the day, Alex Pratt.
From in front of the post just outside Accies 22, the simple kick was successfully converted by their stand-off Scott Fraser.
So Accies went behind 0 – 3
This was clearly a rallying call for Accies as they lifted their game and were now applying some pressure on the opposition and trying to play the rugby we have come to expect from this talented group of players. However whether as a hangover from last week or trying to adjust to the new half back combination, with Captain Stewart Gray side-lined with concussion, but there were some simple mistakes and errors that allowed Highland to stay in the game and keep Accies at bay. However, when one of our key members of the back row, Hugh Lindsay, was injured he had to be substituted and Ker Malcolm entered the fray. He was clearly up for the contest and some clever work at the tackle area, just on Accies 10 metre line, produced turnover ball which was snapped up and after two passes Fraser Wilson found himself in space and made full use of it to score under the posts from 50 metres out. A simple conversion put Accies 4 points clear. 7 – 3
Highland had not travelled all the way from Inverness just to make up the numbers and were soon back in Accies 22. However it was clear that Accies now have a well drilled and impressive defence and despite some desperate attempts Highland were denied any further points. So a rather untidy first half came to an end with both sets of supporters thinking their side could win this.
Half-time 7 – 3
Once again Highland started the half well and were pressing Accies inside their 22, but Accies defence looked solid and Highland could not get over the tryline. Having weathered this early pressure Accies worked themselves well into Highland territory and were beginning to play some of the 15 man rugby they have been working on all season. An outstanding feature of this season has been the work rate of the Accies backrow and it was with some terrific ball carrying, by Ryan Sweeney in particular, who was ably supported by the rest of the pack that Accies worked their way into the Highland 22.
Highland got turnover ball, well inside their 22 and their stand-off decided to go for the clearing kick. This did not go into touch and Ruaridh Hood, who had come on for the injured Graham Bryden, worked some magic and went passed his opposite number with ease and accelerated down the touchline. Have worked his way inside the 22 he offloaded to the supporting Fraser Wilson who rounded off some great work and touched down for his second try. Conversion missed 12 – 3
Highland appeared to be stung into action and were quickly putting Accies under pressure inside the danger zone. A floated pass from stand-off Chris Rhodes looked to have been knocked on by the Highland centre but clearly was not in the opinion of today’s referee and the ball having bounced around Highland moved it quickly to their left winger who went over unopposed.
Conversion missed 12 – 8
From that point on it was Accies who were in the ascendance and were beginning to play some quality rugby, although at times the final pass went astray or the wrong option was taken, but the home supporters were feeling that things were looking up. It was the pocket dynamo, Ker Malcolm, who brought the home crowd to their feet, (well certainly sitting more upright) when he took a beautifully time pass to dart through the first line of defence and beat the two remaining defenders to score at the posts. A brilliant try that gave everyone hope that the bonus point was still possible.
Chris Rhodes converted 19 – 8
This was a really good rugby match, and one that all the spectators had something to enjoy. Both sides were fully committed and were using every inch of what was a beautiful surface to play rugby on. However it was Accies that were clearly looking the most likely to score and on several occasions in the last 10 minutes of the game came very close to securing the bonus point, if it had not been some determined and committed defence from the visitors. The final whistle was blown and both sets of players left the pitch knowing they had been in a real game of rugby.
Full-time 19 – 8
Despite the disappointment of the Scotland game we are all looking forward to a big day next Saturday at New Anniesland. We are hoping that anyone who is not travelling to Edinburgh will come down to New Anniesland and enjoy our Super Saturday, Italian themed day. If you are PLEASE contact Chris Jubb at firstname.lastname@example.org, it is only £10 for food and a drink!!! Great value and I am sure the atmosphere will be great.
Reporter Donald Reid and photos courtesy of our resident photographer Bob Johnstone.
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