Accies say farewell to their inspirational Captain
Watched by his three biggest fans – Mum, Dad and the dog!
After having no rugby since the 2nd of December, last year, it would not have been surprising if the players showed some rustiness, a lack of match sharpness and general accuracy. Well on this bright, if somewhat chilly, day Accies made it clear from the start that this was going to be their day and send their Captain off to New Zealand with happy memories of his last game in Scotland for a couple of years.
Playing towards the pavilion and after Hillhead Jordanhill had missed a long distance penalty, Accies dominated the remainder of the first half and were seldom in their own half. After 6 minutes Ruaridh ‘Rob Roy’ Wilson drove off the back of a forward drive to score Accies first try. 5 – 0
Unfortunately Captain Stewart forgot to pack his kicking boots today so we will gloss over that area of the game.
Accies were seldom out of their opponents 22 and after several infringements, in an attempt to slow the game, today’s excellent referee, Lee Fish, decided enough was enough and Hill/Jills scrum half was sent for a 10 minute rest. Accies immediately took advantage and Ryan Sweeney scored the second try, off the back of a scrum, showing superb strength and determination in the process. This time Stewart was successful. 12 – 0
Now that the pack had taken control it was up to the backs to take full advantage and this, unsurprisingly, they did. With the first of several beautiful handling moves up popped Ross Cowan to take full advantage of the extra man and crossed the whitewash for the 3rd try. 17 – 0
The good sized support were being treated some superb 15 man rugby with backs and forwards keeping the opposition on the back foot both in attack and defence. Josh Waldin had been supplying his backs with some superb distribution from scrums and rucks, then in a moment of pure genius, he sold a wild dummy, which opened a gap the red sea would have been proud of, and ran in from 30 yards untouched, to score a superb individual try. This brought the score to 22 – 0
Stewart had to leave the field to have a cut on his head to be fixed by resident doctor Dr Drummond. Adam Lowrie entered the fray at 10 and before most of the crowd had realised it, Adam, normally a scrum half, took a superb pass from Josh and moved the ball to the open and doing what every Accie player had done throughout the game, he went off in support of his centres and finally took an inside pass from Chris Woods, to score what was to be the final try of the first half.
Half-time 27 – 0
The first encounter between these two sides, earlier this season, had been a very hard fought encounter, so it was something of a surprise that we had watched such a dominant performance from Accies, particularly as they had not played for such a long time, which is bound to have an effect on match fitness.
Therefore it was not too surprising that the first 15 minutes or so of the second half, were somewhat less exciting. I think it could be best described as the game having gone to sleep. Well it was brought back to life with a try that any side would be proud off. The ball was moved to the left hand corner then recycled back towards the middle of the pitch, quick recycling saw the ball in Scott Simmons hands who quickly assessed the situation and floated a beautiful floating pass to the hooker Greg Valentine who stepped right then left, looking like he was in fact a good centre, the he drew the last defender and put Chris Woods clear to cross over for a try. 32 – 0
From the kick off Hill/Jills had their best period in the game and a couple of good carries from their forwards followed by a couple of good passes, saw their strong left winger 15 metres from the line, but Accies defence was up to it.
Accies regained possession and with Stewart, now playing at inside centre, two text book passes, which were taken at full speed, Stewart went through a narrow gap and set Ross Cowan into a bit of space, not needing a second invitation he put on the after burners and 60 metres later with several opponents wondering why they had missed him, he drew the last defender and off loaded to the supporting player, Gordon McGuire who went over under the posts. The crowd clearly enjoyed this and I suspect some of the opposing supporters recognised some top quality rugby. 39 – 0
A fellow supporter, sitting beside this scribe, commented that would it not be great if the boys could make it to 50 without conceding. Well I pointed out that there was only approximately 10 minutes left so it would be difficult.
Well perhaps he knew something that the rest of us did not and virtually from the restart the ball was being moved, again from inside their 22 and with two passes, Ross Cowan was again in the clear, this time down the stand side. With little space to work in and three defenders closing in, he chipped ahead and the chase was on. Reminiscent of Scotland’s first try against Australia, his second kick bounced to the left and he was most certainly the quickest of all those players in contention. Try time again and the pace of this side was evident. 46 – 0
So could Accies score another try with 5 minutes to go? By now Ruaridh Hood had been on the pitch for 15 minutes on the left wing and from the kick off the ball was recycled, a couple of loop passes and Ruaridh popped up on the right wing, and with some lovely running, moved inwards and up popped Stewart Gray to take the pass just 10 metres inside Hill/Jill’s half. NO opponent was going to stop him, let alone get near him and as he crossed for the dream try, the crowd and his teammates went wild (very understandably) to see their captain and friend score on his last outing for Accies for the time being. Well it was not a surprise that he also converted this one. 53 – 0
So I have to admit that I was both pleased, if a little surprised, that Accies had kept themselves fit over the December break.
The 50 points marker had been reached, and with 2 minutes left on the clock, the crowd were well pleased with the quality of rugby that had been on show and were, I am sure, now thinking about the refreshment that awaited them in the clubhouse. Hill/Jills kicked off and the ball taken by Jack McLean who ran it back at the opposition, breaking several tackles in the process. When he was stopped the ball was moved right then inside to the charging Hugh Lindsay who broke the first tackle and sprinted away from inside Accies half. He romped home to score beside the posts just to put the final touch on this superb display.
Full-time 60 – 0
I am conscious that I have a tendency to highlight the positives in a game and not the negatives but today Accies produced a brand of rugby that would sit well in any national league. They use the entire pitch, with all 15 players involved, and have the ability to score from close forward driving or from their own 22 with superb running and supporting numbers.
This season this group of players have played some exciting and entertaining rugby, but they and their coaches are clearly not content to stand still and have, by today’s evidence, developing new skills and ways to utilise their skill levels.
Another successful lunch was enjoyed by all those present and a big thanks has to go out to our ‘dinner lady’ Mo Smith. Our next home game is against Perthshire and for the first time in this scribes memory we are having a timely Ladies Lunch at New Anniesland, which is a brilliant development of the Club. The male supporters will be catered for with soup and sandwiches in the bar, perfect.