After the 3 plus hours in the bus Accies arrived at the superb new facility at Highland RFC. A 4g pitch and beautiful new clubhouse. The handful of Accies supporters, who had made the trip, were confident this pitch would really suit Accies style of 15 man rugby.
The only factor that was possibly a bit of a leveller was a fairly fierce wind blowing from one end to the other. Accies started the game with the wind at their backs and were 5 – 0 up within minutes of the start. Some good work after the kick off the ball was laid on a plate by the pack and with two beautiful passes Ross Cowan was in the clear to draw the fullback and put Scott Simmons clear to score. A tough day for kickers but conversion missed 5 – 0
The Highland pack was clearly their great strength and it was the forwards that started to get them back into the contest. It was also clear that today’s referee was going to punish whatever he saw as infringements around the ruck, from either side. Two such penalties allowed Highland to get into Accies 22 and from the lineout they tried to drive Accies back, however they were penalised for an infringement at the following ruck. From well inside the 22, Jamie Loomes put in a long clearance kick which did not go into touch but rolled into the in-goal area and the Highland defender touched it down for a 22. However after, what seemed like a period of discussion with the Highland players, the referee decided that it should be a scrum back at the place the kick was taken from, despite the obvious fact that the ball was not dead until the Highland player had touched it down.. This seemed to confuse Accies but ignite their opponents and from the scrum their talented No8 picked and two missed tackles saw him romp home unopposed, conversion good and Accies were down 5 – 7
Accies regrouped and were once again on the attack and after some typical work from both forwards and backs and despite some heroic tackling from Highland a gap was created and the pass was collected by Jack McCready to score in the corner. Again conversion missed 10 – 7
It has to be said that with the wind behind them Accies were giving away too many penalties and on occasions a poor final pass was costing them. It is never easy travelling away and you have to bring your best game to this sort of encounter.
Highland were defending as if their lives depended on it but Accies were guilty of allowing their opponents the opportunity to stop their momentum by their penalty count.
Half time came and Accies lead of 10 – 7 looked fragile to say the least.
It was also clear from the start of the second half that Highland had belief that this game could be theirs. Their large numbers of supporters were being given a lot to cheer about. They were saying that the team had been poor over the last three games but when they put it together they really tested sides. Well they were clearly up for the next 40 minutes. After about 10 minutes of working to keep Accies pinned into their own half, a good break by their centre 35 metres out saw the ball moved outside then inside to create a really good score.
Their kicker had clearly more practice in these conditions – conversion good 10 – 14
Accies were clearly trying hard and most certainly did not lack commitment, but again penalties, at vital moments, were costing them momentum. Highland it has to be said did not really threaten the Accies line again but another penalty in front of the posts was a very easy 3 points. 10 – 17
The wind was not helping the flow of the game and although Accies kept trying to play attacking rugby, from inside their half, the game was not a great spectacle. Accies did work themselves back into the Highland 22 and looked as if they could scramble a draw but again, sorry for if it seems I am repeating myself, another penalty relieved the pressure for Highland.
I remember listing to an interview with the great All Black, Ritchie McCaw, in which he said ‘you learn very little from victories but you can learn a great deal from defeats’. I am sure both the coaches and players will have learned a great deal from this encounter!
Final score 10 – 17
Next week sees Gordonians visit New Anniesland and please all note that the kick off time will be 2.00pm.
Also there is to be a lunch next Saturday and please let Mo Smith know if you are able to come – firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope as many of you as possible will be able to come for the lunch and support the boys. We are still top of the league and have two tough games to come to finish off the first half of the season. I know the players will be keen to make up for Saturday.
2nd XV update:
It was a most successful afternoon at New Anniesland where the ‘Bobcats’ or 2nd XV took on a tough Dumfries 2nd’s and came away with a very good bonus point win. 27 -17 and apparently there were several players putting their hand up for promotion. The pack had an average age well below 22 and this can only be a good pointer to the development of rugby at Accies. They are in 2nd place in Regional reserve league West 1 only one point behind Cartha Queens Park. Keep an eye on this team they are developing a serious head of steam.