Accies take all the points from Hughenden
The 1st XV win 25 – 15
The 2nd XV win 15 – 0
It was a real boost for the players to see so many Accie supporters out in force at Hughenden, however I think we all agreed that Accies did not fire on all cylinders today. Hill/Jills were clearly determined to put the unbeaten Accies to the sword. Their defensive efforts were great and they will start to win games as the season develops, if they put that amount of commitment into their performances.
Accies were first on the score board when after a period of real pressure on the Hill/Jills line and some determined defence had been kept out, Captain Stewart Gray decided to take the 3 points on offer when they were awarded their third penalty in as many minutes. 3 – 0
Accies were try to play their usual brand of open 15 man rugby, but today it was the final pass that let them down. On at least three occasions they created a beautiful overlap but the pass went behind, was dropped or missed the player completely. You could see how this was frustrating the players and was letting Hill/Jills get themselves into the game. The two sides were defending well so the game was being played between the 22 metre lines. The steady drizzle was making the ball difficult to handle for both teams and as a result there was no real continuity for the first 30 minutes.
However with the first have moving towards its close Hill/Jills pounced on a loose moment just outside Accies 22 and their second row forward found himself in the clear and scampered over for the first try of the match. Conversion successful 3 – 7
The chat in the stand was that scoring a try just before half time was always an encouragement. So Accies clearly were not going to have that, and from the kick off they regained possession, and when they were awarded a penalty, Stewart’s kick took the game to within 10 metres of the try line. The line-out successfully taken, the drive started with Mo Mustafa’s hands on the ball, they got to 5 metres from the line when Mo broke off and there was nobody going to stop him from there. He was determined to score a try on his last appearance for Accies. We wish him well in his new life in Australia. Conversion missed. 8 -7
Half – time 8 – 7
The game was by no means a flowing spectacle, with the constant drizzle making the ball difficult to handle, but Accies were still trying to play their signature 15 man, expansive rugby. The Accie coaches made a couple of changes and on came young Jack McLean. It seems to be a feature of these youngsters, that have joined the club this year, that they like to score tries. Jack is no exception, so he takes the ball from the back of a ruck and from 10 metres out rumbled his way over. Conversion good 15 – 7
Accies were finding it difficult to get into a rhythm, and Hill/Jills took full advantage and worked themselves into Accies half. Where they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out and in front of the posts they decided to take the three points. Kick was good 15 – 10
Accies pack were dominant throughout this game, at the scrum, line-out and crucially putting their opponents under pressure at the breakdown. Eventually they started to put their whole game together and this seemed to be igniting a couple of ‘handbags at dawn’ moments. From one of these the excellent referee Robert McHenry, decided Accies prop Jason Currie was in the wrong and that he would benefit from a ten minute rest. So Accies were now down to 14 men, however this does nothing to dampen Accies approach. It was not a surprise to those who had witnessed their performance last week that Accies would score during this 10 minute period. This they did when recycling ball around Hill/Jills 22 metre line and some lovely crisp passing saw Kris Mathie scoring in the corner. A superb effort and Accies were now 10 points clear.
Stewart great attempt for the extra 2 points just missed 20 – 10
Accies were now dominating the game and they would have scored more tries if they hadn’t been up against a team so determined to stop them. Accies coaches have created a game plan that seems to work; sometimes it just needs some individual magic that can turn the game. Two superb breaks from centre Scott Simmons and one from hooker Greg Valentine, raised the whole speed of the game and after one of these breaks the ball was moved to the left and with two forwards and two backs involved it was the quick hands of the forwards that gave Andy Brown a small amount of clear air and he took full advantage to score in the corner. Probably the best try of the match which was worthy of the bonus point. Conversion from wide out again just missed. 25 – 10
This Hill/Jills team will stop their losing streak and when they do the other teams in this league better watch out. They did not give up and scored a well-deserved second try in the final minute of the game.
Full-time 25 – 15
This was a tough day for Accies, the weather was a real factor and there will always be games in any season that the final pass goes astray. So it can only be a positive that this side can win when they are not firing on all cylinders. They are now 2nd in the league and have played tougher sides than Newton Stewart who are first. However as one of the coaches said to me, we take one game at a time.
Accies 2nd XV remain unbeaten and are creating real pressure on the 1st XV players. Their win today by 15 – 0 was another good day for Accies. The report to me was that they are clearly playing with the same game plan as the 1’s and that several players are looking good 1’s possibles. This is how strong clubs develop and is a good sign for Accies and also very encouraging for the whole playing group. A good 2nd XV will inevitably create a better 1’s. We are in a good place just now and it is very encouraging for everyone involved.
It was, as I have said, a great bonus to the players to see and hear a good number of supporters in the crowd. I spoke to several players after the game and they were clear that a big, noisy, support makes a difference. On behalf of the players I would take this opportunity to thank all the supporters who were at Hughenden today, it makes a real difference and they are a good team to watch.
Some great photos of the day courtesy:
Mr Bob Johnstone
Big Mo on a charge
Two of the best officials!