It was 22 degrees down in Killie for the September league opener of our 2014/15 season but the ambient temperature wasn’t the only thing that kept the supporters on the touchline “toasty”!
From the off, Accies attacked with shape and purpose, forwards and backs combining well to secure ball, distribute effectively and dominate their opponents upfront, in the loose, in the midfield – well, to be honest, we dominated everywhere on the park really. Tries rained down at regular intervals throughout the first half, pleasingly from both forwards and our the back division.
At half-time we’d already secured the bonus point with a 0 – 38 lead and the bookies weren’t taking any more bets on who was going to win this match: the only question was, just by “how much?”.
In truth, the rollicking the Killie coach gave his charges during the interval did produce a response and they hammered our line for the first 10 minutes of the second half, admittedly with the draught of two or three generous 50/50 decisions from ref Rae at their backs. But your boys held firm, resolute even, with the forwards especially knocking back with interest-added all that their opponents had to throw at them.
“Normal” service was resumed however on 55 minutes when we broke from defence, battered our way up the park and secured a further score that allowed us to regain both our composure and our grip on the game. There then followed a further 27 unanswered points: job done!
This scribe is tempted then to tell you then that this was 40 minutes of second half rugby without real incident, that we ran-out quite deserved winners – which, ultimately, we did – unaccompanied by any real altercation or much further commotion. Apart from our further scores that is, which incidentally included one particularly impressive touchdown by debutant Hemana Kaiwharawhara Patiana Takuira-Mitai (yes, you peasants, that’s his full name) that completely disproved the old rugby dictum that a) props don’t have hands, b) can’t run lines and c) are too slow to be in the right place at the right time!!!
But, if he did that ladies and gentlemen, he’d be lying to you. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it were, however it happened, whatever preceded it, one almighty “brew-ha-ha” erupted on 65 minutes. And all in front of the “great and the good” congregating within Bellsland’s stand. Head-locks were engaged, fists flew, players called into question the parentage of their opposite number, and supporters all got thoroughly “exercised”: in fact, Messers. Cowan, Frame & Bryden (gosh, there’s a legal firm for you!) all really got quite agitated!!
Now, if any true and genuine supporter of Scottish club rugby cares to look in the shaving mirror in the morning after such an occurrence, he’s actually going to smile to himself – in all honesty, is there anything more pleasing to know than “15 of my guys” stood up to and didn’t back down from “15 of their guys”? No, there isn’t. And that applies as much in West 1 as it does in the 6 Nations, to every Accie in attendance today as it does every Killie supporter that was present. Yes, we had a “brawl”, and we did have one in the truest sense of the word and “No”, it wasn’t a particularly edifying sight. But there was nothing vicious, nothing nasty and nothing (if we’re being honest with ourselves) malevolent about the affair.
Yes, any such occurrence that results in 3 red cards – 1 for us & 2 for them – is one that’s a bit more than “handbags” being thrown. But before the lambasting starts, before individual players (whether in blue or in white) are singled out for opprobrium, before we get to then avoidable “he said, she said” stage of things that will inevitably follow, let’s remember that today no blood was spilt (literally), nobody came off injured after the event in question, and players from both sides genuinely cheered their opposition off the park come the final whistle.
“Perspective”, ladies and gentlemen, a little “perspective” is what’s required in whatever may be meted out. We all have more important things to concern ourselves with.
Ref Watch: resplendent in pink this week, ref Eddie Rae did a remarkably good job in this scribe’s eyes, and managed a generally fast and flowing game for the spectating public. Yes, he had to brandish a few cards – a yellow for Killie just before HT and the aforementioned reds – so it wasn’t an easy gig for the “Man-in-the-Middle” today. But in the cold light of an autumnal Sunday morning, supporters of each side have to ask themselves, did he have any other option but to referee and act as he “saw it”? The answer’s obviously “NO!” So good on him for that, for being decisive in the heat of the “affair” and a positive 8 / 10 to the start of his season!
MOTM: to be honest, take your pick from any of the Accies players listed. Capt. Walker reflected calm throughout the 80, Stu Gray pretty much commanded proceedings, Ross did his stuff, debutants Rich and Hem made their mark and B&G in the midfield both attacked and battered down anything that came within their reach despite the incessant niggling. But, the “Wee Man” was truly outstanding today, everywhere when needed, winning ball, spoiling ball and having “fun” all game long: step up CalDal, our first 2014/15 League MOTM.
And finally, from everybody at the Club, we all wish HRH Mrs.Joan Howie, Accies very own “Supporters’ Queen”, a speedy recovery after her mis-hap today – we all hope to see you in a couple of weeks Joan!