Is there anything finer of a Saturday afternoon than leaving the dreich city far behind and travelling down to Ayrshire to join old friends down at the Fullarton Estate to watch a game or rugby? Well, I for one think not! The sun shone (for most of the game), the Marr faithful were out in good voice and even Dickson Brown and recently retired David “DC” Calder pitched up to lend a bit of support for the boys – the stage was set!
But given the absolute hammering we received at the hands of Marr last season at the same venue, one or two of the Accies touchline stalwarts looked a more than just a bit apprehensive that the “Marr Machine” would do the same to us once again: and after 2 mins, and a well-worked Marr score, that apprehension began to spread amongst the small band of the Accies tribe congregating.
However, you know what? After leaking that try, we got stuck in. And I mean, we really got stuck in! Recognise the names, Ker Malcolm, Jamie Yacoubian, Gavin Paul, Chris Johnstone, Kieran MacDonald, Calum Dalrymple, Jamie Watson or Chris Scott – well, shame on you because these are just a few of the youngsters that took the field today in an Accies jersey and YOU should have been out to support them. With an average age of just 19, these youngsters played a real part in making a game of it and though we tired in the 4th quarter, it’s clear we’re moving in the right direction.
And it’s not as if the rest of the team was stuffed full of experience either ! With Rooster, Classic, Brodie, Gus, Yankee Brad, Lloyd and Kenny B (making a welcome, if cameo, return to the fray) – average age 21 and a wee bit! – it was always going to be the case that we were up against it! But we gave Marr a good test for the most of it, and Coups and GB learned that wee bit more about their charges ahead of league action in just 2 weeks time.
Make no mistake however – Marr were very good. They have a physicality and “spirit” about their play that Head Coach Craig Redpath has built and honed over the last 4 seasons. Marr aren’t the team they are by accident, and we can learn much from them both on and off the park. But it was genuinely pleasing to see how our coaching staff are starting to mould what is essentially a bunch of rookies in senior rugby into a side that is undoubtedly capable of playing some very attractive rugby. Remember folks, Rome was not built in a day!
And what was the score? Well – and I’m being totally frank with you dear reader – I couldn’t give a toss. Sorry. The reality was it was quite a lot to them and 2 scores to us, but as with last week, the scoreline wasn’t really what mattered. What DID matter was more game time for our youngsters who have all worked extremely hard over the close-season, an opportunity for them to see and experience the levels we need to aspire to and – importantly – the opportunity for some of us “blazers” to have a few beers amongst old pals!
Our best from everyone at New Anniesland to all at Marr for the season ahead, and our grateful thanks to them for hosting today’s game. Next week’s another pre-season fixture away against Glenrothes, who play in the RBS Caley Div 2. Their pre-season seems to be going quite well judging by the totally unpartisan reports on their website, so it looks like a lively encounter can be expected for the boys. Thereafter, the following Saturday, it’s league action at home against old adversaries, Killie – so no excuses and get out and support the boys!