Match report for the Shield Game against Garnock
Saturday 29th August 2015
“Wow! That was a close shave, as the man said to his Gillette Razor!”
Accies started this tough encounter at New Anniesland with the wind in their faces and before we had all got used to the fact that this memorable season had actually got underway than Garnock were pressing and some clever work between their backs and forwards allowed them to create the space for the first try and suddenly we were behind. Not the game plan I am sure Beaver had planned 0 – 7
This reporter could not believe his eyes when he watched, as virtually from the kick off Accies were pinned back into their 20 metre area and in an attempt to play themselves out of defence, put a pass into the path of a very grateful Garnock centre who could hardly believe his luck, glory time, as he ran unhindered under the posts! 0 – 14
The considerable and much appreciated Accie support were stunned and the general thought was “well at least we have 70 minutes to get back into the game”.
It took Accies approximately 3 minutes to do so and converted some excellent interplay between forwards and backs into a try out wide on the left, unfortunately too far out for our excellent kicker to make it into 7 points, however all seemed better if not well. 5 – 14
Accies were now playing as they can with commitment to the tackle and breakdown and creating passages of play between backs and forwards, which brought back memories for us all of the final few games of last season. This attitude and interplay unlocked the sturdy Garnock defence and produced what was probably the best try of the game. 12 – 14
Accies continued this aggressive play and put real pressure on the Garnock line. This was rewarded with a penalty which was duly converted, what a relief, Accies ahead for the first time and some easing of the nervousness in the stands. 15 – 14 Little did we know what was to come!
It seemed only minutes were left of the first half and we would turn around in front, a better position that we were anticipating after 10 minutes! But complacency and the seeming desire to let Garnock have a dominance at certain periods of the game allowed their pack to pick and go and take the ball up to 30 metres from our line and yes another penalty, converted with ease, so Accies finished the first half behind and I think feeling “how did we let that happen?” 15 – 17
I would like to know what Andy said to the boys at half time because after 3 minutes we looked like the side we certainly can be and started to attack Garnock from all angles. This produced a penalty far out on the right and with his kicking boots on Chris Rhodes converted, so we were back in front and looking good, relief to all! 18 – 17
Little were we to know just how important that kick was to be. However Accies came back at Garnock and applied an unbelievable amount of pressure which was being soaked up by Garnock and eased by the wasted overlaps from Accies, with missed passes and rusty execution of the basics. This was probably the story of this whole match. Early season rustiness is always a factor at this stage of the season.
Accies continued to dominate play and it was encouraging for the supporters to see glimpses of the rugby we all hope will be on show at New Anniesland this year.
A quick thinking scrum half at penalty time, a quick tap and Josh was under the posts from 30 metres out, go boy go rang out from the stand! Converted 25 – 17
This was definitely Accies best period and another great move with backs and forwards and our ever present hooker, backing up his backs, took the inside pass and scored. He will no doubt have run 40 metres and beaten a dozen tacklers to score but it was still a good try. 32 – 17
The supporters were beginning to relax and feel Accies were in control; well Garnock had other ideas, and they stormed back attacking off rucks and mauls, resulting in another try and 7 points. 32 – 24
Back came Accies and were clearly fired up. They pressurised Garnock and at one attack were halted under the Garnock posts, it seemed that a Garnock player had stop delivery illegally and was Yellow carded for his troubles.
Penalty awarded and Acciees chose to scrum, quick heal, ball moved crisply through 3 pairs of hands and veteran Mike Hermes scores in the corner. Simple but very effective! We are starting to relax in the stand and when the gifted Chris Rhodes converts from the touchline we are feeling almost confident! 39 – 24
So we move into the final 15 minutes of the game and Accies revert to their starting mode and seem to think the game was won! Garnock will never go quietly, as we know from last season and storm back at the Accie defence. It felt a bit like watching the 10,000 metre runner who thinks he has won the gold and slows down, only to be passed in the final yard and loses the race! Well up to the line come the Garnock team and by deed of effort and commitment score two tries in very quick time 39 – 38
What a final 10 minutes we are in for. Accies seem shell shocked and Garnock are baying for glory!
Back into Accie territory and Garnock are awarded yet another penalty. To the right of the post, this time and perfect for a left footed kicker, YES perfect but 35 metres out, and a bit windy! The stand holds its breath, up steps the kicker and hits it perfectly, it sails high and looks certain to go comfortably between the posts, wait, it is caught in the wind, then veers slightly to the right, what next, it hits the upright and bounces off, and we can all breath again!
The referee indicates 2 minutes and we all think only 2 minutes to go, but in fact it is 2 minutes for the yellow carded player before he can return. Garnock have won the 10 minutes when they were down to 14 players 14 – 7 and it could have been 17 -7.
The final 7 minutes of this pulsating game were played at a desperate pace. Garnock throwing everything they had at Accies and Accies defending for their lives and probably wondering why they had allowed themselves to get into that position!
The drama was not over and after Accies mounted a strong attack into Garnock territory and been awarded a penalty, Garnock somehow managed to regain possession and drive the ball deep into Accies territory, “OH NO not again”. However they missed again, the gods were smiling!
I have to say as a man of reasonable age my heart will not stand too many more games like this!
This is a big season for Accies and there was a real hope that this could be a great start, well
Garnock had other ideas and it has to be said could well, if not deservedly, have won this game.
There were however several moments during the game when this scribe saw skills and commitment that
gave me real confidence to encourage you all to make the effort to come out to Anniesland and travel with
the team which will without doubt do this 150th year’s celebration credit!
So I look forward to seeing you all at New Anniesland next Saturday the 5th of September when we play
Lenzie in the next round of the Shield!
Let’s all get behind this team and make this special season a real success, your support on a Saturday
makes a REAL difference and is greatly appreciated by the players and coaching staff!
“The Players are striving to be the best they can – I hope we can strive to be the best supporters we can”
Mr Summers was his usual consummate self and helped this end to end game flow as it should. He kept up with play and kept players and supporters aware of decisions without dominating the game, so a really good 8/10 for Andy and we look forward to welcoming him back to NA.