A Good Day for Accies Rugby
The 1st XV travelled to Perth, to take on Perthshire RFC and the 2nd XV (The Bobcats) travelled to Hamilton RFC. Before today both teams had played 4 and won 4 with bonus points; and today both teams made it 5 out of 5. This must be one of the best starts Accies rugby have made in recent years. However it is clear from talking to the coaches and players that they are taking nothing for granted and are trying to learn from every mistake made in each game. The players and coaches are always focusing on the next game and preparing hard during the week. With numbers really good at training, the coaches have a much better feel for what they can do and are able to prepare both teams for the coming Saturday.
The IRB have decided, in their infinite wisdom, to change the laws at the breakdown, tackle area, and Accies seem to be upsetting some of the referees with how they are interpreting these changes. Our coach’s approach is very positive and they can be seen, post-match, in conversations with the referees to find out how we can resolve this area of our game and reduce our penalty count.
The Club are very fortunate to have reached a point in our history when the atmosphere within the whole Club is so positive. We do not have the traditional 1st XV and 2nd XV, with the second’s coaches having to scramble about on a Friday night looking for any available players. We have a squad of players who are all looking to play and win, using the style and game plan set out by the coaches. You could say we have two 1st XV’s and every player in the squad happy to take the field representing Accies rugby.
The first report, this week, is from a very special guest reporter who was watching the Bobcats on their visit to Hamilton RFC:
Hamilton 3XV v Glasgow Accies 2XV
At the start of this week’s fixtures in BT West Reserve League Div. 1, Hamilton deservedly sat atop having averaged 80 points in their first 4 games. So then, a trip to the vast, open savanna of the back pitches at the Palace Sports Ground on a bright if breezy afternoon was never going to be a straight-forward affair for our boys.
Coach Campbell, having watched the opposition warm-up confidently predicted that “We’ll move the ball, stretch ‘em out wide and rack up the points!!” But having sustained a veritable “smashing” up front in the first 10 minutes, his pearls of wisdom seemed somewhat less than prophetic. Even Zin-Zan appeared a bit doubtful!!
From the first whistle we were undoubtedly under the cosh as Hamilton, playing to their direct, if less than fluid game plan, occupied our 22 and mounted charge after relentless charge. Nerve-jangling though those minutes were, gradually the tide turned and, having won a penalty, Rhodsey cleared well. The boys clearly took heart from that and from then on, a combination of some decent lines being run by each and every one of our backs, a lot of hard-work in the loose by our back 5 and a solid platform in the set piece from the front 3, Hamilton rarely crossed our 10m line for the rest of the half.
Our first points came from a decent and confidently struck penalty from Rhodesy at the end of the first quarter, and that was followed by our first converted try from Michael after some neat handling by the forwards. Rather than taking their foot off the collective gas, the guys then seemed to step up a gear with the backs both handling well and using the boot to gain some good field position. The whitewash was crossed for 2 more tries as we dominated the second quarter, the first by Jazzy who bulldozed over between the sticks from 10 meters despite the desperate attentions of 4 defenders. The second, nicely finished by James, came after a line break and 25m mazy, if somewhat laconic stroll towards the line by Harry.
So it was 24 – nil to the visitors, come turnaround time and Messer’s, Campbell, Simmers & McCready were undoubtedly quite pleased, even if the chat in the huddle was all about “focus”, “support” and doing “nothing stupid” in the coming half for, if not secure, we were definitely in the driving seat of this match.
But rugby is never a terribly predictable game and, not least because our ref appeared to be intent on excluding us from any form of genuine competition at the breakdown throughout the second half, a raft of penalties, against us, followed and certainly gave Hamilton heart for the remaining tussle. Consequently, the third quarter ebbed and flowed, both packs putting in workman-like effort without either really dominating. Hamilton did have 50% of the possession in this period and though their backs did make 2 or 3 half breaks, cover was never far away and embarrassment was averted. The BP try came from Harry at the end of the third quarter when he collected a loose ball on the blind side that seemed to squirt inexplicably from a ruck, and he promptly scampered across the 22 for our fourth.
Credit to Hamilton though, for they kept at it and deservedly got their single score of the afternoon at the start of the 4th quarter. Their forwards gained good field position after a lineout on our 10m line and after 4 or 5 repelled attempts on our line, moved it wide and their winger went over in the corner. They’ll have felt they should have got more from their efforts, not least because we then promptly went back up the park from the restart and rubbed a bit of salt in their wounds – James went over for no. 5 to round off a very pleasing, if not entirely faultless performance by 34 pts to 5.
It was a bold man who called the “Man” of this match from our ranks, for each and every one of the squad played a part in what, from the result alone, looked like a pretty comfortable victory. Yes, a few mistakes were made but what was more than just a little heartening was how each and everyone played for each other for the full 80. There’s a genuine “spirit” amongst this young squad, a fact that was never better exemplified when in the dying minutes of the game, Rory C charged back some 40m to haul down a Hamilton break when it seemed a score against was inevitable.
If you haven’t watched our 2’s this season, I’d urge you to – not because they “deserve” it (though this commentator believes they actually do), but because you’ll be entertained and no little impressed if you do take the time to do so!!
The question is: ‘Is he taking it out or putting it in?
Thank you Mark for a wonderful report, it is clear that the Bobcats are well worth a watch!
The visit to Perth was perhaps a little more frustrating but still produced another bonus point victory. It is always difficult to play against a somewhat disjointed team and that is especially true when you have a dominant scrum that is neutered when the scrums have to go uncontested, just ask any front row forwards. More below!
The coaches are in the positive, yet very difficult, position when so many players are putting their hand up for selection and you having two undefeated sides. However after the 2’s very impressive win at Hamilton this week could prove to be a very difficult one when selection comes around. It is the sign of a strong club that has these kind of problems. Modern rugby does produce injuries so having a big squad is a massive bonus. Every player is working hard for his team mates in whichever side he is selected with a view to success for the whole Club.
I would like to open this report with a big thank you to all the supporters who came to Perth in good voice and concur with Mark that watching either of these teams will be an afternoon well spent.
From the kick off, Accies were on the front foot and were moving the ball in the style we are all enjoying this season. Some great work and movement from Gordon McGuire, playing for the first time at fullback today, was good to see. Accies were stretching the Perthshire defence from one side of the pitch to the other and when Gordon got his chance he weaved his way close to the line on the right and when he was finally stopped the ball was quickly recycled and moved through several pairs of hands, both backs and forwards, the ball found the grateful Jack McCready on hand to romp over from 10 metres out on the left side. Great rugby to watch.
Jamie Loomes successful with conversion from the touchline 7 – 0
Perthshire had been under pressure from the first minute but from the kick off the ball was spilled and the referee decided that Accies had infringed at the breakdown and it was a no brainer for Perthshire and they took the 3 points on offer. 7 – 3
Accies were clearly stung by this and immediately attacked the kick off and were inside their opponents 22 once again. Quick ball from a dominant scrum saw a superb piece of centre play, Scott Simmons, who was posing the opposition a great many questions, ran a line which drew in the opposition centres and when they were committed he released his centre partner Graham Bryden to break through and score under the posts. This pair are beginning to build a very strong understanding and are well equipped both in attack and defence. Jamie successful with conversion 14 – 3
At this point Accies were clearly dominating the game. Their forwards were in control of the set piece and the pace of the backs was asking serious questions of their opponents. It was the very dynamic Jack Mclean, who was having a good game, was on hand to finish off the move. This was Accies 3rd try, with 20 minutes on the clock.
JamieLoomes was once again on target with the conversion 21 – 3
Perthshire were trying hard to get back into the game and, with 5 minutes left on of the first half, mounted a serious assault on Accies line. However Accies did appear to have things well under control until a spilled pass created something of apanic on the far side of the pitch and the ball fell very kindly for Perthshire and quick hands saw them with a clear overlap on the right. The advantage was pounced upon and their winger crossed under the posts. Conversion successful 21 – 10
Accies were clearly stung by this, and from the kick off, they put real pressure on the catcher and managed to created turnover ball. They used this to go down the blind side and when that was stopped it was moved open. This ball was quickly transferred along the line and who but our hooker Greg Valentine, was on hand to romp over in the corner. Agreat response and gave the supporters a feeling that more was to come.
A very difficult kick, from wide out on the right was just missed 26 – 10
The end of the first half was quickly indicated by the referee and both sides looked to regroup. Accies were clearly dominating up front and it was felt by the crowd that Perthshire pack was bound to tyre.
Half-time 26 – 10
The second half looked like it was going to be a repeat of the first, with Accies pack dominating the tight and pushing their opposition their opposition off their own put in. The backs, whilst clearly not firing on all cylinders, did look extremely dangerous when they were in full flight. After about 5 minutes of the second half gone, Perthshire’s hooker was injured and had to leave the field. The referee was told that the back row player who had been replaced earlier in the game, after getting a bad knock on the head, had been their replacement prop, so they did not have a complete front row. The result was that we went to uncontested scrums. As so often happens in this situation the game lost a great deal of its structure and Accies seemed to struggling more than Perthshire. The next 15 minutes of the game saw Perthshire up their game and with fresh substitutes on the pitch their forwards, now not under pressure at scrum time, seemed to have got a second wind. Accies defensive structure has been really good this season and they were stopping everything the opposition was now throwing at them. Their backs were now able to mount attacks from a static scrum and guaranteed possession. This was converted into pressure inside Accies half and for the only period in the contest Perthshire were on top. Their reward was a try in the right hand corner.
Too far out for the kicker 26 – 10
Once again this seemed to ignite Accies and they were soon back into their stride. Two great runs by Chris Woods were pulled up just inside Perthshire’s 22. Another great run by Stewart Gray, from well inside his own half, was supported by Chris Wood and this time he stepped inside the defensive player and with a beautiful offload found the irrepressible and dynamic Ker Malcolm to finish off the move under the posts.
This was duly made up to 7 points by Jamie Loomes 33 – 15
Another bonus point win but I am sure the coaches will be looking to their charges to improve on several areas of their game.
Full-time 33 – 15
I hope the preceding reports will give all our supporters the incentive to come to New Anniesland next week when the 1’s will be taking on Orkney, with a 1.30pm kick off and the 2’s will be taking on East Kilbride with a 3.00pm kick off, a veritable feast of rugby. To start the Saturday properly we will be having a prosecco brunch, Bacon rolls and a few glasses of bubbly, before the Orkney match.
For more information please contact Mo Smith – email address Mo51@hotmail.co.uk
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible next Saturday.
More photos available on the website – soon!