Match Report for Saturday 12th January 2019
Accies RFC v Falkirk RFC at New Anniesland
“Accies play for 8o minutes to take the points”
Accies injury issues continued as Greg Valentine and Ryan Sweeney were injured last week and with Chris Goodfellow, Grant Drummond, Will Brown and Calum Duke all unavailable, they took the field with a young prop playing his first game for the 1’s.
Our visitors today won the first encounter, by one point, so the Accies players were keen to make amends for that defeat. However it was Falkirk who came out of the blocks with a real spirit and determination. This was a game they saw as a winnable and possibly ‘must win’ one as victory would put real distance between them and the bottom 5 clubs.
They were running hard with ball in hand and their forwards were supporting the ball carrier and dominating the early exchanges at the breakdown. So it was not a surprise when their exceptionally fast outside centre romped home when the Falkirk back division completed a training ground move superbly to score under the posts, making the conversion simple. So before some of the supporters had settled to the game it was 0 – 7
It was not long before the same player took full advantage of an overlap to scamper past the last cover defence to score out wide on the right. A tough conversion was missed but this had clearly given the visitors real confidence. 0 – 12
I think there were a few Accies supporters starting to think the worst and Falkirks’ thinking this was going to be a romp in the park and a bonus point win.
However, the Accies players started to take a bit more control of the forward encounters and the backs were clearly adjusting to the new line up. Falkirk were thwarting all the efforts of the Accies forwards and backs to get something on the scoreboard, with some aggressive tackling and competitiveness at the breakdown. It did appear that Accies were not going to reduce the deficit before the half time whistle. However with the clock ticking down the backs took control and from ball produced by the pack 5 metres from the Falkirk line the ball was moved wide to Ross Cowan who drew the final two defenders and with another lovely offload he put Kris Mathie clear to romp home in the right hand corner. A superb conversion by Gordon McGuire made it 7 – 12.
That was the forty minutes up but due to a number of injuries there was another 8 tough minutes for Accies to survived as Falkirk came back at them with renewed aggression and camped themselves on Accies try line for most of that time. The Accies defence during this period was exceptional and they managed to keep out the opposition despite their best efforts.
Half – time 7 – 12
The second half started with Accies playing some really good rugby but still not able to break a very tenacious and committed Falkirk defence.
Falkirk then put together a good period of attacking rugby and were finally inside Accies 22. They were kept out and it looked as if Accies might have weathered the storm, but from some quick ball and good transference they produced a simple two on one overlap out wide on the left and one of their substitutes crossed for a well worked try. Tough conversion was missed but Falkirk were 10 points clear. 7 – 17
The question was clearly in most spectators’ minds that Accies had struggled to break down a stoic Falkirk defence and they now had to score twice and convert one to win the game with the game well into the second half.
Accies were gaining momentum and setting up more penetrative attacks and after some good work by the forwards and running from Josh and Kris Mathie they were ensconced in the Falkirk 22. Accies tried to move the ball wide from a ruck on the Falkirk 22 but the Falkirk centre, who had caused Accies so many problems earlier on, saw his chance and collected a superb interception. Clear with 70 metres to go he set off and had only one man to beat, however that man happened to be Ross Cowan who hunted him down and stopped the move 30 metres from Accies line. Falkirk were still in control and recycled the ball and moved the ball wide into the midfield but Gordon McGuire was alert and quickly raced into the gap and caught the ball 10 metres inside Accies half, the cover defence got to him just inside their half but Gordon offloaded the ball to the supporting Scott Simmons who raced past the Falkirk defenders to run 50 metres for a superb try. Conversion again successful and Accies were now within 3 points. 14 – 17
Was this the turning point for Accies and could they even gain an unexpected victory that seemed very far away 20 minutes earlier? Well up stepped the ever competitive Kris Mathie who took a superb turnover ball inside Accies half and scampered off down the touchline. As he saw the cover defence homing in he chipped ahead but a late tackle took him out. The referee clearly saw what had happened and had his hand out for the penalty, but like any good referee does, he waited for advantage. Well Josh Waldin, scampering up in support kept going, unlike some of the other players, needing no second invitation as raced from 30 metres out to beat everyone to the touch down for another spectacular try. Conversion by Gordon McGuire was again successful. Accies were now 4 points ahead. 21 – 17
Accies were clearly now in positive mode and the pack was causing havoc at scrum time and in the loose. The ball was being moved well by the backs and they were really starting to gain momentum. It was also clear that the Falkirk players were now less effective in their defensive duties. These factors meant that Accies were clearly gaining in confidence and playing with the confidence that being in front gives you.
However nobody was relaxing as there was still plenty of time for Falkirk to hit back, and snatch the victory as they only required one score to win. They were clearly determined and put everything into the last 8 minutes but Accies were now dominating the game and the pressure was all on Falkirk. Their go forward players who had been so effective in the first 50 minutes were now far less confident and the ball transference was more ragged. Accies in contrast, were running hard and making the right decisions in the backs. A superb piece of follow up running by Scott Briggs, of a kick into Falkirk’s 22, caught their winger in possession and after a couple attempts to clear their lines the forwards turned over the ball and once again Josh Waldin, who had an outstanding game, saw him scamper down the blind side and created the slightest of gaps for Gordon Mcguire who took full advantage to score the final try, as he had done last week in Fife. He could not convert his own try but Accies were now 9 points clear and the victory secure. 26 – 17
Falkirk to their credit did everything they could in the dying minutes but it was clear that the game had been lost and with time running out a penalty to Accies was tapped then kicked to touch and Accies had won a famous victory and 5 very valuable points
Full-time 26 – 17
It has to be said that the squad of players that the coaches have developed has paid real dividends if today’s performance is the result. The coaches and players have never complained that we never seem to be able to put the same 15 players onto the pitch for consecutive weeks, as every player who has stepped up to represent their club has given 100 percent. Accies have learned some tough lessons this season and that whilst things can go against you from an injury point of view if you work together and play for 80 minutes results will come. Full marks must be awarded to the players and coaches for a superb performance and one that Accies supporters, who were there, will remember and talk about for some time.
Accies have moved into 8th place in the league after two bonus point wins.
Today Accies welcomed a group of enthusiastic rugby people from the beautiful Island of Jura where there has been a rugby club since 1988, when it was formed. It was a joy to have them with us today and we hope they felt welcome and enjoyed their visit. The clubs are hoping to cement this new friendship with a visit to Jura soon.