Tennents National 2 League Fixture
Glasgow Accies RFC v Whitecraigs RFC
On a rather dull autumn day the players and supporters gathered at New Anniesland for the first local derby of the season. Whitecraigs arrived with their tails up after a good win against Gordonians last week and Accies having suffered a tough day down in the Borders. With Whitecraigs sitting 5 points ahead of Accies, it was all to play for.
‘It’s not possession or pressure that counts its points’ – Tony Silverdale
The game got underway in typical Autumnal weather, cold and a heavy sky, but 30 players keen to get underway. From the kick-off it was Whitecraigs who started on the front foot, with obvious confidence gained from their good result last week. However it was Accies defence that was equally impressive. For 20 minutes it was relentless pressure from Whitecraigs and with only a missed penalty their only opportunity to score, so it was still 0 - 0.
From their first venture into Whitecraigs half after some good work by the backs, a penalty award was converted by the man of the match, Gregor Macewan. 3 – 0
Whitecraigs quickly went back onto the offensive and worked themselves into Accies 22 where a penalty award in front of the posts was scant reward for their efforts in the first 25 minutes of the game. 3 – 3
The same scenario continued as Whitecraigs once again worked themselves back into Accies half and were demonstrating a real skill at the breakdown, but were still unable to break down Accies committed defence. Then from a piece of turnover work, the ball was carried for 15 metres by Greg Connelly, well over the gain line, and the quickly recycled ball was moved to their right where Matt Holland broke through the first line of covering defenders, offloading to the supporting Gregor Macewan who drew the final defender, timing his pass superbly he released winger Colin Taylor to race the final 20 metres to score in the corner. The tough conversion was just wide. 8 - 3
Whitecraigs once again attacked Accies with some good transference and hard running from both forwards and backs, but Accies defensive line speed was up to it and progress was limited. However a clearance kick by Accies was collected inside the Accies half and once again a Whitecraigs attacked in midfield around Accies 10 metre line, where a superb tackle dislodged the ball from the Whitecraigs player and again quick reactions and movement of the ball to the right saw Ross Cowan clear and over for try number 2. This time the conversion attempt by Gregor Macewan was successful. 15 – 3
So despite having the majority of the possession and territory Whitecraigs now found themselves 12 points behind, which seemed a bit unfair, but as Tony Silverdale says – “it is not possession or pressure that counts its points”!
Half – time 15 – 3
It did appear that the two turnover tries that Accies had scored despite being under pressure had done a good deal for the Accies players’ confidence and they were quickly on the attack from the start of the second half. Throughout the first half Accies pack had totally dominated scrummage time and when they were awarded a 5 metre scrum, after some great pick and go work by the pack was held up over the line, the crowd were looking for the push over try. Well Number 8, Tommy Spinks, controlled the ball superbly and when he felt the scrum move slightly clockwise he picked up and nobody was going to stop him. A simple enough conversion for Gregor. 22 - 3
Whitecraigs introduced a couple of quality players off their bench and their scrum steadied up and their new ‘Lomu’ size winger started to get them back into the game. The contest had however gone a little flat until with 18 minutes to go Greg Connelly was yellow carded for an infringement 10 metres out from Accies line. Almost before Accies had reorganised Whitecraigs used a clever move from quick ruck ball and their new winger arrived on the shoulder of their 10 and I don’t think a brick wall would have stopped this ‘Lomu’ impersonator. Simple conversion in front of the posts. 22 – 10
Accies were struggling with the 14 man situation and some close forward work from a Whitecraigs linout 5 metres from Accies line brought them to within 7 points. 22 – 15
Could this be the big comeback, but Accies stuck to their task and from a ruck just inside their own half, scrum half, Adam Lowry kicked a perfect ball into the 5 metre area and close to the touchline so that the Whitecraigs fullback had to run into touch. This saw the reintroduction of Greg Connelly and from good lineout work the ball was once again driven towards Whitecraigs line. Several pick and goes by the forwards saw the ball under the posts and this time the recycled ball was moved wide to the charging Gregor Macewan, who chose a superb line and crossed for the bonus point try. He then converted his own try to make his personal tally to 14 points! 29 – 15
Whitecraigs will never lie down and were still working to get their losing bonus point. Another superb run from ‘Lomu’ which saw him leave two or three tired players in his wake but the ‘thou shall not pass’ attitude of Ross Cowan stopped him. The game moved inside Accies 22 but another strong piece of defence saw the player and ball driven into touch and today’s very good visiting referee from England, Matt Higgins, called a halt to proceedings.
Full – time 29 – 15
For anyone who watched the World Cup game between The All Blacks and the South Africans, when SA were inside the NZ half for the first 20 minutes and then when the All Blacks got 2 chances they scored – taking the wind out of the SA sails, well today was the same. Accies used defence as a real attacking tool and made the most of any chances that came their way. A satisfying result for Accies and a disappointing result for a team that put so much into the game. The comment of the referee after the game summed it up. ‘That was a great game between two sides that were working hard to play good quality rugby on a surface that was outstanding and a joy to referee’. It takes two teams to make a spectacle that everyone present today must have enjoyed.