“Accies score five tries but just miss out on victory”
Despite the cold and rather miserable day a strong number of Accies supporters arrived at Whitecraigs to watch Accies take on a strong and heavy Whitecraigs side. Within minutes of the start Accies and worked a turnover and moved the ball to Adam Lowry who drilled a perfect grubber kick through the covering defence for the ever lively Kris Mathie to collect and score in the corner. A tough kick in heavy conditions was missed. 5 – 0
Almost before the crowd had settled and before some had even arrived, Accies were once again on the score sheet. Good scrum possession resulted in a very slick series of passes along the backs, worthy of a much higher level of rugby club, to put Chris Woods over for the second try, again wide out. Same result for the conversion. 10 – 0
This was beginning to look like a walk in the park and with another smooth and effective back move Chris Woods breezed past the cover defence to score his second and Accies third try the supporters were begging to relax and consider the 5 point win that was looking inevitable. Another conversion missed meant that Accies were now 15 points clear. 15 – 0
However as so often happens when a side has romped to a lead they take their collective foot off the pedal and so it happened and Whitecraigs big forwards got them back into the game and when they got to within striking distance of the posts they were awarded a penalty which was successfully converted to get them on the scoreboard. 15 – 3
Whitecraigs were using their heavy forwards to keep battering Accies who were now pinned inside their own 22 and with some hard running and ball carrying they produced a well-deserved try which was also converted and suddenly they were within 5 points of Accies. 15 – 10
Whitecraigs clearly were now full of confidence and their big forwards were proving very effective and they used these to rocked Accies backwards after their very positive start. Accies were being deprived of possession by what was clearly a much heavier Whitecraigs set of forwards, and Accies were even struggling at scrum time and being made to work very hard in defensive duties. It was also clear that the backs were having to defend against these heavier forwards in the middle of the park and being denied ball which they could use effectively. It was not a real surprise that all this domination resulted in a second try for Whitecraigs which brought the sides level. Conversion missed. 15 – 15
A somehwhat surprised Accies support were then disappointed when a simple penalty was awarded in front of the posts and up stepped the Whitecraigs kicker to put them 3 points in front and from a start which looked so promising Accies were behind. 15 – 18
The first time that the Accies back division got their hands on the ball they once again looked really dangerous and some superb work saw Ross Cowan entered the line and he romped home, as only he can, to put Accies back in front and gain the try bonus point. Conversion missed. 20 – 18
The first half came to an end and it was clear that either side could win this game.
Half – time 20 – 18
With Accies 3 points ahead of Whitecraigs in the league at the start of the game it was clear that Whitecraigs were desperate to secure points out of this fixture to keep them clear of the relegation battle that is brewing below both teams.
So it was not surprising that Whitegraigs came out for the second half with a commitment that put them into Accies 22 and were awarded a penalty at the breakdown which gave their efficient kicker a fairly easy opportunity to once again put them in front. 20 – 21
The game had become somewhat of a forward battle, with both packs going head to head and the ball not being seen by either set of backs. It was not a great spectacle for the superb supporters who had braved the weather to be there. However Accies did regain the lead when a superb piece of individual skill saw Josh Waldin glide through a gap down the blind side and run 50 metres to beat the cover defence to score. However once again this was in the corner and the conversion was missed. 25 – 21
I think everyone felt that this was probably not going to be enough to see Accies home and with Whitecraigs playing with a real determination they manufactured another try after some confusion in Accies 22 resulted in their forwards driving several times and eventually being awarded the try. Conversion successful and Whitecraigs had put themselves ahead with 8 minutes to go. 25 – 28
Accies did work themselves back into Whitecraigs 22 and after several close calls the ball was cleared and the game came to an end. I am sure that Accies supporters felt disappointed that their team had scored 5 tries but lost the game and that perhaps it was just a little more important for Whitecraigs to get the win.
Full – time 25 – 28
Having started the game with 3 tries on 10 minutes and scoring 20 points in all in the first half it was disappointing to lose the second half 10 – 5 with the difference being 2 successful kicks. Accies scored 5 tries to Whitecraigs 3, but their 3 successful penalties (9 points) proved crucial. However with 2 bonus points gained, Accies are still sitting in 8th place in the league and 1 point ahead of Whitecraigs and 11 points clear of the 9th placed GHK.
Accies now have to face league leaders at New Anniesland next week but I am sure they will be working hard at training to learn from this defeat. Looking at it constructively Accies have gained 12 points from 3 games since Christmas which is a very positive return for all the hard work that has been done. I am sure that Biggar will be travelling to New Anniesland expecting a hard battle.