Match Report for Saturday 6th April 2019

Accies RFC v Lasswade RFC

“And so the season comes to an end”

‘On a misty, wet and cold April day Accies finish with a win’

Accies have completed their season with 3 terrific wins, concluded by a hard fought win at Lasswade. This has always been a very difficult place for teams to travel to and despite the fact that they are relegated they have pushed every team close. They are a proud club with a strong and vocal support and without doubt will give the National 3 teams a real run for their money.

Today was not a day for 15 man rugby and with the wind at their backs Lasswade put Accies under pressure for the first 25 minutes of the half with strong forward drives and close quarter passing. Any time Accies tried to get on the front foot and nudged themselves into the Lasswade half, they either gave away a penalty or knocked on and the Lasswade kickers knew how to use the wind on this narrow pitch and Accies found themselves back inside their 22.  Accies were also further under pressure when PJ Rankin had to leave the field with a pulled hamstring, being replaced at number 8 by Kane Greggain and his slot at blindside by Chris Scott, who it should be said had a very good game. So after 25 minutes, it was something of a surprise, therefore, to the good sized crowd that Lasswade forwards had taken 20 minutes to score, as their forwards drove 6 or 7 times at Accies try line and finally crossed the whitewash. The conversion in atrocious conditions just slide past.  0 – 5

Almost immediately from the kick off another penalty was awarded against Accies, by today’s referee, and the resultant kick expertly placed into Accies 22. The ball was controlled well at the lineout and for the first time Lasswade backs got the ball at speed and a good break by their first up runner created enough space for the supporting centre to be released for an unopposed run to the line close to the posts.  The relatively easy conversion was successful and Accies were suddenly behind     0 - 12

Was this to be a bad day for Accies or could they halt the tide of points that seemed to have started? Well this is most definitely an Accies side with character and attitude. Some really good forward drives and support work took Accies inside the Lasswade 22 for the first time. From a strong platform at the resultant scrum, the makeshift number 8, Kane Greggain picked and went blind and his well-timed pass put scrum half Andy Brown clear to draw the fullback and release Gregor Macewan, arriving from fullback, to romp home for Accies first try.  Gregor converted his own try to put Accies back in the match.   7 – 12

The Accies supporters were settling down and feeling a bit better about things when Lasswade kicked off. The ball was watched as it bounced into touch 20 minutes from Accies line. Accies lineout was stolen and the ball driven down the touchline towards Accies line. Some good work by Lasswade forwards saw them drive over for the inevitable try. Good conversion was successful and the uplift of the try had been delated for the Accies supporters , as Accies were back to a 12 point deficit.        7 – 19

With the wind and rain in their faces it was going to take a terrific effort to get themselves back up after that disappointment. The restart didn’t reach the 10 metre line and Accies forwards had to troop back to the halfway for the scrum. This allowed Lasswade half backs to push Accies back inside their 22 again. However the ball was kept alive an Accies outside centre, Mathew Holland, broke free and raced up into Lasswade territory. He was supported by Gordon McGuire who continued the run and took the ball infield. The forwards joined in and took the ball inside the 22 where it was released to Mathew again who then released Gregor Macewen for his romp home and his second try. This was a superb end to end try,  in what were  very difficult conditions. A tough difficult conversion was missed, but Accies were back in the fight.       12 – 19

This time Accies sorted out the kick-off and drove back at their opponents. It would be good to end the half only 7 points behind after the pressure they had been under for 30 minutes. From a ruck, just inside Accies half, Andy Brown released Ryan Sweeney, who was standing in at loosehead prop, he broke the first up tacklers and romped into Lasswade’s 22. After some great support work and the ball being taken to the line by the supporting players the ball was released by who else but Ryan to Kane, to finish off another really good try. Conversion good and Accies were level.   19 – 19

The first half came to an end and the Accies players could be well pleased with their first half efforts, both in defence and attack and had brought the game level despite the disadvantage of having the conditions in their faces. The final 15 minutes of the first half had seen 38 points put on the board.

Half-time     19 – 19

Were we going to see more of the same in the second half and a big score line from both sides? Well the first half had taken two pages of notes for this scribe to try and get the feel of the half but the second took two lines. Lasswade had gone into the warmth of their changing room and came out with clearly renewed determination. Accies had stayed out but had received some very positive encouragement from the coaches. Lasswade were on top without really putting any pressure on Accies line. Accies forwards were holding their own particularly in the lineout and for the first 15 minutes the game was played between the two 22 metre lines. The referee today had felt that Accies had committed too many penalties and around 15 minutes yellow carded Jason Currie, (perhaps so he could have a rest from his labours). He was replaced at the first scrum by Vincent Yildiz who it has to be said acquitted himself very well. During the ensuing 10 minutes Accies did not look like a side that was down to 14 men and were definitely growing in confidence. Young Cameron Wray and Gregor Macewen started to find their kicking game and keeping their opponents inside their half and therefore under pressure. With 9 minutes to go Accies were beginning to look like the side who had control and would be most likely to score. Lasswade were under pressure and were starting to commit offences and mistakes. They were struggling to clear their lines and had several clearance kicks charged down. This was causing their forwards to over reach and at give-away penalties. It was from one of these infringments just inside the Lasswade 22 that Gregor Macewen stepped up and promptly slotted the ball between the uprights, to convert the penalty and put Accies ahead for the first time.         22 – 19

For the remainder of the game Accies were camped inside Lasswade’s half and were now in control of the game. The shouts from the stand of ‘keep it tight’  were possibly not heard but Accies kept control and finishes the game inside their opponents 22.

The referee brought the game to an end and Accies were victorious. A superb effort from a side that was missing 8 of last week’s players.  However ever single player worked tirelessly for the full 80 minutes, or 60 minutes in Jason’s case, (but he put in 80 minutes’ worth of work in that 60 minutes). A big shift from all the forwards combined with some great defensive work from all 15 players was the reason for this well-deserved victory. The rearranged back division was as effective as it could be in what were atrocious conditions, with Gregor Macewen shining in his unaccustomed position at fullback and contributing 17 points. The second half was clearly fragmented because the ball had become extremely slippery, the players hands must have been numb and the general conditions were taking their toll. But both sides deserved great credit for sticking to their task on a miserable day for rugby.

Full-time  22 – 19

It is a credit to all involved that Accies are now sitting in 7th place in the league despite such a tough year with injuries. Their second half of the season has seen them play 11 games with 6 wins and 5 defeats, which if they had been at full strength for the whole season would have seen them inside the top sides in the league. Every player who has stepped up has demonstrated the same attitude and commitment that it requires at this level in the game, and it is so important that the club has a strong squad with depth in every position.

We can all now look forward to next season with hope and excitement and with the addition to our coaching staff of Ruaridh Jackson this can only help to develop our young backs.  I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the obvious improvement that Ryan Grant has made to this Accies pack, especially at scrum time. They have shoved much bigger sets of forwards around the pitch and made our pack one to be seriously respected.

The players and coaches wanted me to thank all the supporters for their loyalty and encouragement throughout this tough season and especially those that have travelled to the away fixtures that are so difficult; your involvement with their season has meant a lot to them all. I would point to the home game against Falkirk, where the team were under real pressure and the crowd really lifted them and took them to the win that was so important this season. Thank you is not enough.

Finally, as has been said so often, it takes a great deal of help and financial support to run a rugby club today and we could not do it without this support from the companies and individuals that have helped us this season. The players, coaches and committee never take this financial help for granted and wish to thank everyone who has done so.

We have had another productive season with our charity partner Marie Curie. The players are running in the 10k in Edinburgh to raise more funds for them and with the annual bucket collection outside Debenhams along with the Ladies day and other collections during the season we hope to keep this positive involvement of the Sports Club at New Anniesland growing and developing over the summer. Big thanks must go to John Watson OBE for his instigation and support of this partnership which has helped Accies to look outside the club.

Some more great photos, once again courtesy

Bob Johnstone.