West 7’s Tournament 2019
Accies returned to Burnbrae as defending Champions from 2018!
Accies took a strong squad to Burnbrae which was clearly determined to do the Club proud. Hugh Lindsay, our outstand openside flanker, who played such an important part in our success throughout this season, captained the side and had at his disposal a Team Manager of impeccable credentials, Frazer McCready.
So as the tournament got underway Accies took on the 3 other teams in their group and it has to be said that they demonstrated some of the skills that were evident in the second half of the league season.
It has to be said that several of their opponents were surprised at the ability of the Accies players to move the ball into space and therefore create an opportunity to score tries. In the final game of the preliminary rounds I watched a young man playing on the wing who scored 3 tries and on investigation was about to leave the Academy this year, Colin is looking forward to joining the Club – a real prospect!
Clever management of player and substitutions, allowed the squad to be well prepared for the semi-finals.
Now we got down to the serious part of the competition. The semi-finals were about to start and Accies were going to be up against the best teams left in the competition. Was the early comprehensive victories just weakness in the opposition or real skill on the part of the Accies players? Well from the start it was clear that this group of players were well organised and clearly determined to retain the trophy.
Their semi-final was against one of the host sides and after a couple of superb tries it was clear the boys had raise their game. There were some great tries but none more so that a try by Jack McCready when he used his ability to move off either foot and his superb speed to leave the defenders ineffectual and score a superb try. The players worked hard to create space for the quick runners but they also work hard in defence when it was required and gave away very few points.
The manager, Frazer McCready, used every player throughout the tournament to maximise their effectiveness. We were lucky in having a group of skilful players and they did not rely on one or two individuals to make a difference,
The final was between what was clearly the two best sides in the tournament, with Wigtonshire having travelled up from the Borders for the occasion and had brought a talent group of players, which included a Hawks second row player.
Accies got off to a perfect start with a well worked try early on, but Wigtonshire were clearly up for the encounter and when an Accies attack broke down and the ball was turned over, Wigtonshire broke through and clear. However Scott Simmons was hunting down the runner and although it looked like a certain try, Scott timed his attack perfectly and he knocked the ball out of his hands just as he was trying to touch it down. Not only that but he got the ball and started the move, from inside his dead ball area that resulted in Accies second try – brilliant work!
This clearly had annoyed the Borderers and again they broke clear and this time made sure the ball was touched down. So it was now 2 tries to one and the tempo was increasing. The Borderers were starting to get frustrated by Accies ability to retain possession and defend in depth, and this was stopping them really getting back into the game.
The second half saw Accies stand-off Chris Rhodes and winger Ruaridh Hood both reading the situation beautifully and a chip ahead was collected by Ruaridh who drew the defender, passed inside to the supporting Ryan Sweeney who then passed it back out for Ruaridh to score. Evidence that Accies had a great team who all had skills so they did not depend on individuals.
Congratulations to all concerned from Manager through Captain Hugh Lindsay to all the players and not to forget the important ‘water boy’ Greg Connelly!