Tennent’s National League Division 2
Glasgow Accies RFC v Preston Lodge RFC
Played on 21st September 2019 at New Anniesland
On a magnificent autumn day the players and supporters arrived at New Anniesland to be greeted by the site of a magnificent playing surface. What a perfect day for playing and watching rugby.
This was a Saturday for open and exciting rugby and despite the slightly down beat feel from some Accies supporters, the result of a rather poor start to our season, there was real hope amongst the players that training had gone well and they were feeling positive.
However the first 20 minutes saw a total capitulation from this remodelled Accies team. Within minutes of the kick off, which had been spilled by Accies the highly motivated and aggressive Preston Lodge side had Accies under real pressure and a try was inevitable. Simple forward drives and then quick transference saw the winger cross on the right, Accies were down and despite the missed conversion Accies were looking very vulnerable. 0 – 5
From a very good kick off Preston manged to once again take advantage of some week Accies defence and before the crowd had a chance to draw breath they had crossed the whitewash again, this time converting. 0 – 12
Surely Accies would react and get themselves into this contest before it was out of their reach. Well this Preston Lodge side are clearly motivated and encouraged by these early exchanges. They had completely dominated the first 20 minutes in every phase of this game so far. Another mistake after sustained pressure saw the inevitable penalty and a successful penalty put them further ahead. 0 – 15
So far Accies players had hardly touched the ball and when Preston found themselves once again inside Accies danger zone their accomplished stand-off saw a clear opportunity and added another 3 points with a deft drop goal. 0 – 18
The murmurings around the stand were how many more points were Accies going to lose before half-time, let alone the game! After 30 minutes Accies had not given anyone the feeling that they could get into this encounter. However Accies are a side with a determination and spirit and they started to work themselves into the game. For the first time they controlling possession and starting to test the opposition defence. With 8 minutes remaining Accies were well inside the Preston Lodge 22 and yet another penalty was awarded by today’s referee Mr Shaw. He went for his pocket and produced a yellow card for the perpetrator the Preston Lodge number 8. From the ensuing scrum a superb pick up by Kenneth Beattie, on his first outing of the season, released young Robert McNaught who then put Ross Cowan into space for a superb try and a confidence boost for the team. Conversion was missed. 5 – 18
From the kick off the ball was collected,this time, and a driving maul started from 10 metres inside the Accies half. The ball was passed to the energetic Ross Cowan who evaded one tackle then when he was stopped he offloaded to Jack McCready who burst free and beat all the covering defenders to score under the posts, a great solo effort. The conversion was successful and Accies were back in it. 12 – 18
Accies went straight back on the attack and were moving the ball well. The forwards were getting in behind the defence and the backs were looking dangerous with ball in hand. Another great movement saw Ross Cowan entering the line and with a deft grubber kick put the ball in behind the defenders. The ball was collected superbly by Ronan Joy and popped back inside to the supporting Ross. A great try and despite the conversion being missed Accies were looking good. 17 – 18
The players had worked really hard to get themselves back into this game after the horrendous start.
Half – time 17 – 18
It had clearly been a major effort for Accies and when the second half kick-off Preston Lodge took full advantage of the ball going straight into touch. A solid scrum on half-way gave their opponents the chance to launch another attack. Pick up by their very strong number 8 who passed to their equally strong inside centre who broke through and despite a great tackle by Ross, the momentum was with Preston Lodge. They were camped on Accies line and it seemed inevitable, despite some brave tackling by all the Accies players, that they would score and they did, providing an easy conversion. 17 – 25
It looked that the Accies revival had stalled when a superb break by Gregor Macewan from inside his own half up to the enemy 22 and with only the last defender to beat and Ross Cowan on his shoulder a try was on. Unfortunately the final pass went to ground, opportunity gone. Not only that but Preston Lodge broke away from the breakdown and took the ball back up into Accies territory and with play being broken up their big inside centre broke through to score under the posts. 17 – 32
This could well have killed off most teams but this team, in all its various forms, has already proved that it has spirit and determination. Once again Ross Cowan broke two tackles and was 15 meters from the line, seeing his progress severely hampered by 4 defenders he put through a beautifully weighted grubber which was picked up by Jack McCready who crossed for the bonus point try. Conversion successful 24 – 32
The question was with players having to go off with yet more injuries could Accies get one more try and at least a losing bonus point? Well, sitting in third place in the league demonstrates that Preston are a well drilled and fit unit and worked themselves into the danger zone and yet another close quarter drive saw them cross for their 5th try to what must have seemed like the finish of any resistance from Accies. It was to be Accies who scored last, demonstrating a strong spirit and determination, they had demonstrated since they allowed their opponents to get an 18 point lead. In the final minute, another break down the blind saw the ball pushed into Preston Lodge’s in-goal area and Jack McCready was the quickest player to react and touch the ball down. A rushed conversion went wide. 29 – 39
The whistle was blown for full-time and despite the fact that Accies had spilled 3 or four good scoring chances in the second half they had won the battle since they were 18 points behind by scoring 29 points to Preston Lodge’s 21, something for the players to take on board, and not allow teams to get a start on them.
Full – time 29 – 39
A lot of hard work required over the coming week with a visit to League leaders Dumfries to come. Let us hope that we see some returning players but I am sure the boys will travel in a positive mode. By the end of that game Accies will have played 4 of the top 5 clubs, A really tough start and I am convinced the players and coaches will start onto the winning trail soon.