Tennent’s National League Division 2
Glasgow Accies RFC v Dumfries
28th September 2019 at Park Farm, Dumfries
One glance at Accies team sheet today spelled out the full extent of the injury list facing the squad. We knew that Dumfries a month previously had come to New Anniesland in a Cup tie with a physical and strong running side, securing a convincing win. With our injury list having grown since then and Dumfries at virtually full strength, even the most optimistic of away support realised that this was going to be a bruising afternoon. This report comes with a health warning as today’s scribe was also running touch whilst scribbling.
Even from the kick off the heavy Dumfries pack made their presence felt gaining possession from their own kick off, and worked their way into the corner for an early try. Fortunately Dumfries had not picked a kicker in the team, conversion missed, 5-0. We were playing with a stiff breeze which did not assist the accuracy of our passing, and this put us again under severe pressure only 8 minutes into the game with heir pack driving over for a second try10 metres in from touch. Easier conversion again missed 10-0. There was an unusual nervousness in our passing game today, probably as a result of all the changes, and rare possession was being surrendered too easily. However, despite the incessant pressure our tackling was starting to look more solid, only for the occasional break through from their pack. Their scrummage was giving us real problems, an unusual occurance for Accies recent packs, but again a result of all the substitutions and a lack of training, with virtually every scrum being driven backwards, bar one strike against the head. From one such scrum on our 22 on the 13 minute mark their back row broke with power and drove over for a third try. Conversion missed 15-0. We were managing to secure possession with heroic play, but still could not hang on to the ball long enough to make any progress. An unforced knock-on whilst trying to break out of our danger area gave them a scrum 15 yards out. The power of their pack was obvious when they drove us dangerously sliding and slipping a full 15m backwards to score again. Conversion made 22-0. This was going to be a long day for our inexperienced side, but to their credit they were beginning to make some inroads to at least delay the inevitable. There was plenty of valiant play in defence and also in the occasional attack which kept the scoreboard at a stand still until just before half time when the home side disrupted our scrum severely and pounced on loose ball in our 22 to score out wide. Conversion missed.
Half – time 27 – 0
To scribe’s surprise but not the referee’s, Dumfries were playing in their traditional broad black and white hooped shirt which was not too dissimilar from the Accie strip. The reason for mentioning this is that on at least two occasions a very promising Accie break into the Dumfries half was thwarted when the Accie ball was passed purposefully to a covering opposition player.
We were only five minutes into the second half when this solid Dumfries pack again drove us backwards, only for a few yards this time 15m out, but on this occasion the referee awarded a penalty try, no conversion required. 34-0. With 15 minutes into this half our weakened scrum came unstuck again and they broke to score not far out, but conversion nevertheless missed. 39-0. Ten minutes later a strong Dumfries back broke through two attempted tackles to score in the corner. Conversion missed 44-0. The constant demand on felling this hefty Dumfries side was beginning to take its toll and an almost identical try was lost only 4 minutes later. Unconvincingly converted, 51-0. They had begun to work out where our weaknesses were and only a further 4 minutes after that another score was lost, unconverted 56-0. By this time, 10 minutes from full time, this Accie side were war weary, but despite making promising breaks, just could not make the break through required. An opportunist Dumfries interception on the halfway line five minutes from time and under the posts was the final nail in a bruising encounter.
Full – time 63-0
Several stand in youngsters, a few for whom this was a debut 1stXV match, will have learnt much from this game and should hold their heads up high. Against these stronger sides, there is no substitute for power, guile and experience in the pack, which in summary was where most of their scoring emanated. Nevertheless we are eagerly awaiting the injury list to resolve itself if we are to compete at this level. The forthcoming game against Whitecraigs at home next Saturday 5th October will be a real test of our ability to bounce back against another side struggling to find form. There is a pre match lunch at 1:00pm which is well worth supporting, and an email to Mo Smith will be welcome. Mo51@hotmail.co.uk