Match Report v Edinburgh Accies Saturday 12 December

Match Report v Edinburgh Accies Saturday 12 December

Accies 38 vs 7 Stewart’s Melville
Late in the game at Raeburn Place on Saturday, one of the Accies ballboys turned to a man (possibly his dad) standing beside him on the touchline and asked: ‘Are Stew Mel good at the young age and terrible at the old age?’

While I couldn’t agree more with the first part of what he said, I did (just at that precise moment) also have some difficulty disagreeing with the second part of his statement, as we really didn’t have a great day at the office on Saturday.

Travel issues meant that I turned up ten minutes late, by which point the scoreboard had yet to move. I was, however, advised by one of the many Stew Mellies in attendance that we had actually started the game pretty well, the result being two penalty opportunities that full back Ciaran was, unfortunately, unable to translate into points.

Accies had, apparently, been keeping their powder dry until I appeared, as they promptly landed a penalty (17 minutes) then scored a converted try under the posts (29 minutes) to go into a 10-0 lead.

They hadn’t, to be honest, had to do anything too clever to earn that lead, having made the most of our intermittent indiscipline and our tendency to cough the ball up after taking it into contact.

We did, however, rally towards the end of the half, with the forwards laying siege to the line at the Inverleith Pond end of the ground over a decent number of phases. Accies defended well, but eventually Momo burrowed over from close range. Angus Rennie was the man claiming the tee on this occasion, and he made no mistake.

That made it 10-7 to Accies … but not for long, as our hosts stormed straight back up to the Portakabin end from the restart and scored another converted try (17-7). This must have been particularly galling for our players, having worked so hard to get back in the game just a couple of minutes beforehand – the old cliché of ‘You’re at your most vulnerable just after you’ve scored’ coming to mind once again.

The half finished with a bout of handbags near our line. Once ref Matt Duncan had restored order, he showed Rhys a yellow for a technical offence and one of the Accies a yellow for a full and frank exchange of views with Seb.

Any hopes of another second half turnaround following an inspirational team talk from the coaches were short lived, as Accies scored shortly after the restart thanks to a well worked backs move. As Phil Waine pointed out, it’s easier to attack with 14 men than it is to defend with 14 men.

A neat conversion from wide out made it 24-7, and you sensed that we needed to get the next score to salvage anything from the game. The boys certainly dug in at this point, some gutsy defence stopping any further scoring from the home team for the next thirty minutes or so. This was despite losing big Ruaridh to injury (Rhys went to hooker), the arrival of Messrs Macdonald, Wilson, Strachan, Bowie and Rappestad from the bench ensuring we had fresh legs to call upon on what must have been an energy sapping pitch.

We didn’t, however, manage to trouble the Accies line during this period of respite, what attacks we did muster breaking down due to a combination of wayward tactical kicking, handling errors or turnovers in contact (the bold Waine was heard to ask if we had ‘Turned into Scotland’ at one point during the second half!)

Accies butchered an overlap on 75 minutes after one such misplaced touch finder, but made no mistake a couple of minutes later when their backs latched onto a sliced kick and stormed up the left hand touchline to score. Home stand off Iain Chisholm claimed the try – and, in the process, got his jersey dirty for possibly the first time in the game, having bossed things well from the ‘pocket’ up till then.

The conversion made it 31-7, and Accies then managed to add a fifth converted try before the daylight started to go and the ref brought an end to proceedings.

I gather our boys then had to endure a cold shower, just to add insult to injury!

Not a great day at the office, then, as I said earlier. I guess, at the end of the day, Accies are closer to the business end of the table for a reason, and they are certainly a big, well drilled side. Our recent resurgence has been based on some fine performances from the pack, but they were largely negated on Saturday by the hefty Accies VIII.

There were still some decent individual performances from our forwards, with Hugh and Adam catching the eye, but we just never managed to establish a platform for our backs to work from. That meant that, when we did manage to secure some possession, we tended to rush to capitalise on it, rather than working through the phases and establishing a rhythm that we were comfortable with.

We also tended to attack as individuals, rather than ‘latching on’ to whoever had elected to pick and go, and were maybe a wee bit too predictable in choosing our points of attack.

Behind the scrum, the backs were pretty much feeding on scraps, but are, nevertheless, to be commended for sticking to their guns despite the rather one sided nature of the scoreline.

It would be remiss of me if I left Raeburn Place without pointing out that, on the occasion of his birthday, Ziggy DID get a (yellow) card from the ref late in the game.

Oh, and big Alex Rappestad was billed as ‘Thor Rapstadt’ in the match programme, which was nice!

This Saturday sees another Edinburgh derby as high flying Watsonians visit Inverleith for a 2 pm kickoff. Our players will certainly have plenty to work on at training this week, while the fact that Mike Hanning made a successful return to action for the 2s against Selkirk on Saturday means that the coaches have another option at 10 or 15 against ‘Sonians.

Other results on Saturday meant that we remain in 9th place in the table, so let’s put the Accies game behind us and concentrate on showing the Myresiders what we can do on our own turf.

There’s a prematch Christmas lunch at Inverleith on Saturday, too – £20 a head, speak to Lindsey Geddes ASAP if you’d like to come along!

Bill McNie

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