Accies match

2 months ago By Hugh Barrow

From Donald Reid


Accies RFC v Livingston RFC

It is always difficult for everyone involved to watch a match where the winning team score 163 points, from the side being beaten, the side dominating the game and even those watching the game. However Accies needed a serious boost to their point’s difference so every point mattered, and the coaches and team leaders made sure the players remained focus and demonstrate a ruthless steak.
The weather was cold but dry and the wind was always liable to have a bearing on the game. Accies kick off with the wind behind them and before Livingston had time to draw breath, or even touch the ball, Accies had crossed the line from some good swift passing and hard running. Kris Mathie, playing at fullback romped onto a well time pass and raced past the last two defenders to score. Stewart Gray stepped up and converted from wide out 7 – 0

We watched the restart, which has to be said was the best feature of Livingston’s game, and Accies lost possession but quickly created a turnover and with quick use of this moved the ball wide, with pace and accuracy got themselves back into the opposition 22. They won a lineout and moved the ball in field before a break out from the forwards drive saw PJ Rankin romp over for the second try. So after 3 minutes Accies were up 14 – 0

Accies were demonstrating some superb running and offloading and this created an opening which Chris Johnstone took full advantage burst free and carried the ball well into the Livingston 22. A lineout was stolen and good running and distribution saw Kris Mathie cross for his second try. He was clearly relishing the space he found himself in at fullback. The conversion made it 21 – 0
Another strong drive from the kick off saw Greg Valentine being put into space and he took off like a centre to score under the posts to make the conversion easier. 28 – 0

The crowd were beginning to feel that this was too easy and, as so often happens when one side is dominating the game, it can become disjointed and this might cause Accies game plan to fall apart. It is always difficult for any side to maintain the pace of the game when they were breaking tackles and gaining ground as easily as Accies were in the first 10 minutes.
However this is a side that is well drilled, disciplined and full of quick and exciting players.
It would be unfair to go through every try in the remaining time of the first half but suffice it to say that Accies back row were creating real problems for the Livingston defence with hard running and great offloading and this gave the backs good ‘go forward’ ball which allows for quick running and passing with pace and accuracy. The last 30 minutes of the first half saw Accies score another 9 tries with Livingston cross for an unconverted try.
Two tries for Chris Johnstone and one for Ker Malcolm, Hugh Lindsay, Ross Cowan and Fraser Wilson and Chris Nilserius ,were topped off by a superb individual try for Stewart Gray, who also converted 12 of the first half 13 tries.

Half-time 89 – 5

The second half started as the first had ended with Ryan Sweeney breaking clear from the kick-off then offloading to put the backs into space for Ross Cowan to scamper in from wide out. To Accies credit they were now showing why they have had such a good run of victories and continued to work as a team with every player working hard to keep putting players into space and were superb in their support running. Whenever a player broke free there were support players either side and the Livingston defence was stretched to breaking point over and over again. It is, as I have said, difficult for those playing and those watching to enjoy a game which is so one sided but the skills on show from Accies there was much for the rugby enthusiast to enjoy.
This was a 15 man demonstration of how fluent rugby can be entertaining and exciting to watch and Accies are clearly now a side that can hold their game together and when they sense an opportunity are able to attack from any part of the pitch. We were entertained to a fantastic piece of handling rugby when Stewart Gray took the ball on his try line and, when most 10’s would have put boot to ball, he ran up the narrow side to put Kris Mathie into the gap and supported by backs and forwards they passed the ball all the way into the Livingston half where Ross Cowan was put clear and he romped home for another spectacular try. The crowd were being well entertained and although there were moments when the structure of the game fell off, Accies were able to pull it together again. Despite a dubious try for Livingston, Accies were able to score a further 12 tries and despite a very tricky wind Stewart Gray managed to convert 6 off them.
So as Fraser Wilson romped in for his hat trick of tries the referee decided that enough was enough and blew for full time.

Full time 163 – 10
This was clearly a one-sided game but Accies kept their tempo up for the vast majority of the game which is no mean feat when every player must be thinking they can run the length of the park. The tally of tries shows that Accies scored 25, of which 9 were scored by forwards and 15 by backs, and Livingston scored 2 unconverted tries. The impressive ball carrying by the Accies forwards and their ability to keep it alive was allowing the backs to run hard and direct and they took full advantage with superb accuracy and the result was they were a threat from any part of the pitch. A game that demonstrated how this group of players have developed a game plan to win and entertain as well as being fit enough to keep it going for 80 minutes. I know it is difficult to say you enjoy a game when one side scores 163 points but as a spectator I was thrilled to watch 15 players who were happy with the ball in hand and were all supporting their team mates for the whole of the 80 minutes. We are now 5 points behind St Boswells and we are most definitely in the promotion race. See the table below.


Muhammad Ali said “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”


Pos
Team
P
W
L
D
F:A
Diff.
TB
LB
Points
1
St Boswells RFC
16
13
3
0
468:253
215
9
1
62
2
Lasswade RFC
16
11
5
0
574:241
333
12
3
59
3
Dumfries Saints RFC
15
11
2
2
503:155
348
8
1
57
4
Glasgow Academicals
16
10
3
3
613:283
330
11
0
57
5
Highland
15
9
4
2
472:249
223
9
4
53
6
Haddington RFC
16
9
7
0
398:337
61
8
2
46
7
RHC RFC
16
8
8
0
419:410
9
6
1
39
8
Orkney
13
6
6
1
407:304
103
7
2
35
9
Dalziel
16
6
9
1
327:441
-114
2
1
29
10
Perthshire RFC
16
3
12
1
321:450
-129
5
3
22
11
Livingston RFC *
16
2
14
0
161:839
-678
2
0
5
12
Greenock Wanderers RFC
17
1
16
0
143:844
-701
1
0
5


Next week we are hoping for a god turnout for the pre-match lunch and another stirring performance from the players on the pitch.
We will be meeting at 1.00pm for drinks and start the meal at 1.30pm. It would be great to see as many of our supporters as possible. Please let us know before next Thursday (16th) so that we can get organised.
It is always good to have both teams playing at home and this is especially true when the 2ndXV also record a victory. They overcame 9 players calling off just hours from the game. They beat West of Scotland 39 – 32 in what was a tough match and one that was, throughout, a closely fought competition which manager Nigel Campbell was pleased to have survived with a bonus point victory. This puts them into 9th position and they will also be at home next week when they play Greenock Wanderers 2nd XV. A good win then would greatly improve their chances of moving up the table.

Updated 14:14 - 12 Feb 2017 by Hugh Barrow

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