Another entertaining day a New Anniesland
Saturday 7th October 2017
The day started with a Prosecco Brunch, which we all hope will become a regular feature of life at New Anniesland. As the sun started to make its way onto the usual beautiful playing surface, the substantial number of supporters made their way to the stand.
Accies came out of the blocks with real tempo, and the first try was on the board before all the spectators had reached their seats. Orkney were slightly taken by surprise and when Accies worked their way to within 5 metres of the try line, up stepped the sturdy Jamie Coskry to score.
Unfortunately the conversion was missed by Jamie Loomes. 5 – 0
I think there was some expectation from both camps that the team at the top of the league would be comfortable winners over the one at the bottom, well someone had forgotten to tell the Orkney players.
Accies were trying to get their game plan working, however with some courageous defending by Orkney, a really competitive scrum and some loose play by Accies saw a passage of 15 minutes where there was no real advantage to either side.
A rare passage of play inside Accies half , saw the enthusiastic Jack McCready, playing at 15 today, collect a loose ball set off on a massy run which left several Orkney players tackling thin air, when he was finally brought down 20 metres from the try line the supporting forwards carried on the move down the left hand touchline to commit any loose Orkney players, the ball was then moved quickly to the open and Chris Woods went round his defender and scored a well-deserved try.
Beautifully conversion from wide out by Jamie Loomes 12 – 0
Orkney took full advantage of a penalty awarded just inside their own half and a good kick saw them inside Accies 22. Some hard graft by the stuffy Orkney pack was rewarded with their first try out wide. Good conversion saw the gap just 5 points. 12 - 7
This Accies team do not like letting in a try and have shown this season that they raise their game immediately after and so it proved today. From the kick off the ball was secured by Accies and a beautiful, electric break by Jack McCready was finished off by wing forward Hugh Lindsay. Conversion successful 19 – 7
The game had been close with Orkney defending with commitment and Accies trying hard to put their 15 man game plan into action. At 19 – 7 the game was certainly not won. The comments running around the stand were ‘why were Accies not running away with this game’? The reason was simple, Orkney had put everything into their defensive efforts and this could possibly tell in the second half.
Half time 19 – 7
The second half started with Accies playing away from the clubhouse, and whatever the coaches had said at the interval, we saw Accies playing their usual pressure rugby from the kick off, the ball was turned over, and after several players had run at the opposition, the ball was inside the Orkney 22 and finally Jack McLean, who has shown great strength for a young player, drove his way over from 10 metres out. Good start to the first half. Conversion successful, Jamie Loomes 26 – 7
Accies were clearly ‘upping’ their game, their forwards carrying with attitude and backs putting their training ground moves to good use. The Orkney defence was being stretched and it was beginning to tell. Accies second row forward Ruaridh Wilson was having an outstanding game and his red scrumcap and flowing hair were dominant throughout the game.
Accies won an opposition lineout on the right hand touchline and after an initial drive by the pack the ball was moved to the backs, they in turn worked, a beautiful, training ground move, that we all watched with excitement and finally the ball arrived in the hands of the electrifying and skilful Gordon McGuire to score in the left hand corner.
The really tough conversion, from wide out, was successful 31– 7
Another great passage of play involving what seemed like every one of Accies players took the ball to within the Orkney’s 22 and it was finished off with a superb try Conversion successful 38 - 7
This year Accies coaching team are fortunate to be able to have a solid choice of ‘finishers’ as they are now called, but in my day were substitutes. The skill for the coaches is to know when and who to put on. An earlier injury to Kane Greggain saw Ryan Sweeney enter the fray, and young Logan McGonigle took over the hooking duties from Greg Valentine. There was also an opportunity for another youngster to enter the fray and on went James Smith to step up and replace Chris Woods on the wing. Soon after the substitution James found himself with ball in hand and some space, this however was well inside Accies half, undaunted he pinned his ears back and was round the first line of defence and clear, he moved infield and went on a diagonal run. Between the 10 metre line and the opposition 22 he started to look for support, and like any good player had the ball in two hands. The crowd started to shout ‘go big man go’ and the supporting players the same – this had the desired effect and James put on the after burners and left everybody in his wake. This player is most certainly one to watch. The score was under the posts and gave Jamie Loomes an easy conversion 45 – 7
It is always great to see a young man being made to feel special when all the players ran to congratulate him – a special moment I am sure he will remember.
Orkney never gave up and their forwards were rewarded when after an infringement from the kick off the ball was kicked into the corner and the lineout produced a couple of drives and another forwards try. Conversion missed 45 – 12
The second half saw Accies executing their game plan with crisp passing and forward driving. In fact one of the very good number of supporters at the game, made the comment ‘This is such an exciting team to watch and the speed they play at is very impressive’.
Accies do not like giving away tries, so they attacked the good kick off, collecting the ball and with controlled forward driving and offloading, they took the ball into the Orkney 22 where from 5 metres Rhuaridh Wilson drove over, (although Ruaridh will tell all it was at least 22 metres)
Touchline conversion missed 50 - 12
Accies were now firing on all cylinders and running the courageous Orkney defence all over the pitch. They were moving the ball with fluid confidence and in the process were demonstrating just how good this team could be. From just inside Orkney’s half the exciting James Smith went off on another terrific run and when he was stopped 10 metres from the line he produced a beautiful off-load to the supporting Jamie Loomes, a real treat for all those watching.
Under the posts conversion good 57 – 12
The young and talented Logan McGonigal had to come off after a superb run down the middle of the pitch from an offload by Hugh Lindsay was abruptly stopped by a crunching tackle. Accies physio Emma decided that cation was required and he left the field and Greg Valentine was restored to the hooker roll and as he had done last week was on hand to finish off the final move, out wide, on the right hand touch line.
It is clear that the most difficult kick for anyone right footed player is wide out on the right hand touchline, but Jamie struck it superbly and the ball sailed between the posts to finish the game on a high. 64 – 12
Full-time 64 – 12
The second half performance was one of the best 40 minutes of quality rugby that we have witnessed at New Anniesland and the banter in the clubhouse after the game was great.
Updated 22:05 - 8 Oct 2017 by Hugh Barrow
Accies now move to East Lothian to take on Haddington RFC next Saturday. They are 5 points clear at the top of the league but have tough games to come, and it is good to hear the coaches say ‘one game at a time’. There will be room on the bus and any supporters wishing to travel with the team please let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org
This is without doubt a strong team that has youth on its side and they are clearly enjoying the style of rugby they are playing and which is well worth travelling to watch. There is a believe that a happy changing room makes a good playing team and this team are both. They know how to play hard and socialising together.