Ardrossan v Accies
With three wins out of the last four games halting an losing streak, it was clear that our early season win at New Anniesland against Ardrossan would be difficult to repeat. Despite a gloomy weather forecast, the wintry sun was out with a stiff NW breeze running down the park away from the pavilion. The surface was soft, very soft in places, but overall good enough for open rugby.
The successful Orkney trip the week before had taken its toll on our half backs, but our pack looked strong enough to stand up to a bulky Ardrossan pack.
We played with the wind in the first half and used it to good effect to make long range clearances from full back whenever Ardrossan kicked for territory. Both sides tried to make headway using their packs and midfield, with Ardrossan looking dangerous with the occasional missed tackle showing that this was not going to be an easy encounter. Accies looked edgy, the distribution from scrum and ruck was slower than usual, we were not controlling our lineouts, and were making unusual handling errors. However, when given open space, our backs looked very dangerous. Throughout the first twenty minutes the Ardrossan forwards were penaliseda dozen times for various indisciplines, some of which appeared to be for advice freely given to the referee on how to do his job. This gave us two kickable chances at goal which were narrowly missed which we might later rue, and led to an Ardrossan yellow card ten minutes from half time and. The healthy Accies support were keen that we had to make the most of the man advantage and score before half time before turning round into the wind. However Ardrossan didn’t appear to miss the man and made a good intrusion up to Accies 10 metres line ending with a chip into full back Ross Cowan’s hands on our 22. He evaded the immediate tackles and ran at pace, weaving his way up to the opposition 22 where he was finally stopped. The ensuing ruck produced quick ball which came out to midfield with two quick rucks and was spun out on the narrow side to Chris Woods who took his try well. Kick missed.
Half time Ardrossan 0 – Accies 5
It was clear that a slender lead into the wind was not going to be enough, especially ten minutes into the second half when Ardrossan converted a penalty following strong forward play.
Ardrossan 3 – Accies 5
Shortly after, following some good midfield momentum, Accies received a penalty 30 yards out which Ross Cowan took well, with a low, searing kick into the wind.
Ardrossan 3 – Accies 8
We were making useful intrusions into the Ardrossan half, but handling errors, lack of lineout control coupled with a strong Ardrossan scrum, were looking ominous. Our full back who had played well then came off injured. Twenty minutes gone, the Accies hooker retired with a nasty cut to the eye, which upset the balance of the scrum. The Ardrossan pack looked a strong cohesive unit and following a scrum on our 22 took advantage of our rearranged front row by shoving our scrum back for that unbelievable distance to score just wide of the posts to level the match. An easy conversion, casually taken, was missed.
Ardrossan 8 – Accies 8
Shortly after with 15 minutes to go, with the Accies scrum under pressure, our prop was yellow carded, further disrupting our scrummage. From this, Ardrossan converted a good penalty to atone for their early missed conversion and squeeze into the lead.
Ardrossan 11– Accies 8
This gave Ardrossan the heart that they could win out this game, and deny Accies a losing point. So it proved when they received another scrum on our 22, and with a man down, they repeated the same scrummage technique as before and walked a scrum over the line to finish the game off in the closing minutes. Conversion from wide missed
Ardrossan 16– Accies 8
This was a disappointing result following our Herculean efforts at Orkney the previous week, which unfortunately had been followed by a stomach bug for several of the team. We are a much better, more fluent and cohesive team than this result showed. With a side back to full strength against Dalziel at Motherwell next week at 2:00pm, we should be looking to resume our title contentions which remain in our own hands.
Updated 13:31 - 4 Feb 2018 by Hugh Barrow