A tough match in the rain – but Accies take one step forward
Despite the atrocious weather of the past weeks and the downpour over the previous 12 hours, New Anniesland pitch was once again in great condition. However the temperature, rain and wind meant that conditions were always going to play a significant role in this encounter.
St Boswells arrived in determined mood as a victory would put them right into contention, despite the deduction of 2 points for a law infringement. Victory for Accies would put us top of the table (on point’s difference) over Newton Stewart, with a game in hand, as they had no match today.
The visitors kicked off and this much anticipated encounter got up and running. After the open minutes with both teams trying to test each other, St Boswells, using their favourite charges up the 10 channel, were awarded a penalty just outside the Accies 22 for what had been deemed to be a no arms tackle. The St Boswells very reliable kicked added the 3 points. 0 – 3
This ignited Accies into a period of rugby that they always try to play, but in today’s conditions was always going to be difficult. This pressure resulted in a penalty in what appeared to be a simple kickable position, but wind and weather put paid to that. This did not dampen the spirit of this Accies side and with another spell of good running from the back row, a break by Josh Waldin released Ross Cowan who was tackled 20 metres out but a superb off load saw Kris Mathie romp home for the first try of the day.
Very difficult conversion missed. 5- 3
St Boswells now had their best period of rugby in the match and using their big forwards running of their number 9 they tried really hard to break down Accies defence. Fortunately this is an aspect of the game that the players have clearly been working very hard on and St Boswells were struggling to get into a position to really threaten the Accies line.
Another penalty was awarded 10 metres inside Accies half and the St Boswells kicker was confident. He stepped of a hit a beautiful kick between the posts, even if it only just made it over the bar. 5 – 6
Accies were now behind for the second time and the game had developed into the game we had been expecting, with each set of forwards testing each other. Accies came very close to a second try when finally they managed to move the ball wide again and it was only a desperate high tackle on Josh Waldin that appeared to have denied Accies a score. However it transpired that the referee had decide it should be a penalty to Accies , however due to some retaliation from Accies he reversed the penalty and St Boswells cleared the danger with a superb kick. More pressure from the line out and again forwards running at the standoff ensued and they worked themselves into a position 35 metres out from Accies line. Another penalty and Accies were further behind with the first half drawing to a close. 5 – 9
Accies were still trying to run the ball and Ross Cowan made several breaks from deep but could not link up with the supporting players. The backs were struggling to put together their natural game but with forwards and backs working together they came very close to another score just before the end of the first half, but it was not to be.
Half – time 5 – 9
The first half kicked off with the rain continuing but the wind dying away, and as Accies had been playing into the relatively stiff breeze in the first half they could have been forgiven to think the rugby gods were once again working against them. However they were clearly determined to apply as much pressure on St Boswells as they could and with the referee penalising one of the opposition forwards, again, for entering the ruck from the side, he awarded Accies a penalty, 8 metres inside the St Boswells half, and yellow carded the offender. Up steps Jamie Loomes, who it has to be said was not having his best day with the boot, and calls for the kicking tee. A slight gaps of amazement rang around the stand and one worthy said ‘it will be the right decision if it goes over or the Captain will have some explaining to do in the bar’. Well to his great credit Jamie stepped up and hit it perfectly, and without the aid of the wind, lifted Accies spirits around the ground. 8 – 9
Accies kept the opposition under pressure from the kick off and it wasn’t long before they had another kickable penalty which Jamie Loomes, now much more confident in his kicking, slotted the 3 points to put Accies ahead for the first time in 50 minutes of rugby. 11 - 9
St Boswells were not going to give up their chance and possible survival in the run-in for promotion. They kept to their game plan and it has to be said Accies defence stood firm. A missed (difficult) penalty was the only real action for the next 10 minutes. St Boswells game plan and style of rugby can be very effective, if not the most entertaining, and they are not in the top 4 for no reason. This season has seen a much stronger and determined set of forwards turning out for Accies and there was never a real threat on the Accies line and when after Jamie Loomes came off and Adam Lowrie took over the kicking duties, he slotted a beautiful kick from a penalty about 30 metres out. 14 – 9
This game was never going to be a spectacle of brilliant flowing rugby but it was a demonstration for the considerable number of supporters who came out to support the boys, that Accies now have the pack to hold their own against some of the biggest forwards in our league.
Accies secured another 4 points and now sit top of the table and with two big home games to come this month, a real opportunity to cement that position.