Wednesday 7 December 2016

Match Report NL11: Aberdeen v Accies

Aberdeen 5-32 Accies

After a three-week break from league rugby - what a waste of time - we returned with an away game at Aberdeen and the halfway point of the league season.

Through a mixture of unavailability, injury and rotation we had a very different starting XV this week. Alex Glashan and Jack Forrester started at centre (with Neil Armstrong twisting his ankle last Thursday and the Chalmers boys in Dubai), Will Stephen started at fly half (Andrew Bell unavailable) and Max Love at scrum half.

Our most recent international cap, James Pearse, was on study leave and Shaun Gunn, fresh from his U19 and U20 exploits over the last two weeks, took his place. Connor Weetman started at hooker with regular Callum Black on the bench and Ronan Seydak slotted in for still injured Sam Gibson.

It was pleasing to see Paul Loudon on the bench. He has not played 1st XV rugby for us for six and a half years, whilst he was gaining two Blues at Cambridge and then working in London. Good to see you back Paul.

The Rubislaw pitch was in good condition and the weather better than we could have hoped for in early December, with no wind.

We kicked off, playing down the slope, and put Aberdeen under pressure from the start but after a good break the pass went to ground and we lost the ball.

Although most of the play was in the Aberdeen half of the field and we looked to be in control at scrum and line out, we could not make headway through what looked like ‘ring rustiness’. A number of breaks fizzled out through dropped passes or loosing the ball in contact. It was not till 20 minutes had gone that we opened our scoring, when Ben Appleson kicked a penalty for a high tackle: 3-0.

Five minutes later, after we had Aberdeen deep in their half, their tight-head was yellow carded after being told four times by the ref not to do what he was doing. We kept play on their line and, after a drive that rocked the posts, the ball was moved quickly right by Max Love to Will Stephen who threw a long pass - missing out four men - to Connor Weetman hanging on the wing, where the last scrum had been, to score, The conversion from out wide was missed: 8-0.

Things went from bad to worse for Aberdeen. Their restart went straight into touch and from the scrum on the halfway spot we kicked deep and they knocked on. From the resultant scrum Aberdeen were driven back and penalised. We took a kick to touch in the corner, won the lineout and Jamie Sole was driven over the line to score: 13-0, 35 minutes gone.

From the restart Aberdeen gained their first real time in our half of the field, but a lost lineout and another penalty from a scrum soon took that away. The half finished with us pressing on the Aberdeen line, though we gave away a penalty. The score at half time: 13-0.

The second half started with play going back and forward between the two 22-metre lines, with too many mistakes to get any continuity. With eight minutes gone Aberdeen were penalised on their 10-metre line. We kicked for the corner, won the line out and peeled round the back of the line, where from the breakdown ‘The Seagull’ Clem Lacour scored a good try. Stephen converted: 20-0, 10 minutes gone.

10 more minutes of mistake-ridden ‘mid-field’ rugby took place and nothing really happened until, at an Accies’ put in on the half way line, we drove them back 10 metres to gain a penalty. This was kicked to the corner and we won the lineout, peeled round the back and moved the ball quickly to Stephen who pushed a grubber through the flat defence. Glashan picked up on the bounce and scored the bonus point try: 25-0, 22 minutes gone.

Shortly after we were caught napping and lacking defence on the right of the breakdown. Aberdeen exploited the gap to score a try in the right hand corner: 25-5, 25 minutes gone.

After another uneventful few minutes, replacement James Evans made a nice break from our 22, shipped the ball on to replacement Callum Black, who carried the ball 25 metres. From the break down, Glashan, who was now back at scrum half, moved the ball to Stephen who, for the second time, chipped through a flat defence for the ball to bounce kindly into Matt Coupar’s hands to score. Stephen converted: 32-5, 33 minutes gone.

In the final minutes we came close to scoring a couple of times, but did not quite get there and the game petered out with us pressing the Aberdeen line.

We would of course settle for a bonus point win away at Aberdeen but with the amount of possession we had, and our dominance of the set play and breakdowns, we could well have scored over 50 points. Our defence was generally strong, although the coaches will be disappointed to have conceded a try out of nothing.

The win puts us a fraction further ahead of Marr, who also had a bonus point win against Musselburgh. We are still equal on points, now 50 each, but we are better off by three on points difference. What a scene-setter for Saturday’s game away to Marr - 2pm kick off.

Onwards and upwards!

Tries: Weetman; Sole; Lacour; Glashan; Coupar
Conversions: Stephen (2)
Penalties: Appleson
Man of the Match: Will Stephen, who is kindly sponsored by Euan McFie.

Video Highlights
Accies' tries
Accies' breaks


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