Thursday 18 January 2018

Match Report NL1 15: Aberdeen v Accies

Aberdeen 10-24 Accies

We turned up at Aberdeen with almost the same side as the previous week, the only changes being Conor Hirini replacing the unavailable Matt Coupar and Will Stephen coming onto the bench.

It was a grey day with a strongish wind blowing across the pitch, giving slight advantage to the team playing down hill, as Aberdeen’s pitch has a reasonable slope, left to right looking from the stand.

We kicked off down the hill and deadlock ensued for the first 15 minutes. We were then awarded a penalty, which allowed us to clear from our half to 20m from Aberdeen’s line. We won the lineout and drove play to within 5m of their line, where they were penalised for coming into the side of the driving maul.

We went for touch on the 5m line. Callum Black threw to Ronan Seydak, who gave the ball to brother Lawrie. Lawrie then came back to the narrow side and took out the only defender before giving the ball to the unmarked Black in the 5m channel. Black scored: 0-5, 15 minutes gone.

There was no further movement on the score card for a further eight minutes when, after a long period of Aberdeen play in our half, they lost the ball on our 22 and Conor Hirini made 20m and kicked deep. Aberdeen’s clearance was taken by Ronan Seydak on the halfway. He passed to Sam Johnson, onto Richard Mill, onto Jamie Sole, who went through a gap and put Callum Ramm in to score in the corner: 0-10 after 25 minutes.

Within three minutes we were over again, after we took advantage of an Aberdeen direct kick to touch, taking play back to just outside their 22. From the lineout we went forward and moved the ball to midfield, where both Seydak brothers made good ground, Ronan coming to within inches of scoring. We recycled quickly to Mill, who popped the ball back inside to Luther Hirini to go under the posts. Mill converted: 0-17, 28 minutes played.

For the first period of the remaining time we were deep in Aberdeen’s half, but other than Angus Inwood coming close, we could not add to our points. The last five minutes were played out in our half, with Aberdeen retaining possession for lengthy periods. However, our defence was in charge, preventing them from getting too near our line.

Half time saw the score still at 0-17, in a game punctuated by too many penalties and both teams turning over too much ball, for various reasons.

In the second half, Aberdeen were now playing with the advantage of the slope and the wind. Although we started the second half well, within four minutes our scrum fell apart 5m out and their no 8, Greig Ryan, picked up and scored: 5-17.

Within five minutes Robbie Chalmers found himself taking a 10-minute ‘rest’, for some offence at a breakdown. Looking to capitalise on their man advantage, Aberdeen took a scrum, moved the ball left and then back right, where they found a 2 on 1. A long pass to their right-winger Matt Arnold saw him score in the corner. Only one score in it now: 10-17, 14 minutes gone.

Following Aberdeen’s try we brought on three more replacements and settled down to try and control the game again. We managed a period of play in their 22 and, after recycling the ball a number of times in close play, we then moved the ball out wide and the Aberdeen hooker, Matthias Schosser, slapped down a pass under the posts and took his turn for a yellow card.

We kicked for the corner, won the line and drove Aberdeen back for Rory Simpson to score our bonus point try. With Mill’s conversion the score was now 10-24, with 20 minutes to go.

We were now back to full strength, with our last replacement coming on instead of Chalmers returning, We spent the last 20 minutes in the descending Aberdeen gloom, as it got darker and darker, and mainly in the Aberdeen half, with the last five minutes spent continuously in their 22.

Even though we came close in that period, there was no more scoring and we finished up worthy winners, 10-24, four tries to two and a very valuable bonus point.

It was a gutsy performance against a team that has done reasonably well since we played them in September. We managed to keep them to their second lowest score of the season. Their lowest score of the season was 5 and that was when we played them in September.

Man of the Match was Callum Black for his good all-round performance and fine opening try.

As with the previous week, results in the other games went much as expected, with Jed, Gala, GHA and Selkirk all winning. Perhaps the one surprise was Dundee’s loss at home to Kelso. That still leaves us five points ahead of Jed, with the chasing pack of five some 19 to 24 points behind us.

This coming Saturday it is Dundee at Raeburn Place at 14:00, following a sell out pre-match lunch generously sponsored by Eric Young & Co and Lindsays.

Tries: Black; Ramm; L Hirini; Simpson
Conversions: Mill (2)

Onwards and upwards!


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