Wednesday 24 January 2018

Match Report NL1 16: Accies v Dundee HSFP

Accies 40-5 Dundee

After heroic efforts with fork, tractor, roller and heat by our Director of Rugby (Bob Easson), Head Coach (Derek O’Riordan), 2nd XV Coach/Team Manager (Doug McClure), BATs Development Officer and 1st XV hooker (Callum Black) and the sun (sol or helios), the 1st XV pitch was, in their opinion, fit to play for our game against Dundee. Dundee were duly informed and departed for Auld Reekie.

However, when Dundee arrived their players were not so sure it was fit! To a man they inspected the pitch as though they were looking for the five gold sovereigns that were allegedly lost on the pitch in 1873, and though they did not find any lucre, they did say (to quote their match report) that “they found patches of ice on the pitch on which Torvill and Dean could have had a training session”. Indeed, one member of the Dundee party was heard to say: “It is rugby we are playing, not curling”. So they refused to play on it.

Fortunately, thanks to the Rector of the Edinburgh Academy and his groundsman, we had something up our sleeve, as we had been given permission to play on the school 1st XV pitch, the first time I can remember our 1st XV playing a league game at New Field in all my years at the Club. So it was a swift de-camp up the road.

We had a few changes from the previous week, with Matt Coupar, Max Love, James Pearse and Robin Snape all returning to the starting line up, and a bench made up of one back replacement and four front row players, knowing that Dundee would have a big pack.

After the weather we had had during the previous few days, we started in sunshine and a little cross wind - nice in the sun, chilly in the shade - but the pitch was in great fettle. We kicked off down the slight slope and started well, regaining the kick off, getting a penalty and finding ourselves camped in the Dundee 22.

With six minutes gone the Hirini brothers linked well, with Conor leaving his markers behind, committing the Dundee fullback (former Accie, Kieran Scoular) and passing to Luther to score. Richard Mill converted: 7-0.

Within seven minutes we were over the line again. This time, following a scrum 15m out, Lawrie Seydak picked up and broke through at least three tackles, finally knocking the number 10 back 5m to score. Mill again added the extras: 14-0.

There was no respite for Dundee. The kick-off was returned, they dropped the ball and Robin Snape repeated Lawrie Seydak’s bullocking run, sending defenders in all directions. When he was eventually put down, he off-loaded to Callum Black, who scored. With Mill’s conversion, it was now 21-0, 18 minutes gone.

We maintained the pressure on Dundee. After Black took one against the head, on our 10m line, we kicked deep and their subsequent clearance was taken by Robbie Chalmers on our half way. He made good ground and a series of inter passing involving half the team saw Snape get the ball 10m out and barge his way over to score by the left hand post. Mill made it four from four, so with 24 minutes gone the score was 28-0 and a bonus point in the bag.

The game settled down for the next ten minutes or so, but then from a line out on the Dundee 22 we drove the ball forward 15m, then moved the ball to Neil Armstrong on the crash. He went through two tackles and scored by the posts. Mill kicked his fifth successful conversion to make the score 35-0, 37 minutes gone.

In the final few minutes of the half, Dundee ‘woke up’ and, following some pressure on our line, they made some telling forward advances and were rewarded when their number 8, Lewis McNamara, crashed over for an unconverted try to make the score at half time 35-5.

The second half saw an improved performance from the Dundee team, while we perhaps took our foot off the gas, and the territory was even for much of the half. Any Dundee threats were snuffed out by our strong, well-organised defence, which kept our line intact all half.

The only score of the half came after a long period of play near our line. Ronan Seydak broke away from the Dundee 13, 10m from our line, and made it to the half way where he moved the ball on to Mill. Mill made a further 15m and the ball finished up with Shaun Gunn, who was put down with a high tackle. Play remained close to the Dundee line for a few more minutes until Shaun Gunn crashed over to make the score 40-5.

The remaining time was played out with neither side looking like scoring again.

It was a proverbial game of two halves. The first half we were well on top, set off like a train and scored four tries within 24 minutes and a fifth towards the end of the half. The second half was a 5-0 ‘game’ with Dundee putting up a superb, unrewarded effort, to recover some self-respect, but our defence was in good form keeping our line intact.

There was some initial disappointment that we did not add much to our score after such a good start. However, looking deeper into the Dundee results this season, our win by 35 points was their biggest loss by far this season. In fact, it was their biggest since we won by 17 points in September. Also, this was Dundee’s lowest scoring game this season and the equal lowest we had conceded all season. So, overall, it was a good day at the office for the team.

Man of the Match was Robin Snape, who left his mark on the game with a number of bullocking runs, a try under the posts and a great assist for Black’s try.

As we made our way back to the Club, I walked over our 1st XV pitch and it was still in fine fettle, but unused. Oh, I didn’t find one of those sovereigns either!

Due to the weather ours was just one of three National 1 games played on Saturday. One of the other two was Jed against Cartha and you could see how desperate they were to play, with a squad of 50 out clearing snow from the pitch. It paid off for them, as they took a bonus point win to keep them on our shirt-tails, five point behind us.

Tries: L Hirini; L Seydak; Black; Snape; Armstrong; Gunn
Conversions: Mill (5)

Onwards and upwards!


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