Thursday 22 December 2016

Match Report NL13: Accies v Jed-Forest

Tina Stevenson

Our enjoyment of the weekend’s games and social activities was tempered by the deeply sad news that Tina Stevenson passed away last Friday. Tina, mother of Josh Haining (camera man and video analyst for the 1st XV) and Xander Stevenson (one of the BATs S1 squad and a ball boy at some of our 1st XV games this season), was well known amongst the Accies Minis and BATs community and will be sadly missed. The thoughts and sympathies of all at Accies and BATs are with Josh, Xander and their family at this difficult time.

Saturday 17 December

The day at Raeburn Place started early with a sell-out lunch for the Has-beens - players and others from the 1980s to 2000s. It was a noisy lunch but a great warm-up to the two key games ahead. The 1st XV (third in the league) were playing Jed (second in the league and just one point ahead of us) and our 2nd XV (second in their league) were playing Stirling 2nd XV (unbeaten at the top of that league). Both games were to be played at Raeburn Place, where the pitches were in really good condition thanks to the efforts of Peter Drennan.

Accies 32-21 Jed-Forest

We thought for the first time this season we would go into the 1st XV game with the same backs as the previous week, but Alex Glashan reported in ill on the morning and Max Love moved into the starting XV from the bench. Jack Paterson took a place on the bench, now that his Fettes school rugby season is over, and Stuart Kirby replaced Love.

In the pack the only change was Greg Campbell, who was being ‘rested’ with a broken finger after playing with it the previous week! Lawrie Seydak moved to number 8 and Tom Drennan to blind-side. On the bench it was a welcome return for Sam Gibson (concussion) and James Pearse (exams).

We made as good a start to the game as we could have wanted, with two good converted tries within 13 minutes, one through sleight of hand and the other through brute force. However, over the next 20 minutes we allowed Jed back in the game to tie the score at 14-14.

We kicked off towards the clubhouse and into a slight wind, regained the kick and started brightly keeping pressure on Jed. We took the first scrum against the head and, through good runs by Matt Coupar, Neil Aitken and Shaun Gunn, finished up inside the Jed 22. Jed gained the ball but, under pressure, scrambled around till they knocked-on 15 metres from their line.

We won the scrum, Max Love passed to Will Stephen, who showed the ball to Paul Loudon, who was on a dummy run towards the forwards and fixed two Jed defenders, but gave it to Andrew Bell on his outside. The defence was totally bamboozled and Bell strode over to score unopposed. He then converted: 7-0 after just five minutes.

The next period saw some good running rugby, with us in the ascendancy, though not managing to play much in the Jed 22. Then, following a high tackle, we kicked for touch and had a lineout 20-metres from the Jed line. Ronan Seydak caught the throw in, down to Sole, who gave the ball to the fast advancing Lawrie Seydak. He stepped inside the Jed wing forward, then ran straight over the defending Jed winger to score a class try. Bell converted: 14-0 with 13 minutes gone.

During the next dozen minutes both sides continued to play attacking rugby but neither were able to put pressure on the others line. Then from a clearance kick Jed ran the ball back and their centre Gregor Young - one of the triumvirate of Young brothers in the Jed team - kicked ahead into space. He followed up and the ball bounced kindly into his arms for him to run the 25 metres to score under the posts. With Elliot Stewart’s conversion it 14-7 with 30 minutes played.

Two minutes later we made a long pass that did not go to hand. Gregor Young hacked the ball on for Jed and another kind bounce of the ball - this time off one of our players - landed in his arms and he went under the posts again. With the conversion the scores were now level: 14-14, 34 minutes gone.

From the restart we seemed to come out of our ’trance’ and took control of the game. Two Bell penalties took us into a 20-14 lead at half time. The second penalty also resulted in a yellow card for the Jed full back for cynical play stopping us win quick ball on the Jed line.

We started the second half well and with three minutes gone Will Stephen put a kick from the half way line deep into the corner. Jed threw in, Tom Drennan ’stole' the ball - the second Jed lineout in as many minutes we had won - down to Sole, who made ground, then quick passing across the backs: Love to Stephen and a miss-one pass to Paul Loudon, who then gave the ball to Ben Appleson to score. With four minutes of the half gone it was now 25-14.

It was now Jed, deep in our half, who were pressing on our line and Neil Aitken was yellow carded for being off side. Jed tapped the penalty and from it their ‘prop like’ Kiwi centre, Monty Mitchell, went over. With the conversion the score was 25-21, 16 minutes gone.

The following 15 minutes saw us camped in the Jed 22 and coming close three or four times. From a scrum Jed cleared, Robbie Chalmers caught the ball and gave it to Matt Coupar who made 30 metres up the field. At the tackle we won quick ball, with Love giving it left to Stephen and on to Sole on the 10-metre line. Sole then beat two men and ran around the last defender to score and Bell converted: 32-21 and five minutes remaining.

The final minutes were taken up with Jed trying to get a score for a losing bonus point and us managing to keep them comfortably out. The final score was 32-21 - and another try bonus point.

It was a well-deserved win, with the whole team and all the replacements playing their part to the full. The forwards were well in control most of the game - an early ball against the head, numerous turnovers of Jed throw-ins to their line out and some strong driving runs, setting the scene. We scored four good tries through some really good work, leaving some excellent memories to take into the New Year.

After 13 games we lie second in the league, two points behind Marr and four points ahead of Jed. We still have the best defensive record in the league, conceding only 189 points in our 13 games and the only club to have conceded less than 200 points. We are also the leading try scorer in the league with 66 tries.

We now have a break until 7 January 2017, when we visit Musselburgh, a place we slipped up last year so we will need to be on our mettle.

Tries: Bell; L Seydak; Appleson; Sole
Conversions: Bell (3)
Penalties: Bell (2)
Man of the Match was our ‘spring chicken’ winger Matt Coupar. Matt is also joint-third top try scorer in NL1 this season, having scored ten so far. Thank you to Scott Murray, Virtuo Wealth Management, who kindly sponsors Matt.

Video highlights courtesy of Scottish Rugby TV - the Accies' highlights are at around the 20-minute mark.

Accies 2nd XV 22-12 Stirling 2nd XV

This was always going to be an intriguing game. Unbeaten Stirling against our 2nds, who had only lost one game, and that was against Stirling at the beginning of the season when we were struggling for numbers, and first against second in the league.

We scored first, through Jamie Winks, then Stirling hit back with a try and then a converted try, to make the score 5-12. We kept going hard at Stirling and Winks scored a second and then his hat-trick try to make the half time score 15-12.

After half time, Jack Bruce scored our fourth and bonus point try, which was converted by Callum Ramm to make the final score 22-12.

Congratulations to the 2nd XV as that win moves them to the top of National Reserve League 2, two points ahead of Stirling and six points ahead of GHA - although both Stirling and GHA have a game in hand, which will probably end as 28-0 wins through no shows.

The next fixture for the 2nd XV is also away to Musselburgh on 7 January.

Tries: Winks (3); Bruce
Conversions: Ramm
Man of the Match was Jordan Thomson - who must have had a hell of a game to get the nod over hat-trick try scorer Winks.


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