COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
BOROUGHMUIR progressed to the last eight of the BT Cup with a well deserved win over city rival Edinburgh Accies. The champions of two years ago were given a tougher test than the score-line might suggest. However, they fully merited the success for their better game management, ability to break down a hardworking Accies defence and a dominant second half effort.
“I thought Accies defended really well. They put us under loads of pressure,” admitted Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright. “We just didn’t play the right game. We talked about what we wanted to do and just didn’t to it. They got too involved in a forward battle.”
However, Wright was satisfied with aspects of the showing by his men, and also at gaining a psychological edge over a side that could be opponents again several weeks from now.
“When we counter-attacked we scored some great tries. We can do that. We can play rugby,” he added. “We won. That was important to get into the next round of the Cup and potentially we might play them in the play-off game for the Premiership. We’re happy at getting through but a bit disappointed with the performance.”
His counterpart Derek O’Riordan was largely in agreement, saying: “I think the score-line flattered them. They were really clinical with turnover ball and when we kicked poorly. But, everywhere else we matched them and more.”
And, in assessing the readiness of his side to move up to the top flight, he added: “Up front we are not that far away. What we are lacking is a little more energy in our back three.”
Inevitably given the sleet and rain, it was a contest that was strewn with handling errors, but both sides deserved credit for producing such an entertaining encounter in the circumstances. And, while the weather was a leveller, Accies could take heart from the way they competed, and particularly their defensive effort.
O’Riordan had given his men a free rein to be adventurous and, from the outset, they showed their determination to cast off the shackles, running the ball from deep. An early incursion into home territory yielded a penalty that was despatched into touch. From the ensuing line-out, the Accies pack edged towards the line and a secondary surge took the heap of bodies over, with Clement Lacour touching down. Andrew Bell added the conversion.
That concession provoked a reaction from the hosts, who looked to have scored a couple of minutes later, although the referee adjudged that Chris Laidlaw had been held up by Callum Black.
However, the score was coming and, although the Accies defence repelled several attacks, the visitors had no answer to the pace and power of Grant McConnell who took possession on halfway, accelerated past two tacklers, eased off then powered away once more for an outstanding solo score. Laidlaw’s conversion restored parity.
Momentum was now with the hosts and they doubled their tally in 23 minutes. Again it was McConnell who did the damage, this time taking a scoring pass from Greg Cannie and dotting down in the corner. Laidlaw’s conversion struck a post but Boroughmuir had their noses in front.
Accies trimmed the deficit when Bell slotted a penalty shortly before the half hour mark, and sparked a spell of open play that saw possession turned over several times as the tricky conditions and relentless pace took their toll.
The hosts were gradually gaining the upper hand and they were given an added advantage when Black was shown a yellow card for killing the ball at the breakdown. Things got worse for Accies shortly afterwards when Jack Paterson joined Black in the sin bin after obstructing an attacker.
The visitors produced a heroic defensive effort, holding up Aubrey Mncube and beating back a series of attacks, but were eventually undone with the final play of the half which saw the ball spun out to Jordan Edmunds who went over at the corner. Laidlaw banged over the conversion to give Boroughmuir a 19-10 lead at the break.
The home side enjoyed the territorial advantage throughout the third quarter but failed to add to their points tally until the 59th minute. A spilled ball on the edge of the home 22 created an opportunity to break out at pace and Mncube did the hard work before releasing Edmunds, who raced down the left wing then passed inside for Rob Cairns to complete the job, leaving Laidlaw with a straightforward conversion.
The Accies resistance was broken and they had salt rubbed into their wounds when McConnell was on hand to complete his hat-trick after another slick handling move. Laidlaw converted then did so again after Cairns sprinted through the Accies defence and offloaded to Stuart Clark, who displayed impressive pace to finish off.
There was time for one final addition to the scoreboard, and Accies had the last word when Paterson atoned for his earlier yellow card with a late try which Bell converted to complete the scoring.
Boroughmuir: D Steele; G McConnell, A Cox, G Cannie, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw©, S Johnson; D Robertson, T King, T Gracie, C Atkinson, J Ure, A Mncube, C Keddie, M Tweddle. Subs: S Clark, D Winning, M Walker, R Cairns, R Kerr.
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; M Coupar, P Loudon, J Forrester, J Paterson; A Bell, A Glashan; M McGinley, C Black, C Lacour, S Gibson, N Aitken, G Campbell, J Sole©, T Drennan. Subs: J McSorley, M Sinclair, J Bruce, N Armstrong, R Chalmers.
Referee: D Collins (RFU)
Boroughmuir: Tries: McConnell 3, Edmunds, Cairns, Clark; Conversions: Laidlaw 5.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries; Lacour, Paterson; Cons; Bell 2; Pen: Bell.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 7-7; 12-7; 12-10; 17-10; 19-10 (h-t) 24-10; 26-10; 31-10; 33-10; 38-10; 40-10; 40-15; 40-17.
Edinburgh Accies: Black, Paterson.
Man-of-the-Match: A close call when Grant McConnell was at his clinical best, but Aubrey Mncube edges it for an all-action performance.
Talking Point: With a hard fought win under their belts, Boroughmuir move into the last eight of the competition – can they also use the result to kick on and secure their place in the Premiership?
Image: David Gibson – www.fotosportuk.photoshelter.com