Edinburgh Accies 28
COLIN RENTON @ Newfield
IT MAY not have been a classic in terms of the rugby on show, but there was plenty of excitement in a match that hung in the balance until the fourth added minute when Danny Owenson lined up a penalty. However, the ever-reliable Musselburgh man slipped as he made impact with the ball and his effort drifted wide. That left the sides with three points apiece. And although the spoils were shared, there were differing reactions from the two camps.
For Musselburgh coach Graeme Paterson, it was a crucial result and, equally importantly, further evidence that his men are heading in the right direction.
“We’re proud of the guys and the way they are performing in games,” he said. “They are not lying down to anybody and they’ve improved massively in the last few weeks. To be fair, we could have nicked it in the end.
“We’ll have a look at some of the decisions around scrums, but overall we’re pretty pleased with the performance, and getting three points. We need to keep clinging in there. We have massive games coming up against sides that are just above us.
“You can see in the results and in the way we’re playing. the guys are starting to play with a bit more confidence. They trust in themselves to go out and deliver. It’s all about them – they’ve done that.”
By contrast, Accies coach Iain Berthinussen saw it as a missed opportunity. “First half, we had territory and we got pressure by being direct,” he said. “For a 30 minute spell in the game we were really good, but we just fell away in the second half and we were lucky to come away with a draw in the end. I’m really disappointed.
“We didn’t play in the right areas. When we did play in the right areas, Musselburgh didn’t cause us a huge amount of issues. We’ve got to keep working hard and put it right. We’ve got a new squad out there and we’re starting to get some boys back from injury which will help.”
Accies held the lead four times but on each occasion were pegged back. The first score came with two minutes on the clock when Neil Armstrong gathered a chip ahead from Owenson and ran it back at the visitors before freeing Jamie Sole, who finished the job and left Richard Mill with a straightforward conversion.
Within four minutes, the scores were tied after Cammy Pride was last to rise following a series of phases after a close range lineout. Owenson added the extras.
Accies were enjoying the greater share of the territory and regained the initiative when Cameron Bain forced his way over after a series of pick and go efforts by the home pack. Mill again drilled over the conversion, and Accies sought to extend their lead with another series of attacks.
However, those efforts came to nothing and, despite having Pryde in the sin-bin for a high tackle, it was the visitors who were next on the scoreboard. Owenson booted clear and Gregor Tait collected then made good ground before releasing Graeme McKinstry, who hurtled in for the score. Owenson again restored parity with the extra two points.
By half time, Accies were in front once more. Again they battered at an unrelenting Musselburgh defence and eventually it was livewire scrum half Mark Sinclair who found a way through, with Mill’s conversion handing the hosts a 21-14 interval lead.
Musselburgh restarted well and the pressure led to a string of penalties that ended with Sole being yellow-carded for on offence too many by Accies. He had barely left the field when a powerful Musselburgh scrum was halted illegally and the referee awarded a penalty try.
McKintsry then joined Sole on the sidelines after a dangerous tackle and, in his absence, Accies took the lead for a fourth time through a penalty try awarded when Musselburgh’s retreating scrum collapsed.
But, there’s plenty of character in the Stoneyhill squad and they finished strongly, once again capping a period of pressure with a forwards’ try that was credited to Paddy Brown. Owenson converted then saw his bid to snatch the win thwarted by that slip.
Edinburgh Accies: R Wilson; F Lindsay, R Campbell, N Armstrong, M Campbell; R Mill, M Sinclair; C Imrie, S Crombie, D Anderson, D Dinnen, C Bain, C Thomson, J Sole©, J Bruce. Subs: K Jenkins, C Lacour, T Jones, M Love, R Bonner.
Musselburgh: J Doig; J Ferguson, R Watt,P Cunningham, G Tait; F Roddick, D Owenson©; C Owenson, J Crain, C Arthur, G McKinstry, W Fleming, J Haynes, C Pryde, M Outram, M Maltman. Subs: S Grahamslaw, N McNairn, E Bonthron, L Hutson, R Smith.
Referee: T French.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Sole, Bain, Sinclair, Penalty Try: Cons: Mill 3.
Musselburgh: Tries: Pryde, McKinstry, Penalty Try, Brown; Cons: D Owenson 3.
Scoring sequence (Accies first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 7-7; 12-7; 14-7; 14-12; 14-14; 19-14; 21-14 (h-t) 21-21; 28-21; 28-26; 28-28.
Yellow cards –
Edinburgh Accies: Sole
Musselburgh: Pryde, McKinstry
Man of the Match: It wasn’t a day for flowing rugby, so the ambition of Accies strong-running centre Neil Armstrong and Musselburgh winger James Ferguson was admirable, with the latter just earning the nod for his tireless effort.
Talking point: It’s getting tight at the bottom, and the run-in to the regular season looks set to be compelling.