Edinburgh Accies 19
ELÉNA de MELLO HOGARTH @ Raeburn Place
EDINBURGH ACCIES held their nerve to pull off an unexpected win in the penultimate match of the regular section of this final Tennent’s Premiership campaign.
It wasn’t a great first half as both the home side and the visitors rumbled up and down the soggy pitch, not quite managing to achieve anything from the abundance of line-outs they each had.
Accies were struggling to get out of their own half. Watsonians centre Angus Guthrie was looking dangerous with ball in hand, as was full-back Josh Rowland and wingers Rory Steele and Corran Henderson. But there were just too many errors from both teams, not to mention a flood of penalties, to amount to anything.
Watsonians finally put their foot on the gas, and after a bullocking run from number eight Michael Fedo, Rowland hit a superb angle to fly over for a try, converted by stand-off Lee Millar.
The visitors looked like scoring again before half-time, centre Andrew Chalmers working well with prop Greg Jackson and flanker Ross Graham, but they gave away another penalty.
Accies hit the ground running after the break, prop Martin McGinley barging over out wide. The conversion attempt from Vincent Hart was short, but the homes side suddenly had a spring in their step, with McGinley appearing in midfield to show off some fancy handling alongside centre Robbie Kent. Full-back Harry Paterson stepped up to the tee for a penalty but the kick drifted wide.
The Watsonians pack then took charge, trundling up the park, before Steele sprinted on to a short pass for the try, which Millar converted.
But, to their credit, Accies still didn’t let their heads drop, with second-rows Michael Badenhorst and Ronan Seydak, plus number eight Jamie Sole, leading the way through some determined tackling.
The home side managed to regain possession and winger Robbie Chalmers charged for the line. He didn’t quite make it, but a couple of phases later, flanker Rory Simpson did score for the home team, with replacement Richard Mill converting. Then Accies snatched the lead with a hard-fought try by Seydak which Mill, once again, converted.
Watsonians gathered themselves together and bullied their way up into the Accies 22 for the last five minutes of the match. Phase after phase followed before Steele almost made his way over to break Accies’ hearts, but in an eerily quiet Raeburn Place, with the crowd holding its breath, the home team defended courageously to keep Watsonians at bay until the ball bobbled their way and they booted it off the pitch for the win.
“The only difference between the first half and the second half was about ten or fifteen per cent in energy levels,” said Accies head coach Derek O’Riordan. “The guys played bloody well.”
Steve Lawrie, the disappointed Watsonians head coach, was quick to praise their opponents. “I think the better team won,” he concluded. “They were certainly hungrier. In the second half, they were more disciplined than us and deserved their win.”
Edinburgh Accies: H Paterson; C Gray, R Kent, N Armstrong, R Chalmers; V Hart, M Love; C Imrie, C Black, M McGinley, R Seydak, M Badenhorst, C Thomson, R Simpson, J Sole. Subs: R Jackson, C Taylor, A Inwood, M Sinclair, R Mill.
Watsonians: J Rowland; R Steele, A Chalmers, A Guthrie, C Henderson; L Millar, M Scott; G Jackson, F Renwick, D Ferguson, C McKill, F Simpson, G Nelson, R Graham, M Fedo. Subs: F Hobbis, K Watt, H Fisher, A Harris, E Fox.
Referee: J Perriam
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: McGinley, Simpson, Seydak; Cons: Mill 2.
Watsonians: Tries: Rowland, Steele; Cons: Millar 2.
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh Accies first): 0-5; 0-7 (h-t) 5-7; 5-12; 5-14; 10-14; 12-14; 19-14.
Man-of-the-Match: Accies’ second-row Michael Badenhorst was solid as a rock in their many line-outs and barrelled his way through the Watsonians defence with confidence.
Talking point: After taking just about every beating possible this season, Accies’ determination to fight until the end is commendable.