Edinburgh Accies 20
MATT VALLANCE @ Fullarton Park
MARR surrendered their 100 per cent record in an engrossing battle in which yellow cards played a crucial role. Edinburgh Accies came with a plan, to stifle their hosts at the breakdown, and, responding to a fantastic lead from the outstanding Jamie Sole, they did just that to become the first team this season to deny the Troon side a winning four-try bonus.
“This result is a definite confidence-booster,” said Accies coach Andrew Easson, who was in charge in place of the holidaying Iain Berthinussen. “Jamie was immense, the effort from everyone was fantastic, and if we could expand our opening and closing 20 minutes over a full game we would fear nobody.”
For Marr, Craig Redpath paid a wholehearted tribute to the visitors: “They stopped us playing for long periods,” he said. “However, although we played well in patches, we made a few errors. Tthis was a definite wake-up call – but we remain unbeaten.”
Accies went in front in 12 minutes, Jamie Loomes exerting full retribution for the tip tackle which earned Ewan Hamilton-Bulger a yellow card. Accies continued on top with their extra man, but once the big lock returned Marr battled back and went ahead in 32 minutes, when Benedict Grant picked up at the base of a five-metre scrum to drive over, with Colin Sturgeon adding the extras.
Sean Crombie was then yellow-carded at a ruck and Sturgeon extended Marr’s lead with the penalty. The visitors were then reduced to 13 men when Declan Dinnen joined Crombie on the naughty step, and right on half-time Marr stretched away when Gregor Ness touched down and Sturgeon made it 17-3 with the final kick of the half.
Accies saw off the double yellows without further loss, but barely had they been restored to their full complement when Sturgeon further increased the Marr lead with another penalty. A yellow card for Marr’s Fraser Grant, for a trip, proved costly for the home team as Accies turned up the pressure and Max Love drove over for a try, converted by Loomes.
With the game entering its final ten minutes and Accies on top, the Marr defence was again breached, lock Angus Inwood barging over to make it a five-point game. The visitors now scented redemption and, with four minutes left, they levelled the game with another unconverted try from close range – replacement Will Stephen getting the touch-down.
The remaining four minutes were tense, with Marr throwing everything at their guests, but, with Sole continuing to work wonders at the breakdown, Marr could not break through. When Marr butchered an advancing scrum under the Accies posts, losing control at the back, Accies happily accepted the turnover and booted the ball dead for a deserved draw.
Marr: G Ness; S Bickerstaff, R Dalgleish, C Bickerstaff (captain), J Scott; C Sturgeon, G Montgomery; B Sweet, O Rossi, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, F Grant, M Pearce, R Brown, B Grant. Subs: J Drummond, W Farquhar, J Harvey, G Baird, I Turaga.
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; M Sinclair, R Wilson, N Armstrong, C Ramm; J Loomes, M Love; D Anderson, S Crombie, C Lacour, A Inwood, D Dinnen, P O’Sullivan, J Sole (captain), R Campbell. Subs: R Simpson, C Lamberton, C Thomson, J Bruce, W Stephen.
Referee: F Brown.
Marr: Tries: B Grant, G Ness. Cons: C Sturgeon 2. Pens: Sturgeon 2.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: M Love, A Inwood, W Stephen. Con: J Loomes. Pen: Loomes.
Scoring sequence (Marr first): 0-3, 5-3, 7-3, 10-3, 15-3, 17-3 half-time, 20-3, 20-8, 20-10, 20-15, 20-20.
Yellow cards –
Marr: E Hamilton-Bulger, F Grant.
Edinburgh Accies: S Crombie, D Dinnen.
Man of the Match: He won turnovers galore, was always linking play and gave a real captain’s lead – it has to go to Jamie Sole of Accies.
Talking point: The yellow cards. Both sides definitely got a boost from having the extra man, but Marr must be kicking themselves for not making better use of the two-man advantage they enjoyed either side of the interval.