Edinburgh Accies 61
COLIN RENTON @ Stoneyhill
EDINBURGH ACCIES showed a clinical edge that yielded a barrowload of points and hinted that they will be worth watching as the season progresses, both for entertainment value and as potential title contenders.
Coach Iain Berthinussen insists that his squad is still a work in progress with both arrivals and departures over the summer hitting double figures. And he is keen for the players to push themselves and enjoy their rugby after a difficult previous season.
“We talked at half-time about maybe being a bit comfortable,” he said. “That’s no disrespect to Musselburgh and we talked about trying to find a relentless edge and at times we picked that out with some great defensive sets and some of our breakout play off turnover ball, and first-phase play. We just need to continue that.
“We just want to keep playing and having fun. A key thing for these boys is that last year maybe wasn’t fun. It was tough. We’ve had the same amount of wins as we had the whole of last season. We want to get a bit of fun back into it and we’re doing that.”
There was a gloomier mood in the home camp, where Graeme Paterson was honest in his assessment. “There is no way of sugar-coating it – we were second best at everything, really,” the Musselburgh coach said. “It’s going to be a long hard season if we have that kind of performance every week. We need to be better than – we are better than – that.”
Accies raced out of the blocks and were two tries up before the hosts had visited opposition territory. The first came with only two minutes on the clock when Robert Wilson raced at the home defence and offloaded to Ruari Campbell, who dotted down. Jamie Loomes added the extras and he was on target again ten minutes later after another well-executed move following a scrum saw Mark Sinclair send Ben Appleson over despite the attention of Gregor Tait.
Musselburgh finally showed what they can do in an attacking sense but their first attack foundered on a knock=-on in sight of the line. And they also squandered their next opportunity when they lost a lineout after opting to boot a penalty into touch. Tait had a chance to show his pace as the home side enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy. And their pressure paid off in 26 minutes when Tom Foley pounced on a wayward pass to bag a score, which Danny Owenson converted.
That hauled Musselburgh back into the contest but by the interval Accies had stepped up a gear and taken the try tally to five. The first of the touchdown trio came when skipper Jamie Sole was alert to a loose pass following a scrum in the home 22. And the bonus point score came when Angus Inwood charged down an Owenson clearance and followed through to score, leaving Loomes a simple task to add the extras. Accies were now playing with confidence and Sole was on hand to finish off a slick move when he powered his way over despite the attentions of Nathan Sweeney.
Musselburgh made a better start to the second half but failed to convert pressure into points and it was the visitors who were next to score when Wilson showed an impressive turn of pace to dart in. The half-century came into view when Jacob Adamson raced onto a chip through and Richard Mill converted. And that threshold was crossed when a powerful surge at a close range scrum ended with the referee awarding a penalty try. There was time for one more and this time it was Mill who finished off a handling moving before booting the final two Accies points.
It was little consolation for Musselburgh, but they had the final word when James Ferguson crossed with the final play and Owenson kicked the conversion.
Musselburgh: N Sweeney; T Foley, R Smith, R Watt, G Tait; P Cunningham, D Owenson; E Bonthron, J Crane, C Arthur, W Fleming, G McKinstrey, M Maltman©, L Hutson, C Champion. Subs: M Outram, R Stott, P Brown, J Haynes, K McGhie, J Ferguson.
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; R Cameron, R Wilson, R Mill, M Cairnes; J Loomes, M Sinclair; C Imrie, N Hall, C Lacour, D Dinnen, A Inwood, P O’Sullivan, J Sole©, R Campbell. Subs: S Crombie, F MacKenzie, J Bruce, M Love, J Adamson.
Referee: I Kenny.
Musselburgh: Tries: Foley, Ferguson. Cons: Owenson 2.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Campbell, Appleson, Sole 2, Inwood, Wilson, Adamson, penalty try, Mill: Cons: Loomes 5, Mill 2.
Scoring sequence: (Musselburgh first): 0-5, 0-7, 0-12, 0-14, 5-14, 7-14, 7-19, 7-21, 7-26, 7-28, 7-33, 7-35 (h-t) 7-40, 7-45, 7-47, 7-54, 7-59, 7-61, 12-61. 14-61.
Man of the Match: Robert Wilson, a product of the club’s BATS youths set up, has returned to Accies after studying in Glasgow and showed an impressive mix of power and pace that caused endless problems for the opposition defence and earned him a deserved try.
Talking point: Accies have the makings of a good squad that should continue to improve as the season progresses, while Musselburgh just need some points to create the foundation for confidence to grow.