Premiership: Edinburgh Accies add to Aberdeen Grammar’s woes

Visitors underlined their play-off credentials with bonus-point win leaving hosts still searching for their big break

Aberdeen Grammar's inability to play a full 80 minutes cost them again against Edinburgh Accies. Image: Howard Moles
Aberdeen Grammar's inability to play a full 80 minutes cost them again against Edinburgh Accies. Image: Howard Moles

Aberdeen Grammar 19

Edinburgh Accies 42

JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw

ABERDEEN GRAMMAR and Edinburgh Accies came to this first game of the second half season with very different track records, but with a win being uppermost in their collective minds. For the Rubislaw outfit it was yet another chance to record their first victory of the season in their ninth outing but only their third game at home, while the Raeburn Place side were set on making a case for improving their position in the top four of the Premiership, not to mention the play-offs at the end of the campaign.

Accies, filled with the confidence of having beaten Grammar the week before in Edinburgh, were not surprisingly first out of the blocks, racing into a 28-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes, obviously relishing the 1pm early kick-off. Grammar on the other hand looked like a side who had already accepted relegation.

All that changed in the second half of the first half, however, as Grammar hit back with two touchdowns of their own, attributed to flanker Greig Ryan and winger Nathan Brown, both converted by centre and co-captain Tom Aplin. The come-back temporarily threatened the lead of the visitors who were happy and relieved to hear the half time whistle, even if that meant words of chastisement from head coach Iain Berthinussen.


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Clearly, the former Gala player reminded them of their first 20 minutes of supremacy which yielded four tries, scored by prop Clem Lacour, lock Jake Mills, full-back Vincent Hart and hooker Callum Black, all superbly converted by stand-off Jamie Loomes.

The versatile No 10 was, in fact the difference between the two sides, leading his line with authority, and displaying the kind of vision that an aspiring Accies will need if they are to go on and feature in the play-offs at the end of the season.

Duly composed after the break, Accies took back control, scoring a fifth try when centre Robbie Kent raced in after good work by his pack, effectively killing off the challenge of Grammar, especially as Loomes added the extras.

To their credit, the home side did not fold, rising to the occasion with probably the best try of the afternoon being attributed to replacement Ben Renton, who got on the end of a series of passes to score in the corner. Aplin was just off the mark with the kick, and unfortunately for the Rubislaw faithful the home side were unable to push on and claim a fourth try.

Instead it was the Edinburgh side who closed out the game with a late try from Kent, almost inevitably converted by the immaculate Loomes.

 

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Grammar’s ninth defeat of the season leaves them firmly anchored at the foot of the table, but with three consecutive home games to come, Iain Stanger, the Rubislaw forwards coach, still believes it is possible his team can survive.

“With players of the quality of flanker Ben Inglis in the team, we should not be going down,” he insisted.

Head coach Ali O’Connor was pleased with 20 minutes of the performance but said:”It’s the story of our season. We look as though we are going places, only to fall off the pace, but there were some stand-outs, including Inglis and replacement Patrick Mullholland, while stand-off Sam Knudson gave us options in attack. It’s not over yet, though the game with GHA next week is a huge one.”

Berthinussen was delighted with the try bonus point win. “We hit the ground running but eased, only to finish the stronger,” he said. :It was important to score the first try after the break. We showed real character. It’s a good way to start the second half of our campaign.”

 

Teams –

Aberdeen Grammar: C Shepherd; D Russell, M New, T Aplin Co–©, N Brown; S Knudson, A Addy;  J Robertson, M Schosser, G Breese, C Walker, N Coe Co–©, G Ryan, B Inglis, C Buchan. Replacements: G Robertson, A Robertson, P  Mullholland, E. Sinclair, B.Robertson.

Edinburgh Accies: V Hart; R Lile, R Kent, N Armstrong, B Appleton; J Loomes, J Troup; C Imrie, C Black©, C Lacour, J Mills, F Simpson, S Hegarty, J  Sole, R Campbell. Replacements: G Stevenson, A Winnington-Ingram, M Crowther, B Grainger, M Wallace.

Referee: David Young

 

Scorers – 

Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Ryan, Brown, Renton; Cons: Aplin 2.

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Lacour, Mills, Black, Hart, Kent 2; Cons: Loomes 6.

Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-14; 0-19; 0-21; 0-26; 0-28; 5-28; 7-28; 12-28; 14-28 (h-t) 14-33; 14-35; 19-40; 19-42.

 

Man-of-the-Match: There were a number of candidates from the winners, including Jamie Loomes, Robbie Kent and the entire back-row, but, despite being on the losing side, Ben Inglis was a stand out, defending and attacking in equal measure.

Talking Point: Home supporters might argue their team demonstrated great character and are unlucky to have had so many injuries but their decline is due to their inability to play for 80 minutes as has been the case to date. On this form, Accies will grace the play-offs, though they will need to learn not to switch off when in control if they are to offer a serious challenge to Currie Chieftains and Marr.


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About Jack Nixon 53 Articles
Jack is a Borderer, born in Langholm, and a graduate of Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. He was a founder member of Livingston Rugby Club in 1968 and has been rugby correspondent for the Aberdeen Press and Journal since 1997. He has been going to Murrayfield man and boy since 1954!