Edinburgh Accies 28
Aberdeen Grammar 7
GARY HEATLY @ Raeburn Place
IT certainly wasn’t one for the purists, but Edinburgh Accies got the job done in the end, earning a bonus-point victory over winless Aberdeen Grammar to move into the top four in the Tennent’s Premiership.
Fair play to Grammar: they stuck to their task manfully for 68 minutes at Raeburn Place until Accies bagged their third converted try of the day through back-row man Jamie Sole.
That made it 21-7 to the hosts and the all-important fourth converted try came just four minutes later when winger Hamish Janes finished off a breakaway move started by replacement Vincent Hart in his own half.
Mission accomplished for Ruairi Campbell’s men, then. Ross Young, who was in charge of Accies alongside fellow assistant coach Chris Martin in place of head coach Iain Berthinussen, said: “It wasn’t the most free-flowing of matches, but we know that in the Premiership there are no easy games and Grammar were going to make it hard for us.
“The boys stuck in well in the first half when things weren’t going quite as we wanted them to and then they really dug in to create chances in the second half before an excellent late try sealed things and got us the bonus point.
“We are in a decent run of form and we just have to try and tighten a few things up ahead of the next batch of games. As I say this wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but it is the points that count.”
For Accies, back-row Matt Walker was a strong performer on a day when no one was a stand-out, while stand-off Jamie Loomes’ kicking game controlled things well when the match got scrappy, and Janes is a clearly dangerous attacker in space.
Grammar, coming off the back of seven straight defeats, were bolstered by the availability of tighthead prop George Breese through the Super6 Premiership player draft and Edinburgh Rugby Academy player Cameron Scott. And it was the latter who was into the action early, a deft grubber kick into the Accies’ 22 causing problems before the defence mopped up and cleared.
In the ninth minute, Accies took the lead when centre Robbie Kent ran a nice line to get through some weak defence to score a try. Loomes converted.
Grammar were then dealt a blow six minutes later when loose-head prop Callum Reddish was forced off with a calf injury, substitute hooker Liam Buchan replacing him with Mattias Schosser moving across to the No 1 spot.
In the 26th minute, Sole just failed to grasp a neat offload which would have seen him heading towards the try-line and Accies were not quite hitting the heights we know they can in attack.
Three minutes later, experienced Grammar back-row Greig Ryan was sin-binned when the ball appeared to be killed while Accies were mounting a swift attack and the visitors had to see out the majority of the rest of the half without him.
Around the same time as he was about to return to the field, Accies eventually got over for their second try when former Boroughmuir man Walker went in from short range. Loomes converted and it was 14-0 at the interval.
Season Appeal 2022
We hope you are enjoying our unrivalled coverage of Scottish Rugby. While mainstream media continues to reduce its interest in the rugby family in Scotland, The Offside Line does its very best to make sure all levels of the domestic game are reported.
Our commitment to the game and sharing its stories means that we do not have a paywall, so we would ask you (only if you can!) to support The Offside Line, either with a one off donation, or with a monthly contribution.
We have been keeping Scottish rugby in the news since 2016 and will have 3 million page views this year, making The Offside Line first for Scottish rugby.
Grammar knew they needed a good start to the second period if they were to have any chance in the game and a good break up the middle by their skipper Tom Aplin signalled their intent.
They got their reward in the 46th minute when, after a number of phases, Liam Buchan went over for five points and centre Aplin converted to make it 14-7.
The hour mark came and went and although Grammar had some possession they made too many handling errors to make any more inroads into the Accies 22.
And the hosts made them pay with 12 minutes to play when, after a number of forward shunts towards the try line from close in, Sole was the man credited with getting the ball down. Loomes converted.
That seemed to relax Accies and with a 14-point cushion Belgian international Hart, who had come on just before the interval for the ill Kent, fielded a kick in his own half and headed off down the right.
He had a couple of team-mates in support and, after some good handling, it was big Janes who got free of the flailing defenders and dotted down for a cracking score. Loomes converted to make it 28-7 and that was the way things finished.
The two sides meet again next weekend in a rearranged clash at Rubislaw with Accies knowing another win could see them move past Hawick into third.
For Grammar, they just have to stay together as a group and keep working hard, and certainly in Ryan, Ben Inglis and Corey Buchan they have a back-row who can make yards with ball in hand if given the right platform, while Aplin is a strong runner in the midfield.
Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor said: “We were still in the game with 20 minutes or so to go, just like we have been in a number of games this season, but then a few things didn’t quite go our way and we let in a couple more tries.
“Credit to Accies, they deserved the victory in the end, but for us it is the little knock-ons, the little turnovers that keep occurring when we have half a chance that really make it hard for us.
“Those kind of mistakes stunt any momentum and make it tricky to stay in games against good opponents, but I certainly can’t fault the guys commitment and work ethic, that’s for sure.”
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; H Janes, R Kent, W Stephen, R Lile; J Loomes, B Grainger; C Imrie, F McAslan, R Montgomery, J Mills, F Simpson, J Sole, M Walker, R Campbell©. Subs: S Gunn, C Black, C Bain, J Troup, V Hart.
Aberdeen Grammar: C Scott; C Shepherd, D Russell, T Aplin©, R Cameron; S Knudson, A Addy; C Reddish, M Schosser, G Breese, C Walker, P Mulholland, G Ryan, B Inglis, C Buchan. Subs: L Buchan, G Robertson, A Robertson, N Brown, B Renton.
Referee: Ruairidh Campbell.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Kent, Walker, Sole, Janes; Cons: Loomes 4.
Aberdeen Grammar: Try: Buchan; Con: Aplin.
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh Accies first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0 (h-t) 14-5; 14-7; 19-7; 21-7; 26-7; 28-7.
Yellow card –
Aberdeen Grammar: Ryan (29 mins).
Man of the Match: It was crucial for Accies to get a second try just before the break and the man that got it, Matt Walker, put in a hard-working openside performance on a day when it was more grunt work than flair that was required to break down a stubborn Grammar side.
Talking point: Can Accies get their name engraved on the Bill McLaren Shield soon? This was their third home defence while in possession of the trophy, so a victory over Musselburgh in their next home fixture on December 4th would see that happen and they would then defend the silverware on their own patch and on the road.