Premiership: Edinburgh Accies snatch dramatic late win over Currie Chieftains

An injury times conversion of Lewis Wells' try by captain Jamie Loomes seals home victory

Robbie Kent scores Edinburgh Accies' first try against Currie Chieftains. Image: John Wright
Robbie Kent scores Edinburgh Accies' first try against Currie Chieftains. Image: John Wright

Edinburgh Accies 22

Currie Chieftains 21

IAIN MORRISON @ Raeburn Place

EDINBURGH ACCIES bounced back after last weekend’s shorthanded shellacking at Malleny Park to snatch this one at the very death. A conversion from skipper Jamie Loomes gave them the lead for the first time in over an hour and it proved to be the last kick of the game. The victory does at least answer some questions about the spirit in the club.

The home side were not helped by losing their best back in the first half. Robbie Kent had already scored one try and almost gone the length of the field for another when he was carted off the pitch in the first half.

Against that, Loomes looked right at home back in the number ten shirt. He is surprisingly robust for just a little fella and his game management was spot on, using the second half wind to put Currie on the ropes and then keep them there for long periods.


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“I felt we had done enough to win this match,” said Currie coach Mark Cairns whose side had a nine point lead well inside the final ten minutes.

“We managed the yellow card not too badly and then we got into their 22 on a couple of occasions but we were not really able to capitalise on that, especially in the second half. What disappoints me is the number of points that we left out there.”

Accies forwards fronted up pretty well, winning four set-scrum penalties overall, just to put down a marker, but they lost three line-outs in the first half alone which could have cost them on another day.

If Accies threats came mostly in that dangerous looking back-line, full-back Harry Patterson and winger Lewis Wells offering Kent good support with the ball in hand, Currie’s hopes were carried mostly by the big men.

Alarm bells rang for Accies whenever the visitors set up camp inside the home red zone. Currie’s forwards were quicker round the corner than the opposition which resulted in mismatch after mismatch as Accies’ slight midfield was tasked with stopping several of the visiting team’s bigger behemoths on the charge.

Currie earned all three of their tries from very much the same ploy, forwards running at backs, oh, and they had another wiped off after the referee declared the ball not grounded.

After Kent opened Accies’ account as early as the fourth minute, Currie’s big men went to work. Lock Ewan Stewart scored their first try after several attacking line-outs on the right flank, and breakaway Mike Vernel grabbed the second in very similar style after one of Accies’ line-out losses gave the visitors the attacking platform they needed.

Chieftains enjoyed the first half wind but didn’t really use it much with fly-half Christian Townsend missing touch from two consecutive penalties, only to see a neat chip ahead from his half-back buddy Gregor Christie roll into touch with no one at home.

Two Townsend conversions gave Currie a 14-5 advantage at the break and they seemed certain to extend that lead when scrum-half Christie made a break but looked to his right when all the support was on his left. Accies survived that onslaught, milked another scrum penalty to get out of jail and then, somehow, lost the ball when their own maul appeared to be heading inexorably towards the Currie line.

 

Accies used the second half wind to maintain the pressure on Currie with a series of attacking line-outs. Visiting lock Stewart saw yellow and just minutes later centre Max Wallace made good use of the powerplay to score Accies second try wide on the left. Loomes added the extras and narrowed the deficit to just two points which put an extra spring in the home steps.

Around the 60 minute mark Accies won a penalty directly in front of the sticks and 35 metres out but Loomes, somehow, fluffed the simplest of kicks which should have given his side the lead.

When given the same opportunity just minutes later, following a brilliant turnover by Gregor Nelson, Currie stuck the ball in the corner and reverted to doing what they do best. Several plays later their lead was out to nine, Vernel scoring his second try, Townsend adding his third conversion.

With the clock ticking into the final five minutes, Loomes did kick a penalty, eventually, when he could have thrown the ball over the posts, and those three points seemed to breathe belief back into his struggling side who kept their best till last.

Accies needed a converted try to win this one and Accies got exactly that, courtesy of burly winger Wells who scored in the far left corner of the field, setting up a tricky conversion for a man who had missed a straight on sitter, but Loomes rose to the challenge quite brilliantly and Accies’ season is back on song.

“I am absolutely delighted,” said Iain Berthinussen, Accies head coach. “Currie are a tough team to play against, very physical. They do the basic things very well and we could probably learn something from them about that.

“We dabbled in and out of the game for 60 minutes and then, in the last 20 minutes, we actually turned up! I always wonder which Accies team will turn up at the start of each game?”

As does everyone else.

 

Teams –

Edinburgh Accies: H Paterson; F Lindsay, R Kent, M Wallace, L Wells; J Loomes (Capt), B Afshar; C Imre, F McAslan, C Lacour, C Bain, S Whittaker, T Drennan, M Crowther, R Campbell. Replacements: M McGinley, H Campbell, J Mills, S Broad, N Armstrong.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; I Sim, J McCaig, A Hall, K McGovern; C Townsend, G Christie; C Anderson, R Stewart, C Ramsay, J O’Brien, E Stewart, M Vennel, G Nelson, R Davies (Capt). Replacements: E McCallum, G Scougall, J Duncan, C Meager, R Daley.

Referee: Ross Mabon

 

Scorers –

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Kent, Wallace, Wells; Cons: Loomes 2; Pen: Loomes.

Currie Chieftains: Tries: E Stewart, Vernel 2; Cons: Townsend 3.

Sequence of scoring (Edinburgh Accies first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 5-12; 5-14 (h-t) 10-14; 12-14; 12-19; 12-21;  15-21; 20-21; 22-21.

 

Yellow card –

Currie Chieftains: Ewan Stewart (55 mins)

 

Man-of-the-Match: Accies’ backs looked good, especially the unfortunate Robbie Kent and full-back Harry Patterson, but at the heart of Currie’s forward power was flanker Mike Vernel making a huge impact on the game and the scoreboard with his two tries and endless effort.

Talking point: It is one thing to need a converted try and quite another to come up with one at the very death when players are tired and defenders are desperate. Accies managed to execute perfectly, showing great patience to keep hold of the ball and work their way upfield until a hole almost inevitably appeared in the Currie wall, and Lewis was able to take advantage. Loomes did the rest.


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About Iain Morrison 82 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.

1 Comment

  1. Thought Townsend was at Ayrshire Bulls .
    Mind you Think he’s a wee bit overrated but dinnae tell his father I said that

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