Tennent’s Premiership: Cannie clinches it late for Boroughmuir against Accies

Home side still searching for first win after injury time heartbreak against city rivals

Johnny Matthews Boroughmuir v Edinburgh Accies
Johnny Matthews on the ball for Boroughmuir in their narrow victory over Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place ***Image: John Williamson***

Edinburgh Academicals 13

Boroughmuir 15

COLIN RENTON @ Raeburn Place

GREG Cannie was the calmest man at Raeburn Place as he banged over a penalty deep into injury time to rescue the visitors in a game that had looked set to see Accies halt their recent losing run. In the end the home side had to settle for a narrow defeat bonus point, their first of the campaign.

For Accies coach Derek O’Riordan the result was further evidence of the progress his men are making. “I keep talking about the upside. We have tons of upside there in terms of putting the ingredients together into a performance. For me we are starting to turn a corner going into games that are really important for us,” he said.

“We’ve kept an eye on the big picture this whole time when we’ve been losing games and for us it’s nice to see the work we are putting together off the field starting to come together on it.

“We have probably used more players in the first four or five games than we did in all of last season. Part of that was intentional because we want to build a squad and a system that can go on and win the Championship in its first year.”

Another sluggish start for Accies

The issue for Accies over recent weeks has been starting slowly. They did so again on this occasion, but escaped unpunished from an eight minute defensive shift as the visitors raced from the blocks. And the hosts showed that they carry a threat up front, almost making a breakthrough in 12 minutes.

The scoreboard remained blank as the clock ticked past the 20 minute mark with Boroughmuir continuing to enjoy the bulk of the possession. Winger Jordan Edmunds looked threatening with ball in hand with a couple of powerful runs but both were thwarted in midfield.

The hosts were awarded a penalty following a difference of opinion between Daryl Marfo and Robbie Davis. That offered an opportunity for Accies to attack. Their first effort foundered on a forward pass out of the tackle from George Spencer to Robbie Chalmers. However, Spencer was back in the action a minute later when he was on hand to finish off a move that had seen Tom Brown halted just short of the target.

Boroughmuir’s next attack produced a penalty in the shadow of the posts, but they opted for the scrum and, when two further penalties followed, veteran back-row Greg Campbell was sent to the sin-bin. Then, at the next scrum, the visitors shunted the home pack backwards, allowing Tom Wilson to plunge over before adding the conversion to give his side a slender interval lead.

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Second half

The opening minutes of the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with Boroughmuir applying sustained pressure to the home line. Twice, the visitors were held up over the whitewash but it appeared that a score was imminent.

And so it proved in 54 minutes when Rory Arthur was brought down just short but laid the ball back for Craig Keddie, who completed the job. Gavin Parker’s conversion attempt drifted wide of the target, meaning Accies were on track to secure their first league point of the campaign.

And the gap dwindled further in 70 minutes when Campbell broke free and fed Robert Lovett who earned a penalty, which Vincent Hart steered between the sticks. Suddenly the hosts sensed that a victory was on the cards and they seized the lead when Spencer was on hand to cap another attack by dummying his way over.

Boroughmuir looked set to snatch back the initiative and only a last ditch tackle by Chalmers on Gavin Parker prevented them from doing so, However, the pressure was now relentless. Edmunds was held up over the line and Boroughmuir battered away, earning a penalty five minutes into injury time. Cannie stepped up and his side had escaped.

While the game had been tense and Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright was happy to have secured the points, he was disappointed by the standard of the rugby.

“We were awful but somehow we managed to win the game. There was no cohesion in the team – they were all individuals. We turned over the ball far too easily”, he said. “But that’s two away games we’ve won. That’s difficult whoever you are playing. If you play crap and win, I suppose it’s better than playing crap and losing.”

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Teams –

Edinburgh Accies: T Brown; C Gray, G Spencer, W Stephen, R Chalmers; V Hart, R Davis; C Taylor, C Black©, J Pearse, T Welding, R Lovett, G Campbell, N Hall, R Campbell. Subs: C Imrie, C Lacour, C Stuart, M Sinclair, N Armstrong.

Boroughmuir: G Parker; K Gossman, R Arthur, W Wardlaw, J Edmunds; G Cannie, T Wilson; D Marfo, J Matthews©, R Montgomery, S Smith, T Drennan, A Mncube, M Walker, C Keddie. Subs: D Robertson, S Nayalo, R Dunbar, J Hamilton, R Weersma.

Referee:  Elgan Williams


Scorers –

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Spencer 2; Pen: Hart.

Boroughmuir: Tries: Wilson, Keddie; Con: Wilson; Pen: Cannie.

Scoring sequence: (Edinburgh Accies first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7 (h-t) 5-12; 8-12; 13-12; 13-15.


Yellow cards –

Edinburgh Accies: Campbell

Boroughmuir: Gossman


Man-of-the-match: A solid team effort by Boroughmuir, but the two men who caught the eye for endeavour were Craig Keddie and Jordan Edmunds, whose powerful running with ball in hand earned him the nod.

Talking point: Accies didn’t look like a side lacking in confidence and showed that if they can make a decent start to matches they can be competitive.

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About Colin Renton 281 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!