GHA 3, EDINBURGH ACADS 32
Conditions were going to make accuracy and precision key elements to secure victory at rain lashed Braidholm. With a wind swirling across the pitch it was not going to be easy for either side to play the type of running passing game they favour. It was very clear from the pre match preparation of both sides that careless passes or misdirected passes could easily be spilled in the wet conditions. Clearly the side that adapted their game to suit the conditions would win the day.
The match began and GHA immediately attacked Acads and pushed them back into their own 20m area. In the opening minutes it was pleasing to the home support in a very full stand that the inability to win the ball in the loose which had led to defeat last Saturday had been corrected. Acads did well to hold a series of attacks from GHA with Scott Carson driving at the visitors defence and Murray Houston and Andrew Goudie quickly recycling ball to allow Max MacFarlane and Ben Addison to tilt at the Acads rearguard. Impressive defensive tackling by the visitors stemmed the early efforts of GHA. Acads gave a penalty away which GHA failed to convert. As GHA attempted to find a way through determined resistance there was a tendency to force the pass by the home side resulting in a knock on or the ball going loose. GHA were holding their own against a heavier scrum and a superb break in the tenth minute by Grant Mollison who had gathered his own kick through the visitors defence, should have put the home side ahead when he slipped on the greasy surface inside the visitors 20 m area. The game continued in this pattern and by twenty minutes there seemed to develop an anxiety amongst the home side who began to lose precision in their passing and attempt to throw the ball wide against a stubborn defence who read GHA moves every time and stopped the incursion. However Acads began to adapt their game plan using recycled ball to allow Will Stephen and Andrew Bell to kick into space behind the home defence. This served the twin purpose of taking the pressure off Acads and gaining valuable ground in the home half of the field.With the rain continuing to cascade down GHA gave away a penalty for being offside and Will Stephen converted to give Acads a somewhat surprising lead after 20 minutes. GHA 0pts EDINBURGH ACADS 3pts.
GHA redoubled their efforts and worked their way into the visitors half. Accurate lineout work by Dario Ewing was allowing the home side to retain the ball in the set piece and there were several penetrating breaks by Scott Plumridge which made some ground. Acads were beginning to keep the ball tightly amongst the forwards and as a result they were effective in clearing danger by accurate precise passing and good support. By the half hour mark GHA continued to try and find an opening and their pressure resulted in two successive penalties against the visitors being awarded. The second of these was converted by Murray Houston and the score now stood at GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 3pts.
The visitors in the 38th minute broke through the home defence and drove deep into their half. Only an excellent pursuit tackle by Nigel Kelly prevented a score. However GHA gave away a penalty in the loose which Andrew Bell kicked into touch near the home side’s try line. From the resulting lineout the visitors set up several plays from one of these; from recycled ball and Clement Lacour scored. The try was not converted and the score as we headed for the interval was: GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 8pts.
The weather had affected the ability of both sides to play the running game they prefer but it was telling that Acads were beginning to show greater precision in close nature passing to make ground and attempt to restrict the number of dropped balls. The added weapon of kicking in midfield forcing messrs Addison, Macfarlane and Edgar to turn was bringing relief to the visitors from GHA pressure and was providing a platform for Acads attacks.
The second period began with a confident Acads side using their close passing support game to take them into the home half. The difficult conditions meant that both sides began to make changes to overcome injuries to players. Acads had settled quickly into the half and dealt GHA a serious blow when after some slick passing from controlled ball Max Love scored and the try was converted to make the score: GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 15pts.
The home side were now struggling to hold their own as the visitors sensed this was a key time in the match and with accuracy of execution they seemed to sense they could pull away in the match. Excellent tackling by GHA backs delays further visitor incursions but a huge drive in the scrum from acads shunts GHA back and from inside the 20m area acads power through to score and convert. The score now read with ten minutes of the second half gone: GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 22pts.
GHA gamely took the game to the visitors and breaks by Paul Harkins and Michael Scott were thwarted by the resulting possession being spilled. The game moved from end to end and in 18 minutes the visitors went further ahead when careless feet in the home side gave possession in their own half to the visitors who gleefully ran it through the phases and scored. Whilst the try was not converted the score now stood at GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 27pts.
A few minutes later as we headed for the half hour mark of the second half Acads struck again to score in the bottom corner when tired gha defence was broken by neat short passing. The conversion again was missed and the score now stood at GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 32pts.
GHA again carried the game to the visitors and went close several times before the end of the match only for knock ons or slippages to bring the pressure to nought. Final score : GHA 3pts EDINBURGH ACADS 32pts.
A disappointing day for the home side. As in previous matches GHA started very brightly and with intent but when they fail to convert pressure into points then the anxiety and lack of precision in execution creeps into the play.
GHA: G. MOLLISON, J. EDGAR, B. ADDISON, M. MacFARLANE, N. KELLY, A. GOUDIE, M. HOUSTON, S. CARSON, D. EWING, M. SCOTT, L.M. MAVUNGA, J. AULD, S. PLUMRIDGE, W. GRAHAM, R. ANGUS.
Reserves: T. SCALLIO, S. USUDA, P. HARKINS, T. BROWN, J. PRESTON
Scorers: P – HOUSTON
EDINBURGH ACCIES: B. APPLETON, J. PATERSON, R. CHALMERS, W. STEPHEN, J. PECQUEUR, A . BELL, M. LOVE, J. PEARSE, C. BLACK, C. LACOUR, D. CAMPBELL, N. AITKEN, G. CAMPBELL, J. SOLE, T. DRENNAN.
Reserves: L. SEYDAK, S. GUNN, D. ROGER, S. CHALMERS, N. ARMSTRONG
Scorers: T – LACOUR, LOVE, TBC C – TBC P – STEPHEN
REFEREE: Mr David Sutherland
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Mr Michael Goodman, Mr Andy Lane