Edinburgh Accies show spirit needed to avoid drop

Jack Marples scores on of his two tries for Accies. His second proved decisive. Picture: Neil Hanna

Jack Marples scores on of his two tries for Accies. His second proved decisive. Picture: Neil Hanna

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Edinburgh Accies skipper Greg Campbell has pointed to Saturday’s battling 18-15 win over BT Premiership form side Currie as evidence that the Raeburn Place men have what it takes to beat the drop.

The second rower led by example as Accies displayed the grit they will need to reproduce over the coming weeks to move away from the bottom rung of the league table. And reflecting on his side’s third win of a campaign that has included several tight finishes, he said: “It was good to finally get a win. We spoke about not blowing it in the last five or ten minutes of the game and keeping the pressure on when we had to. We worked hard on that in training then showed it in the game.

“We knew it was coming if we could string 80 minutes together. We didn’t quite manage 80 minutes, but we played enough rugby when we needed to.

“It’s still a long way to go and there’s still a lot of points up for grabs and we don’t think we will be relegated.”

Last season’s corresponding fixture produced a Currie win and triggered a run of results that eventually took the Malleny Park side to safety. On Saturday’s showing, Accies could be set to follow that precedent. Indeed, the determination Accies exhibited in the opening 15 minutes underlined the spirit Campbell describes.

They should perhaps have converted pressure into points when they enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy before producing a solid defensive effort as the visitors gained the upper hand. However, with two competitive sides cancelling each other out, it was left to Currie stand off James Semple to boot the only points of the first half for a 3-0 interval lead.

A try from Jack Marples edged Accies in front shortly after the restart but Ross Weston countered with a typically rumbustious effort before Alex Glashan landed a penalty to square matters and ensure a tense finale.

Currie’s improving form as the season has progressed should have meant they were able to build on Weston’s second try of the afternoon, converted by Semple, and secure the victory which, would have moved them into the top four. But Accies showed their mettle and cut the gap to two points when Robin Snape blasted through the Currie defence after a close-range line-out and dotted down for an unconverted score.

Accies raised the pace in the closing minutes to set up a second try for Marples before Accies saw out the match to clinch the victory.

While Accies coach Phil Leck was understandably delighted at the result, he conceded that his men must step up another level if they are to draw clear of the danger zone. His main concern is the fallibility of his defence inside their own 22 – of the 30 tries Accies have conceded this season, 19 have been from within ten metres of the line. He also has concerns about the absence of a clinical edge in sight if the whitewash.

“In the first ten minutes our play was quick, it was sharp, it was precise. We put them under pressure and I thought we were unlucky not to come away from that with something in the first two or three minutes. We’ve got to learn to finish that,” he said.

However, Leck’s overview was considerably more positive than that of his counterpart Ben Cairns who had hoped for a repetition of the simple but effective style, brimming with energy, that had been evident the previous week but was absent this time around.

“It was very frustrating. We just didn’t turn up. From minute one I thought we were off the pace. We really struggled to win any set piece ball and we didn’t have the same urgency we had against Gala.”

Scorers:

Edinburgh Accies: Tries – Marples (2), Snape. Pen – Glashan.

Currie: Tries – Weston (2), Con – Semple, Pen – Semple

Edinburgh Accies: R Young, S Pecqueur, C Dean, I Berthinussen, J Marples, A Glashan, R Godsmark, D Morrison, M Liness, L Niven G Campbell, A Toolis, R Seydak, J Sole, R Snape. Subs: D Bates, L Launders, J Winks, J Munro, N Armstrong.

Currie: M McPhillips, C Logan, F Efthymiou, J Downey, H Elms, J Semple, R Snedden, J Cox, M Goodwin, M Cusack, R Denonain, G Temple, P Mundell, M Peacock, R Weston. Subs: G Carson, M Erskine, C McLean, M Vernel, W Martin

Referee: A McMenemy.