Last-gasp defeat leaves Currie skipper frustrated

The Currie players clap off Accies. Picture by Malcolm McCurrach
The Currie players clap off Accies. Picture by Malcolm McCurrach
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Currie skipper Mark Cairns could not hide his exasperation at a missed opportunity after his side suffered an agonising 22-20 defeat in Saturday’s RBS Premiership clash at home to Edinburgh Accies.

Leading by three points inside the final three minutes, the hosts were camped on the Accies line and pushing for the clinching score against shorthanded opponents – Dave Bates having been red carded for a dangerous tackle.

However, instead of capitalising on the situation, Currie offended at the scrum and at two ensuing lineouts, allowing Accies to switch play to the opposite end of the field where Neil Aitken snatched the winning try.

Cairns, one of a handful of experienced players surrounded by burgeoning talent, as Currie seek to build for the future, could not hide his fury at the series of errors that cost his side the win and leaves the Malleny Park men occupying bottom spot in the Premiership table.

“We gave ourselves every opportunity to win that match. We were really in the driving seat,” he said. “But when you have lost three on the trot, guys are going to get a bit edgy towards the end of the game. The problem we’ve got is that we have four or five boys who have played at this level for a long period of time and understand what to do at the crucial times.

“But we can’t police the whole team. The young boys in the team have got to step up now and understand, and learn from games like that and make sure it never happens again.” Cairns is conscious of the psychological impact of recording a fourth successive defeat, adding: “I am frustrated because we are so close. I am frustrated because I know how good the boys are. I am frustrated because every time we step on the pitch at training, we get things right. We got our set piece pretty much spot on, our scrum was solid enough and we played some really good stuff. But it’s just that pressure at the end. For me, the pressure should have been on them.”

Two evenly matched sides had reached the interval locked at 10-10 after John Cox touched down for Currie and George Horne added the conversion, having also booted a penalty. Michael Liness crossed the whitewash for Accies, with Ruaridh Bonner matching Horne’s contribution.

However, Currie had the better of the third quarter and looked set to break their duck after Ruaridh Smith’s try was converted by Horne who then added a penalty.

But Alex Blair darted over and Bonner converted before Accies soaked up another spell of Currie pressure which ended with the breakout that produced a dramatic finale and yielded the vital score for Aitken.

In stark contrast to Currie’s woes, Accies have come from behind to post three narrow victories in the opening four fixtures. And captain Greg Campbell insists he remained confident that, despite being under pressure with the clock ticking down, his side could still win the match. “If we go behind, I always say not to chase it, just keep playing our patterns and it will come back to us,” he explained. “We made it really hard for ourselves. We spoke at the end of the game about it and it came down to the mental side of things. Thankfully we regrouped and we came back in the last ten minutes.”

And Campbell is delighted at the confidence currently permeating the squad. “Two years ago we would have been staring at four league defeats but this season it’s different. We are a bit older and we know how to finish games.”

Scorers: Currie: Tries: Cox, Smith. Conversions: Horne (2). Penalties: Horne (2). Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Liness, Blair, Aitken Cons: Bonner (2) Pen: Bonner.

Currie: R Smith, C Kerr, A Penman, E Pollock, A Turnbull, G Horne, R Snedden, J Cox I Miller, A Hamilton, G Temple, M Vernal, M Cairns, M Peacock, R Weston. Subs Used: G Hart, G Carson,

Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, J Farndale, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, N Godsmark, A Blair, R Bonner, A Allan, M Liness, P Cringle, G Campbell, J McCarthy, R Snape, A Findlater, N Aitken. Subs Used: D Bates, S Strudwick, S Riddell, A Glashan, C Dean.