Rugby: County deliver blow to Accies’ top-eight bid

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Edinburgh ACCIES saw their aspirations of making the top eight in RBS Premiership Division One suffer a blow when they lost heavily at Stirling County.

Accies travelled with hopes of building on the previous week’s win over Hawick. However, a follow up success never looked likely after the Raeburn Place men reached the break 15-3 in arrears – their only points coming from a penalty by Ruaridh Bonner – and they eventually went down 34-3. The result has allowed eighth-placed County to open a gap over Accies, who now face a difficult run in to the first half of the campaign, starting with Saturday’s visit of Aberdeen Grammar.

There were no such difficulties for near neighbours Stewart’s-Melville, who again ground out a win to retain top spot in Division Two and remain firmly on track for the promotion play offs. The unbeaten Inverleith men had tries from Andy Hughes, Ethan Brown – the teenage Aussie prop’s first for the club – and Seb Trotter, who also landed a conversion and a penalty, as they built a 20-0 lead that they still held entering the final five minutes, when the visitors scored two tries for a 20-12 scoreline.

In his programme notes for Saturday’s fixture, Stew-Mel president Mike Sims referred to the current buoyant mood at the club when he said: “There is a great buzz about Inverleith and we’ve achieved a lot this season through the considerable effort by a small group of volunteers.”

Across the city, Watsonians continued their rise up the table when they saw off bottom side Peebles 16-6 at Myreside. Back rower Paul Tuala, an experienced performer who has represented Samoa A, bagged a try for ’Sonians, while the reliable boot of Brian Walls contributed the rest of the points with a conversion, two penalties and a drop goal.

In Division Three, Lasswade suffered only their second defeat of the season when they went down 26-19 away to Howe of Fife. The Midlothian outfit – the division’s top scorers – had tries from Kyle Smith, Neil Clark and Gavin Brown, who was also on the mark with two conversions, as they took a narrow defeat bonus point. Dave Cockburn’s men remain in second place, four points adrift of Kirkcaldy, who were 3-0 winners over GHA.

Haddington moved away from the foot of the table, despite going down 19-14 at home to Dumfries. A try by Neil Watt and a penalty from Ross King gave the Scarlets an 8-6 interval lead. However, the visitors battled back in the second half to take the win, with King on target with two further penalties to secure a narrow defeat bonus point for Haddington, who have leapfrogged Perthshire on points difference.