EDINBURGH ACCIES coach Jonny Else was delighted to make a winning start to the RBS Premiership campaign. But there was more than a hint of relief as he reflected on a nerve jangling 21-20 win over Glasgow Hawks that hung in the balance until the final action of a pulsating encounter at Raeburn Place.
Clinging to a single point advantage, Accies infringed just inside their own half and presented Jack Steele with an opportunity to snatch victory. In the event, it was just beyond the Hawks substitute’s range and Accies had a precious win to start their campaign.
“A fantastic game, but we can’t leave ourselves expecting a missed kick at the end to win,” said a delighted Else. “We need to make sure that we keep getting out of our half and play in the right areas.
“We started well, kept the pace high against a very good, physical Hawks team. We were pretty much in control at half time, but we told them ten points is nothing in this league. To be fair to Hawks, they came right back at us in that second half. We stood off them though, and the set piece didn’t function. We need to tidy up on that.”
Since inheriting the top post from Simon Cross, Else has worked with his assistant Malcy McVie to impose their style on the squad and the new head coach was satisfied with the endeavour behind the scrum. In that respect, there were impressive contributions from the half back partnership of Alex Black and Alex Blair, while Jamie Sole marked his homecoming after a sojourn south of the border with a series of piercing runs and a solid defensive contribution.
On their return to the top flight, Hawks showed that they are capable of competing at the higher level and there were some thumping hits in a contest that was fiercely contested.
Having survived an early flurry of attacks, Accies made the breakthrough when Black made an arcing run that drew the Hawks defence, then released Jamie Farndale. The winger, who missed most of last season after breaking a leg, marked his return to club action with the try. Ruaridh Bonner added the conversion then stroked over a penalty as the hosts enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy.
Mike Adamson clawed back three points with a penalty and the visitors should have added to their tally after a sustained spell of pressure. Having survived that assault on their line, Accies returned to the changing rooms at half time with a ten point advantage after Bonner steered a penalty award between the sticks.
While Else was urging his men not to release their grip on the match, his counterpart Jamie Dempsey was encouraging the visitors to raise the pace. And it was Hawks who appeared to have paid the greatest heed to the half time chat.
They were transformed after the restart and Adamson followed up his second penalty of the afternoon with the conversion of a try by Tom Steven, who had pounced on a loose ball in midfield and sprinted over.
Bonner’s third penalty of the match edged Accies in front once more, but Hawks rallied and appeared to have snatched the victory when Ross Miller forced his way over. However, Else’s men had one final card to play and Nyle Godsmark launched an attack from deep, then offloaded to Blair who sent Bonner in for an unconverted try. Then came the injury time penalty that proved too far out for Steele.
“I’m very pleased with the performance in the first half and pleased with the result, but we’ll have to look at that second half,” concluded Else.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries – Farndale, Bonner. Con – Bonner. Pens – Bonner (3)
Glasgow Hawks: Tries – Steven, Miller. Cons – Adamson (2). Pens – Adamson (2)
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, J Farndale, E Campbell, R Bonner, N Godsmark, A Blair, A Black, D Morrison, M Liness, P Cringle, G Campbell, J McCarthy, N Aitken, R Snape, T Drennan. Subs Used: D Bates, F Rawlinson.
Glasgow Hawks: M Adamson, T Steven, A Maclay, D Milne, R McClymont, A White, P Boyer, S Findlay, J Macfarlane, J Lohoar, R Wilson, R McKay, A Kirkland, M Bartoszek, R Miller. Subs used: F Gillies, J Steele, J Wright.
Referee: L Linton.