Rugby: Accies play numbers game to end streak

Accies' Matt Couper battles with Watsonians' Scott McKean
Accies' Matt Couper battles with Watsonians' Scott McKean
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Edinburgh ACCIES’ backs coach Jonny Else was pleased with his side’s first-half performance after they became the first team to beat Watsonians in 14 matches last night at Myreside.

The two sides met in the RBS Edinburgh Regional Cup tie after it was postponed on Saturday and RBS National League leaders ’Sonians were keen to test themselves against top-flight opponents for the first time this season after 13 league and cup wins in a row.

Early on the teams were tied at 3-3 before Accies took advantage with 19 unanswered points when the home side were down to 14 men with stand-off Mike Ker in the sin-bin.

They added another try and a penalty before the interval and at that point led 30-10 and looked to be cruising to victory.

This Watsonians team are not used to losing though, 
having only tasted defeat once this term before last night, and they ‘won’ the second-half 10-0 before Accies held on 30-20.

Else, in charge of the team with head coach Simon Cross away on Scotland under-20 duty, said: “It was certainly good to get a game under our belts and I thought in the first half we put together some good rugby and took our chances when they came along.

“Whenever you have an extra man you must make the most of it and certainly when they were down to 14 the guys played sensible rugby and created overlaps. That gave us a bit of a cushion and to score 30 points against any team in one half is pleasing.

“The rain made it difficult for both sides in the second half, but credit to Watsonians for coming back at us and you could see that they are not a team who are used to being on the wrong end of results.”

Accies have now won two of the three cup matches they have played to sit just behind Currie in Group Two of the competition before it resumes in January.

Last night was their first competitive match since November 24 when they edged out Boroughmuir in the same event and Else was just pleased to see them out on the pitch ahead of a crucial fourth versus fifth RBS Premiership match at Melrose on Saturday.

“The guys have really been training well over the last few weeks, but you need matches to keep your sharpness up and the squad are really looking 
forward to heading to the Greenyards this weekend,” he said.

Both teams were hit with late call-offs last night, Ross Aitken and Andrew Joseph missing for the home side and Greg 
Campbell out for Accies.

As mentioned the sides were level at 3-3 when referee Graeme Wells adjudged that Ker had tripped an Accies player after they had hacked the ball forward in the 14th minute.

It was a bit of a needless act by Ker and 10 minutes later, when he returned to the field, the whole complexion of the game had changed.

The first Accies tries came from prop Duncan Morrison after good work by the forwards and two minutes latter winger Nyle Godsmark crossed. Fellow winger Matt Coupar, a former Watsonians player, then ran in another and they were 22-3 up.

Shellshocked Watsonians got a try of their own after good work between cousins Ewan Miller and Rory Steele saw the latter, playing full-back, go over.

Before the interval Accies scored eight more points through a try by second-row Andrew Findlater and a penalty by centre Ruairidh Bonner and ’Sonians then had a second player in the sin-bin in the shape of centre Jack Ferguson.

With the rain coming down handling was difficult after the break and only 10 points were scored as opposed to 40 in the first half.

They all came for the home side thanks to a try from replacement Tommy Palacios and five points from the boot of scrum-half Brian Walls.

For Accies, Findlater impressed as did scrum-half Jonny Adams while Steele showed why he is rated highly by many with some nice touches for ’Sonians and they will have been pleased to see young player Clarke Smith make his first top-team appearance of the season.

Like Accies, Watsonians are in the Borders on Saturday when they face Hawick.

Scorers: Watsonians: Tries: Steele, Palacios. Pens: Walls 2. Cons: Walls 2. Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Morrison, N Godsmark, Coupar, Findlater. Pens: R Bonner 2. Cons: R Bonner 2.

Watsonians: R Steele; E Miller, J Ferguson, T Hart, J Niven; M Ker, B Walls; M Heather, D Rutherford, C Gamboa, C Harvey, J Duthie, C Smith, H Grant, T Wright. Subs used: A Chalmers, R Buchan, D Fraser, C Berkery, T Palacios.

Edinburgh Accies: R Young; M Coupar, I Berthinussen, R Bonner, N Godsmark; E Bonner, J Adams; D Morrison, F Rawlinson, C Murray, A Findlater, T Drennan, D Teague, C Reid, R Godsmark. Subs used: M Liness, K Blyth, A Blair.

Referee: G Wells.