October 31, 2023
Premier League - Match 8: 28.10.23.
A View from the Touchline
Edinburgh Accies 31 pts (t 4, c 1, p g3) v Currie Chieftains 19 pts (t 3, c 2)
The Chieftains may have been missing a couple of key players, but the talented replacements had earned their selection, and on a perfect sunny autumn afternoon the large crowd anticipated a close, exciting encounter.
Accies missed a penalty shot after early pressure, however, 12 minutes into the contest, their maestro stand-off broke the Currie defence with a neat grub-kick for his wing to touch down in the corner. The try was not converted, but for the remainder of the first quarter, Accies kept the pressure on. Currie found it difficult to exit their half, and following some stout defending, a mis-timed tackle led to a yellow card for Rhys Davies; Accies bagged the penalty goal. Slowly Currie edged their way into opposition territory, and a splendid Courtney West lineout catch had the pack driving forward; that bustling ball carrier, Ryan Stewart crashed over for a try which was not converted.
In the period before halftime, play was evenly matched with both teams going close, but Accies were continually exploiting opportunities down the flanks. Some poor marking, and hesitant tackling from the visitors allowed gaps to appear; from their 22, Accies raced down the touchline for another unconverted score. There was plenty of exciting open play, and Currie could have closed the points gap when Euan Crombie accelerated through a stretched defence on halfway. With support at his side, a try looked certain; unfortunately, the ball slipped from his grasp 5 metres out, and the chance was lost.
Halftime score – Edinburgh Accies 13 pts, Currie Chieftains 5 pts.
Accies started the second half strongly. Within 15 minutes they had added a penalty goal, and a try which highlighted the visitors’ problems in defence; especially after injuries had forced some positional changes. Even in good attacking situations, the Chieftains error count was alarmingly high. Everything was going the hosts’ way, especially when a 50/22 kick extinguished a promising passage of adventurous Currie play. Once again, Accies seized their opportunity; they won the lineout, and a tremendous forward drive went over for a try which was converted from the touchline. Raeburn Place was jubilant when a penalty goal put Accies 26 pts in front with only 15 minutes remaining.
At this late stage, the Chieftains finally got their act together. To shore up an injury-depleted backline, the always impressive, Sam Cardosi was moved to the centre; he punched through the gain-line and superbly sent Sam Leto scampering between the posts. The fullback converted his try, and the next a few minutes later. Hard-working Courtney West picked up at the breakdown 20 metres out, and galloped in for an outstanding try from the young lock forward. There was now a little tension in the air as Currie continued to press for a couple of bonus points. Unfortunately, the fight-back came a little too late, and the Chieftains returned to Malleny Park, battered, bruised and empty-handed. The second part of the League programme gets under way next weekend with a home clash against an improving Selkirk team who like to show the revered 7s repertoire; Kick-off 2.00pm.
I.J.S. - 31.10.23.