EDINBURGH ACCIES lock Nathan Pike has pointed to a determination to atone for spoiling the club's milestone celebrations last season as a key motivator in the Raeburn Place men's solid start to the Scottish Hydro Electric Premiership campaign.
Pike, at 29 and with professional experience at Edinburgh Gunners and Rotherham Titans to his credit, is one of the older heads in a youthful Accies side. And the 6ft 7in second rower has played a major part in helping the Stockbridge outfit to two wins from their three starts. Scorer of the winning try in the narrow victory over Stirling County the previous week, Pike was a steadying influence for Accies as they posted a 17-10 win at home to Currie in a hard-fought encounter that – as the respective coaches Ian Barnes and Ally Donaldson had predicted – was a close affair.
Ultimately, the strength of the Accies pack proved the difference between two well matched sides. However, there was little doubt that Pike and his colleagues deserved the win. And reflecting on the success, he explained the motivation for Accies to do well saying: "We probably let the club down a bit given it was the 150th anniversary last season and we don't want to be in that position again this year."
"We are probably all a bit fitter. We realised what it took to succeed in Premier 1 and after struggling last season, we all had a look at ourselves and decided to work a bit harder."
While that fitness ensured that Accies finished strongly against a Currie side who also contributed for the full 80 minutes, it was a whirlwind opening by the hosts which stated their intent.
That effort paid off when Matt Coupar plundered a loose ball to touch down following a kick ahead by Paul Arnold that had eluded full back Jonny Smith.
Currie, who had suffered several call offs leaving them with an inexperienced side featuring only two men over the age of 25, produced the move of the day when Mark Fouche broke from deep and sliced through the Accies defence before the ball was transferred through three pairs of hands in a scintillating move finished off by skipper Mark Cairns who dived over for the equalising score.
There was no further scoring before the interval but Accies made the crucial breakthrough a minute after the restart when Currie again paid the price for poor handling, allowing Dave Rattray to pounce and touch down in the corner. And it was a third error that allowed Tom Drennan to seal the crucial score after 67 minutes, again exploiting disarray in the away ranks to snatch a try, which Arnold converted.
Accies engaged in a fruitless battle for the bonus point score but it was Currie who added to their points tally when John Cox powered over in injury time to ensure the Malleny Park men left with a narrow defeat point for their efforts.
However, that was little consolation for their coach. "The three tries we lost were embarrassing," said Donaldson. "Our defence was good but those tries were just incredible.
"We just couldn't get the game going the way we wanted although we defended well and it was silly mistakes that cost us the tries."
By contrast, Pike was naturally delighted with the outcome and highlighted the likely significance of the result, saying: "Back to back wins were something we struggled to do last season so we're pleased with that.
"There's still lots to work on. We seemed to get to strong positions and then make it difficult for ourselves when we really should have been getting more ruthless. We need to try and kill the game off with a score on top of a score."
He is also keen to secure points early in the season, believing that it was the weak start to the campaign last year that left Accies battling for survival in the final weeks.
"I think that, if we had beaten Heriot's at home in the first game of last season when it was a draw, then things might have been different. Our young lads might have had a bit more confidence. They've got a year of Premier 1 under their belt now, so they are more experienced. We are in a better position this year."
Tries: Couper, Rattray, Drennan. Con: Arnold.
Tries: Cairns, Cox.
Edinburgh Accies: P Arnold, M Coupar, C Kinloch, I Berthinussen, D Rattray; A Blair, M Campbell, N Lah, M Price, L Niven, E Stuart, N Pike, J Berthinussen, T Drennan, D Teague. Subs used: R Mathieson, R Browne C Dickie, R Bonner, R Lovett
Currie: J Smith, D Fife, K McShane, M Norton, J Harris; M Fouche, B Skipper, J Cox, A Mallon, A Reekie, M Murphy, S Burton, M Cairns, J Thompson, R Weston. Subs used: K Whalen, A Hamilton, C Powley, G White
Referee: R McKinnon.