THIS one had something for everyone, well almost. There were two yellow cards, five penalties, an avalanche of tries and a winning drop-goal with the very last kick of the match. For pure entertainment, the Barbarians’ encounter with Fiji at Twickenham couldn’t come close.
Scorers: Accies: Tries: Watson, Campbell 2, Godsmark 2, McCarthy. Cons: Black 3. Pen: Black. Currie: Tries: Alexander, Horne, Weston 2, Pollock. Cons: Horne 3. Pens: Horne 2. Drop goal: Semple.
Currie were trailing by two points for much of the final quarter as the scores finally dried up. They huffed and puffed but Accies remained resolute right up to the final seconds when Currie stand-off James Semple sat back in the pocket and dropped a goal to poach the points. The final whistle sounded and the Currie contingent erupted. They won’t fear relegation if they can repeat this performance on a weekly basis. The fightback continues.
The match was an odd one, with both teams appearing to have signed a non-tackling pact before kick-off. Admittedly there were a few decent hits here and there but almost no structure, form or anything else that might be defined as an organised defence. Both teams were equally guilty. Provided the side with the ball could keep hold of it and run through the phases, sooner or later – usually sooner – something or someone would give.
There were tries galore, six in the breathless first half alone, ten in the first 60 minutes, 11 in all. Both teams had safely pocketed a four-try bonus point apiece with the second half just five minutes old. It was all a little surreal – the lead changed hands eight times – if highly entertaining for the couple of hundred spectators who had preferred the rugby to fighting their way through the Christmas shoppers.
The two teams brought two very different rugby styles to bear, with Currie happy to use their big runners before sending it wide, while Accies employed their traditional expansive approach that operates best just shy of seven-a-side rugby. Harum, if you like, but not quite scarum.
Both were equally effective. Ross Weston was back to his bullocking best for the visitors while Peter Horne showed some nice footwork from full-back and Semple, an erstwhile No.15, looked like he was born to the playmaker’s role, having swapped with Horne just before kick off. Horne actually helped himself to 17 points in all, including a neatly taken try, but he also suffered the ignominy of having a simple conversion charged down.
For the home team Hamish Watson, the Edinburgh flanker, had a storming game, the Walter Payton of Raeburn Place, carrying relentlessly and setting some sort of record for breaking tackles.
Accies lost the rangy breakaway Neil Aitken early in the match and with him went their main line- out option. It mattered not as Greg Campbell – one of four Campbells in the Accies’ squad, none of whom are related – played a skipper’s role with a brace of tries in the first half.
Currie finished the first half with a 25-23 lead but they didn’t have long to sit on their laurels. Accies hit back with three quick scores early in the second 40 while Currie could only manage the one. Accies winger Nyle Godsmark picked up a pair of them, the best of which came from a break by centre Ewen Campbell, while the other went to lock Jamie McCarthy.
Staring at a nine-point deficit, Currie rolled up their sleeves and Ross Weston rumbled over for his second try and his team’s fifth in all after they won an attacking lineout when Accies were short-handed. The conversion dragged Currie to within two points and it stayed that way as the match entered the final quarter.
Currie thought they had grabbed the winning try, only for the referee to indicate a penalty to the home team for an earlier infringement. The tension was more than some of the home support could bear and, sure enough, they ended the day utterly despondent. It’s not often you score six tries and end up losers.
Accies: Sole, Godsmark, E Campbell, Berthinussen, Coupar; Bonner, Black; Cringle, Liness, Strudwick, Seydak, McCarthy, G Campbell, Watson, Aitken. Subs: Rawlinson, McSorley, D Campbell, M Campbell, Farndale.
Currie: Horne, Elms, Pollock, Alexander, Smith; Semple, Snedden; Cox, Cherry, Hamilton, Temple, Neascu, Vernel, Cairns, Weston. Subs: McInally, Watts, McLean, Peacock, Mullins.
Referee: Neil Paterson.