Edinburgh Accies 0 Barbarians 43
A GLORIOUS evening in Stockbridge and a magnificent occasion, with Edinburgh Accies celebrating their 150th birthday by welcoming the Barbarians to their famous Raeburn Place home for a match which provided all the fun and excitement we have come to expect from these sorts of fixtures.
Sadly for the home team they did not have quite enough class to live with a Barbarians side which might have been lacking star names but was stuffed full of seasoned professionals, however, the home team did better than the score suggests.
When the Barbarians cut loose, they had too much pace and power for an Accies side which soldiered on manfully throughout, but the boys in black and white also had to absorb their fair share of pressure.
This was vividly demonstrated with around ten minutes to go, when the Academicals launched several phases of ambitious attacks, but then succumbed to a sucker punch when the Barbarians stole the ball in contact and Lee Best ran from his own 22 to score a try in the corner.
The world has changed almost beyond recognition since the brothers Alexander and Francis Crombie arrived in Edinburgh from Durham Grammar School midway through the 1850s, bringing with them the rules of football according to Rugby School. But the Academical Football Club – to use the club's original name – have remained a permanent feature of the rugby landscape throughout, and having survived the threat of relegation from Premier One this season, with a victory over Heriot's 12 days ago, they were in the mood to celebrate this impressive feat of longevity.
That was not possible on the pitch, but along the sidelines and into the temporary stand, which had been constructed for the occasion, the continued good health of British rugby's oldest club was there to be seen. This match had generated enough interest to be a 3,000 sell-out, and although there wasn't the same sort of intensity in atmosphere as there would have been in a match which really mattered, there are surely much worse ways of spending a chilly but dry April evening.
Nick Macleod got the ball rolling for the Barbarians in the sixth minute when he cut through the midfield and dotted down under the posts from a scrum on the right, and by half-time Italian open-side Genaro Fessia had added two more touchdowns. A couple of conversions from Rob Miller made it 19-0 when the teams swapped ends.
But it had not all been one-way traffic. Lewis Niven, the Scotland Under-20 prop, was held up over the line after a good Academical forward drive; and a Ruaridh Bonner break-out from inside his own 22 could have yielded more had the support runners been a little closer to his shoulder when forced to kick ahead.
Stuart Moffat, the former Scotland full-back, who learned his rugby at the Edinburgh Academy and played his first senior games for the Academicals, did not allow sentiment to get in the way of his rugby instincts when he bowled over at the start of the second half. Craig Hammond, Ross Samson and Best also got on the score sheet, as the game opened up.
The Academicals kept on plugging away, right to the very end, and it looked as if they might get their reward when winger David Rattray got the ball in his own half, skipped and danced his way past three Barbarians tacklers and found himself with a clear run at the line. But he could not shake off Moffat and when he kicked ahead the move petered out.
It was a shame because Accies gave so much to this game. In the end, they had to be satisfied with their captain Dan Teague being named man of the match.
Barbarians: Tries: Macleod, Fessia 2, Moffat, Hammond, Samson, Best; Cons: Miller 2, Macleod 2.
Edinburgh Acads: M Coupar; C Dickie, P Loudon, I Berthinussen, D Rattray; R Bonner, M Campbell; L Niven, M Price, A Marsh, N Pike, E Stuart, J Berthinussen, D Teague, T Drennan.
Replacements used: G Edwards, J Henderson, R Lovett, S Walker, P Arnold, R Browne, V Satala, S Willet, G Laidlaw.
Barbarians: S Moffat (Viadana and Scotland); L Best (Worcester), M Allen (Bedford), N Macleod (Cardiff), C Morgan (Bristol and Wales); R Miller (Newcastle), N Runciman (Worcester); D Williams (London Welsh), G Bulloch (West of Scotland, Scotland and Lions), Ngalu Tau (Doncaster and Tonga), J Phillips (Bedford), P Sidoli (Newport Gwent Dragons), T McVie (Heriot's), G Fessia (Sale and Argentina), G Quinnell (Worcester).
Replacements used: A Moretti (Viadana and Italy), B Evans (Sale), C Hammond (Nottingham), Ledua Jope (Army and Fiji), R Samson (Newcastle), R Blake (Cambridge Uni.), T Howe (Banbridge, Ireland and Lions).
Referee: M Changleng (Gala).