Grant McConnell claims hat-trick as Boroughmuir subdue Accies

Boroughmuir's Alex Cox tries to force his way past Martin McGinley and Matt Coupar. Picture: Neil Hanna.
Boroughmuir's Alex Cox tries to force his way past Martin McGinley and Matt Coupar. Picture: Neil Hanna.
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A hat-trick by prolific try scorer Grant McConnell and three individual efforts by his team-mates were more than enough to ease Boroughmuir into the last eight of the BT Cup.

Edinburgh Accies bookended the scoring with two tries of their own but, despite the gap on the scoreboard, there was little to choose between Premiership and National League One sides at times.

Boroughmuir may be fighting to avoid relegation from the Premiership while Accies are likely to be, at the least, fighting for promotion from National One. The teams could meet again in a play-off to decide next season’s league status.

Accies coach Derek O’Riordan said: “I think the scoreline flattered them. They were really clinical with turnover ball and when we kicked, it was poorly. At the set-piece we were dominant and at the breakdown we were on par if not having an edge. Everywhere else we matched them and more in the first half.

“Up front, we are not that far away [from being able to compete in the Premiership]. What we are lacking is a little more energy in our back three and some organisation around the pitch.”

Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright was satisfied with the result but not entirely happy with the way it was achieved. “I thought Accies defended really well and they put us under loads of pressure,” he said. “We just didn’t play the right game. We talked about what we wanted to do and just didn’t do it. They got too involved in a forward battle but we did play the width of the pitch and, when we counter-attacked, we scored some great tries. We can do that. We can play great rugby.”

“We might be up against them in the play-off game so it was important to get the win for psychological reasons too.”

In the cold and rain, Accies scored within five minutes through tighthead prop Clement Lacour but, by halftime, had been hit by McConnell’s first two tries. The visitors also conceded a late try by Boroughmuir’s other winger Jordan Edmunds when they were down to 13 men after a period of particularly frantic play resulted in two players in the bin at the same time.

In the second half, Boroughmuir made the game safe with a fourth try under the posts by replacement full-back Robert Cairns. McConnell was next in the scoring queue, sprinting up the right wing to finish a sweeping move that exploited the spaces that were opening up as Accies tired. Substitute hooker Stuart Clark got the sixth try.

Accies showed their defiance by shoving Boroughmuir backwards at a set scrum and finished with a flourish as the home players relaxed a little too much, allowing Jack Paterson to go over for a converted try.