Stuart Paton at The Gytes
Round 2 of the play offs, saw a strong Edinburgh Accies side take the field at the Gytes on Saturday, with a 12pm kick off due to the Scotland v South Africa international. Though fairly cold, it was a quite bright day with little wind; the pitch however looked a bit heavy with all the recent rain.
Accies had already stormed to the top of the play off league, with a good victory last week, whilst collecting a vital bonus on their way. Tweed Homes sponsored Peebles though, were not far behind having themselves secured an excellent victory over West of Scotland last week.
Straight from the kick off Peebles were penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck. Just as both teams were getting a feel for their game, Peebles were awarded a penalty, after a breakdown from some promising play, which had seen Donald Anderson go on a jinking run. Unfortunately Warnock missed the kick,
As the first half progressed, a promising Accies attack came to an abrupt end, when they were penalised for crossing. Peebles kicked to touch from the penalty, making the 22, and then lost their own lineout ball. Peebles then began to take the game to Accies with some fine rucking play up the park, but it faded out, when Accies managed a fine turnover, and kicked to touch. Peebles won their lineout this time, and produced some magnificent possession, and retention passing play, only to concede a penalty at the breakdown. This was to be an aspect of Peebles play throughout this game. They produced some lovely passing rugby, setting up great rucks, with quick ball coming out, and good hands, with ball retention, but lacking that killer instinct, when the try line beckoned.
Accies themselves though were making a fine game of it too. In the first half, both teams were very evenly matched, showing glimpses of some good rugby as well. The game was tight, and it took 34 minutes, until Accies converted a penalty from around 35 metres, for a Peebles infringement at the breakdown, 3 nil to Accies. Matt Carryer then replaced Neil Clark in the front row for Peebles, just before half time. Before the whistle though, Peebles produced a sweet move, between Cruickshank and Anderson, and were just pushed into touch before making the try line. Peebles were further denied another try before half time with Jackson being held up as he went over. You couldn't fault Peebles for the huge effort they were putting into this game.
Within 3 minutes of the second half, a Warnock penalty had taken the score to 3 apiece. Shortly afterwards, Peebles conceded a penalty beyond halfway, which Accies failed to convert, Peebles then brought on the young Scott Raeburn for David Brown, Accies then started to apply some real pressure, and from a rumbling maul which went to a ruck, they passed out wide for Snape to touchdown, which was also converted, and put Accies in a 10- 3 lead. Irvine was then introduced for Peebles,
Just as Peebles were exerting a huge amount of pressure on Accies, a careless pass was intercepted by Gavin Douglas, who ran the full length of the park to score a great opportunists try. Accies now led 15- 3 after the conversion was missed. Accies introduced Jackson and Pike, to freshen their side up, and then began to push Peebles really hard. After another period of sustained Accies pressure, the ball was shipped wide left, with good hands for Jamie Sole to score and give Accies a 20-3 lead. Again the conversion was missed.
Peebles then tried to fight back, and when pushing again, they were caught by yet another interception, and a fine flowing move by Accies saw Chris Dickie in. This was converted by Bonnar, to bring the final score to Peebles 3 Accies 27. Peebles continued to press up to the whistle, but it was just one of those days, where the killer instinct for a try had deserted us.
Accies on this form will take some beating, and even though it is early days, they must be favourites for the promoted spot. They are a well drilled side who mix experience with youth and can see a game out well.
Peebles should not be too disappointed in this result. They battled continually to the end. Our youngsters are gaining good experience. Jackson was great at scrum half. Dave Maclean just did not deserve to be on the losing side, at all. He tackled superbly for the whole game, and was playing like a flanker at the breakdowns.
Next up is another really tough one. Watsonians under the home floodlights on Friday with a 7.45 kick off; a home win would be a great moral booster. It's great to see a team that keep battling right to the end. It's not over yet.
1 Willie Aitken11 Martin Cruickshank
2 Ryan McConnell 12 Dave McLean
3 Neil Clark 13 Dale Clancy
4 David Harvey14 Connor Blyth
5 Andrew Brown 15 Donald Anderson
6 Shanon Temita 16 Matt Carryer
7 David Brown 17 Steven Irvine
8 Allan Warnock 18 Scott Raeburn
9 Euan Jackson 19 Adam Moffat
10 Neil Warnock 20