Edinburgh Accies showed a much improved performance in the British and Irish Cup at Raeburn Place this afternoon, but ultimately slumped to their fourth straight defeat in the competition with a 7-33 loss to London Welsh.
When the sides met in the reverse fixture last weekend, the professional London-based club proved the disparity between the two teams with a 73-10 demolition, but strengthened by the addition of their own professional recruits, from Edinburgh Rugby, Accies gave a much stronger account of themselves this time around.
In the first half a combined effort from the Accies’ defence and some unruly local weather frustrated the dominant Welsh attack, allowing the visitors just a single score before the interval (0-7).
After the break London Welsh took advantage of the tiring home resistance as they ran in four tries, but the Edinburgh side remained competitive and added a score of their own, through replacement winger, Mike Campbell and converted by stand-off, Iain Chisholm
Accies head coach, Jonny Else said: “I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s a shame at the end there, a couple of silly kicks, a couple of silly mistakes but that’s just the way it goes.
“They are a slick operation, very well coached, they all know what they are doing.
“It was an absolutely outstanding effort. The back line certainly shut off a lot of their wide attacks and that’s what we were aiming to do and now we need to bring that into the league campaign.”
In the opening 20 minutes, play was confined to just a half-pitch, as the Welsh 10 metre line, let alone try line, seemed a distant blur to the Accies.
Having withstood heavy pressure at both the scrum and the line out, the home defence finally succumbed to the power of the Welsh as number 8, Ollie Steadman surged over the line for the visitors first try.
Welsh stand-off, Will Robinson overcame the strong wind to add the extras and gave the visitors 7-0 lead after 20 minutes.
On the 30 minute mark Accies secured their first clean lien out ball of the game and made a rare venture in to Welsh territory.
Winger, Jamie Farndale, posed the first threat to the Welsh try line, but a knock on from number 8 Callum Reid in the following phase dashed any hopes of a Accies score.
The remainder of the half saw most of the rugby controlled by the elements and neither side came close to altering the 0-7 scoreline before the break.
In the second half London Welsh quickly looked to assert themselves and turn their dominance of possession into points on the board. The visitors set up camp on the Accies try line for the opening exchanges and were soon rewarded for their pressure.
First they were awarded a penalty try as the Accies’ defence became increasingly desperate and eventually cynical, at the breakdown. Kicker, Will Robinson added the conversion from in front of the posts and was soon asked to do the honours once more after Steadman crossed for his second try of the game after taking a quick tap.
With 15 minutes to go Welsh then lost prop Bill Moss to the sin-bin and due to injuries to the remaining specialist front row players, scrums were made uncontested until his return.
With the numerical advantage, Accies replacement winger Campbell capitalised on a handling error from the visitors and after hacking on three times, touched the ball down to give the home support something to cheer about.
Chisholm was successful with his conversion and reduced the deficit to 7-21 with 10 minutes to go.
Welsh however, were not finished scoring. After being restored to a full complement, replacement back, Josh Watkins proved swiftest of mind and foot as he chipped over the top and slid unopposed over the try line to add the visitors fourth of the game.
Accies were then reduced to 14 men for the closing exchanges as winger Nyle Godsmark was sent to the bin, and just before referee Stuart Gaffkin blew for the final whistle, returning prop Billy Moss had time to force his way over for a fifth and final score for the impressive Welsh.
Elsewhere in the cross-border tournament this weekend, Ayr lost out to Ulster Ravens 38-21 in Belfast, Stirling County were defeated by Nottingham on the road, 24-14, Gala lost to Bristol 6-17 at Netherdale and London Scottish beat Pontypridd 26-21 at the Richmond Athletics Ground.
Edinburgh Academical FC: 15 Jamie Sole; 14 Nyle Godsmark, 13 Ewen Campbell, 12 Iain Berthinussen (Captain), 11 Jamie Farndale; 10 Iain Chisholm, 9 Alex Black; 1 Alex Allan, 2 Stuart McInally, 3 Lewis Niven, 4 Robert McAlpine, 5 Alex Toolis, 6 Mike Coman, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Callum Reid.
Replacements: 16. Clement Lacour, 17 Michael Liness, 18 Phil Cringle, 19 Ronan Seydak, 20 Tom Stuart, 21 Mike Campbell, 22 Sam Pecqueur (on for .
London Welsh: 15 Alan Awcock; 14 James Tinckwell, 13 Dante Mama, 12 James Lewis, 11 Joe Awuja; 10 Will Robinson, 9 Rob Lewis; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Nathan Morris, 3 Billy Moss, 4 Ben West, 5 Peter Browne, 6 Ben Pienaar (Captain), 7 Mike Denbee, 8 Ollie Steadman.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Peter Edwards, 18 Will Carrick-Smith, 19 Richard Thorpe, 20 Ollie Frost, 21 Tom Chapman, 22 Josh Watkins.