Highland 29-14 Glasgow Accies
Highland welcomed Glasgow Accies to Canal Park for the first time in several years. Re-kindling the rivalry between two teams that love to run the ball.
Accies were promoted from National 2, and have been tearing up trees and scoring points for fun. Prior to Saturdays game both teams were locked together on 27 points, both having played 7 games. Whilst Highland held the better win record (6-1 to Accies 5-2), Accies were level with Highland as a result of having 4 more additional bonus points.
All of which led us to expect a tasty game on Saturday and we weren’t disappointed.
If you don’t want the lengthy read just click on the video link to watch the match highlights.
The visitors started swiftly scoring their first try before there was a minute on the clock.
Accies had the kickoff and Highland cleared the ball back up to the half way line. Accies took a quick line out throw, and moved the ball into midfield before shipping the ball left. A quick pass out to the Accies winger, Jack McCready outflanked the Highland defence, who was supported by his tighthead prop, Mark Ashdown.
They executed the 2 on 1 perfectly as they charged towards Scott Fraser. With the tighthead Ashdown getting the score despite Adriu Muritoki’s attempted tackle on the try line. Stand off Adam Scott landed the extras to give the Glasgow side a 7-0 lead.
Highland had to respond swiftly and they did so.
From a midfield ruck 10 m into the Accies half scrum Half Hugo Crush chose to move the ball left to centre Michael Gray. Gray picked out Callum Carson coming in off the wing on a fantastic line to break through the defence and carry up to the Accies 22. Carson lobbed a deft pass over the top of an Accies defender to Hugo Crush who outpaced the cover defence to touch down under the posts. Scott Fraser scored the conversion to tie the score at 7-7.
Both team were trying to run the ball, and the contest at the breakdown was fierce. Some in accuracies in attack as well as some good jackeling on both sides allowed the pressure to be lifted and send the ball back in to the opponents half. Neither team really threatened the try line during the middle 20 of minutes of the first half.
However as we were nearing half time Highland profited from a Scott Fraser penalty awarded for not releasing in the Accies 22 directly in front to the posts. Highland 10-7 Accies.
Time was almost up when Highland worked the ball back into the Accies half, but an error resulted in Accies being awarded a scrum in front of their own posts about 30m out.
Highland, who seemed to have had the edge in the scrum during the first half, attacked the Accies scrum. The ball wasn’t controlled at the back of the retreating scrum. This resulted in the ball being fumbled by the Accies scrum half. Livewire Hugo Crush reacted quickly to snaffle up the ball and sprint for the try line, getting the score despite the tackle from the covering Accies stand off Adam Scott. The conversion, which was the last act of the half, was missed on this occasion. Giving Highland a 15-7 halftime lead.
Into the second half, unusually Highland had the wind at their backs as they attacked the Great Glen end.
About 10 mins into the half Highland half an attacking scrum just outside the Accies 22. Highland played the ball right, but Adriu Muritoki dropped a pass backward. The ever alert Hugo Crush snapped top the ball and reversed the attack to the left side. Crush found Scott Fraser who quickly found Michael Gray who beat the inside defender with an outside serve. As the next defender moved in, Gray offloaded the ball out of the tackle for the lurking Magnus Henry to go in for try number three. Scott Fraser landed the conversion to take the score to Highland 22-7 Accies.
Accies came right back at Highland, and applied their most sustained period of pressure. There were repeated infringements in the Highland 22. Accies looking to turn the screw they went for a series of scrums. Highland’s lose head prop Stephen Murray ultimately conceding a pen for driving up in the scrum and received a yellow card for his trouble.
Accies chose to scrum again. Highland moved Asaeli Saumaka to loose head and took Callum Carson from the back row into hooker. The Highland scrum was in trouble and retreating, and the ref awarded a penalty try for Saumaka dropping to a knee as the scrum went backwards, showing him a yellow card to reduce Highland to 13 men.
The home team showed great resilience and applied themselves in defence to deny Accies any further points during the yellow card periods.
Deep into the final 10 minutes Highland were pressing in the Accies 22. A bit of frustration and niggle was creeping into the game. There were a few penalties arising, and Accies were marched back an addition 10m on one occasion. Highland’s Calum MacPherson chose to take a quick tap pen and drove towards the try line. The ref awarded a pen for a high tackle, and Highland were playing under advantage. As the move continued another high tackle resulted in Accies No. 13 sitting out the remainder of the game after receiving his yellow card.
Highland were now looking for the try bonus. Co Captain Carson took the tap pen and threw out a pass to his back row partner MacPherson to again drive for the line. The Accies defence held firm with a pile of bodies drifting across the pitch to a position in front of the posts 5m out from the try line.
Highland recycled the ball. Hugo Crush found stand off Fraser, who fainted to the outside and cut back towards the posts to beat the defender and touch down for Highlands 4th and bonus point try. to top of the scoring Scotty converted his own try.
FULL TIME SCORE: Highland 29-14 Accies.
BACKS: 15. Adriu Muritoki, 14. Andrew Kellock, 13. Michael Gray, 12. Callum Boyd, 11. Magnus Henry, 10. Scott Fraser (CC) 9. Hugo Crush
FORWARDS: 1 Stephen Murray, 2. Kevin Brown, 3. Asaeli Saumaka, 4. Svend Dale Pedersen, 5. Rory Mighton, 16 Calum MacPherson, 7. Gordon Gregor, 8. Callum Carson (CC)
REPLACEMENTS: 17. Paul Fraser 23. Grant Jamieson 19. Ritchie Dinnes 20. Dan Corr 21. Jesé Waqanibau
Tries: Hugo Crush (2), Magnus Henry, Scott Fraser
Conversions: Scott Fraser (3)
Pens: Scott Fraser 1
Tries: Mark Ashdown, Penalty Try
Conversions: Adam Scott
Highland RFC Man Of The Match: Hugo Crush.
Next Game: Dundee Rugby, Canal Park Inverness, 4th Nov, 3pm
Men's 3XV lose out 31-19 to Caithness 2nd XV
The 3’s make the track to Millbank, Thurso to take on Caithness RFC 2XV.
All I can tell you is the final score was 31-19.
The Men’s 3’s have had a time off it, with all 5 of their matches so far being played away from home.
The saving grace is that they now have 5 home games on the bounce, starting with Skye Rugby at Canal Park on Sat 4th November. Look out for further details.