National League Division Three



By Danny McGreish

ACCIES' visitors to the Memorial Field on Saturday were East Lothian club Haddington.

The hosts currently sit mid-table, whereas their opponents are in second bottom spot.

For a club that has provided five Scottish Internationalists, they would be desperate to record a win and move away from relegation anxieties.

The previous fixture at Neilson Park in September saw Accies win by 11 points, so the home side would have a certain level of confidence in achieving another victory even though their team sheet showed a few regulars missing and several players making their debut appearance for the 1st XV.

In dry and bitterly cold conditions, Jack Anderson kicked off the match for Accies. The home side immediately attacked the visitors line with a driven lineout, the ball was shipped to Gordon Telfer who barged over for the score, Anderson converted to put Accies in front with barely three minutes gone.

The home side further extended their lead when Jamie Thomson sidestepped through the Haddington defence, then powered upfield to score in the corner, the conversion was missed.

Accies were pressurising their visitors and certainly had them on the back foot. Powerful carries by Kyle Wood, Stewart Lamont and Ben Hamilton took play close to the try line, while Bruce Hunter at scrum half, was keeping his backs supplied with the ball as they attempted to play their normal wide game.

Haddington scored in 15 minutes after stand-off Sam Morley exploited weak defence to touch down but the conversion was missed.

The hosts extended their lead in 20 minutes after Robert Hunter finished off a good move instigated by Wood following a 30-metre break down the left side. The conversion was missed. In the set-piece Accies were holding their own against a much heavier pack - the front row of Hamilton, Campbell and Docherty were providing a powerful physical presence.

In 25 minutes Anderson kicked a penalty after a Haddington player was "pinged" for not rolling away.

Five minutes later Connor McCann, making his first start, fielded a high Haddington clearance kick and used his pace to go up the left flank before offloading for Kyle Wood to drive into the opposition 22. His pass inside found Hunter, who finished off the move by scoring his second and bonus point try and the conversion was good.

With half-time approaching, Haddington got into the Accies 22 where they were awarded a penalty. Opting for a scrum, they drove the Accies pack back and number six Jonus Grilfors dived over for the score. The conversion was good

For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Haddington attacked the home defence relentlessly and only a combination of desperate tackles and handling errors prevented them from scoring. Eventually, their pressure was rewarded when outside centre James Ferguson powered over to score, the conversion was missed.

It took Accies until 55 minutes before they got into the visitors' half. Anderson put up a long towering kick which Haddington's full-back failed to catch, Martin Gaetano scooped the ball up and fed Duncan, who scored in the corner. The conversion was good.

Haddington's big forwards were still in the ascendancy and their pressure was eventually rewarded after second row Charlie Hamilton broke the Accies' defence to score his team's fourth and bonus point try. The conversion was good.

In 65 minutes Accies scored their last try after a Duncan grubber kick was carried over the Haddington line, a scrum and five phases of play saw the ball transferred left to Connor McCann who went in for his first try for the Accies' 1st XV. The conversion was missed.

ACCIES: B Hamilton; S Campbell, S Docherty, E Thomson, S Lamont, J Thomson, K Wood ,G Telfer, B Hunter, J Anderson, C McCann, R Anderson, R Hunter, M Gaetano, F Gilbert, G Connell, S Kelt, S Leitch.