National League Division Three



by Danny McGreish

THE previous weekend, Accies were in Thurso (Caithness) and on Saturday hundred of miles away in Wigton (Dumfries and Galloway) for their third league fixture.

In the match programme it said the home side were expecting a "tough, bruising encounter" and that is exactly what they got from their visitors.

Accies were without the highly influential Stuart Lamont and Tony Finnigan was on the left wing replacing Cieran Couper who was unavailable.

In dry conditions and a firm pitch, Stuart Lewis kicked off the match for the visitors .

Early play was a mixture of possession as both teams looked for a degree of supremacy. Initial lineout's and scrum's indicated an advantage for the home side as Accies appeared slightly lethargic , their ball retention, or lack of it, was allowing the home side to put them under pressure. The visitors eventually put some urgency into their play and put together a series of good attacking moves that had their opponents defending deep inside their 22. Accies' pressure finally paid off when they were awarded a penalty, Stuart Lewis duly put three points on the scoreboard after 15 minutes.

In 20 minutes, Accies were penalised and the ball was kicked to touch for an attacking lineout, a catch and drive by the home pack took play close to the try line , the ball was recycled and a clever offload in the centre allowed Mark Craig to score. Fraser Morton added the conversion to put the home side in front.

Accies were falling foul of the referee as he penalised them three times within a five-minute period. Down 7-3, Accies were then short in numbers when Jamie Thomson was yellow carded. The hosts were adept at using the offside law to their advantage as the referee was not picking them up on its abuse.

Newton Stewart scored their second try, after another penalty award and surge to the try line was finished off by William McCormick getting the touchdown. The conversion was good.

Accies were beginning to get the advantage in the scrum and in 35 minutes, an attacking scrum collapsed and a second yellow card was issued this time to the home side's tight head prop. With the scrum reset, a mighty drive by the visiting pack drove their counterparts over the line and Gordon Telfer scored. Lewis converted.

Straight from the kickoff a scrum was called, Accies drove their opposite eight back and were awarded a penalty, Lewis kicked to touch for an attacking lineout. With Stuart Lamont missing, Accies' lineout was not as efficient or productive as usual and subsequently scoring chances were being missed.

On the 12th minute a break for the line by Stuart Lewis was stopped by a high tackle from the last home defender. Normally a card and penalty try could have been expected but only a penalty was awarded and Lewis added another three points to put his side a point behind.

Accies were dominating territorially and they appeared to be the fitter of the two sides, but give credit to the hosts as their defence was excellent and stopping the visitors from scoring.

It appeared the referee was being influenced by the big home and very vocal support and subsequently began missing foul play off the ball and repeated squint put- ns at the scrum.

Accies did have a chance to go in front in 65 minutes, but the penalty attempt dropped agonisingly short of the posts.

In injury-time and with the home support becoming increasingly anxious, Newton Stewart's standoff Russell Morton booted the ball down into the left hand corner. Tony Finnigan gathered and tried to run up the wing but he was penalised for holding on to the ball in the tackle. Up stepped Fraser Morton and secured victory for Newton Stewart.