Tennent's National Three



By Danny McGreish

ACCIES travelled to a bright and dry Hughenden for their ninth league fixture.

For some reason, Accies' record in the west end of Glasgow has not been good in recent times, but looking at the league form guide, the visiting support could have been optimistic in the outcome of this match.

Alas, it was not to be for Rory Harte kicked a penalty on the last play to record a three-point win.

In perfect conditions Harte kicked off the match. Nathan Welsh received the kick and drove upfield where a "knock-on" gave Accies the first scrum.

The home team's big pack drove the visitors back and they were awarded a penalty but the visitors disrupted an attacking lineout and took play back into the Hillhead half where they were awarded a penalty. Stuart Lewis converted to put his side 3-0 up after 10 minutes.

Two minutes later Hillhead went in front when scrum half Dan Williams finished off a driving maul to score, however the conversion was missed.

Accies were guilty of aimlessly kicking the ball away and giving their opponents numerous opportunities to attack. Consequently the home side were beginning to enjoy both territorial and possessional advantage. This dominance led to them scoring their second try - a chip over the defence by Harte started off a fine handling move across the pitch where Williams scored his second try, the conversion was missed.

The home side's confidence was growing as they were breaching the Accies defence with regularity, where ineffective tackles and poor clearance kicks were contributing to the visitors being kept under the cosh. In 25 minutes, Harte added another three points for the home side after Accies were penalised for not releasing in the tackle.

Accies came close five minutes later after a Lewis kick ahead was hunted down by Cieran Couper who was tackled one metre from the try line. The visitors awarded an attacking scrum but the opportunity was lost when they were penalised for not driving straight.

Accies' pressure eventually paid off after a Scott Campbell break was supported by Euan Thompson and his offload found Cieran Couper who touched down for the try. Lewis kicked the conversion.

In 38 minutes Hillhead scored their third try when Harte's diagonal kick across field found unmarked winger Graham Davidson who scored in the corner, the conversion was good.

In 50 minutes, Accies loose head prop Ben Hamilton retired injured and was replaced by Craig Mclaughlin.

The visitors were beginning to get much more of ball possession and were creating chances, but stray passes were thwarting them in increasing their points. They did eventually score however, after a Lamont catch and drive released Stuart Lewis on the blind side to score. The conversion was missed.

On the hour an injury to Tight Head prop Logan Maxwell forced him to leave the field, as there was no front row replacement available , Robert Hunter came on but the scrums were to be uncontested for the rest of the match.

In 70 minutes, Gaetano instigated a move up the left wing and when tackled, play was spread right and Andy Duncan was at hand to latch onto the ball and power over for a try. The conversion was missed.

Accies had the upper hand and for the last 10 minutes launched continuous assaults at the home line - several "pick up and go" attempts were desperately close but they were unable to touch down.

In injury-time the ball was thumped into the Accies' 22 - again the decision was a penalty to Hillhead for not releasing - up stepped Harte to kick the penalty and seal the win.