It was a cracking day down at Accies and although the hard track allowed for a fast game, it would certainly go on to take its toll on the players! The squad of boys who turned up to represent the club were superb and each one put in a great shift to show off the best of Merchistonian rugby. It was disappointing therefore that several boys did not show up to play despite giving assurances that they would. This put the team under undue pressure, especially when injuries occurred.
Benn Morris (09-16) was running the show well at fly-half until an Achilles injury took him out of the game in the first ten minutes. Harris Grant (00-05) was forced off injured after being on the wrong end of a tip tackle, Jack Rutherford (11-16) tore the ligaments in his ankle, Jamie Maran (04-15) took a ‘sore one’ on his coccyx, and Upper Sixth pupil Harry went over on his ankle, but after a brief spell off the field he went back on. The players were well cared for by club physio, Polly Gray, who certainly had her work cut out for her on this occasion!
The game itself started well with some sustained pressure by MFC, only for Accies to make a strong break through the middle and open the scoring after four minutes. Harry Fisher replied eight minutes later and Paddy Clark (11-15) knocked over the extras. Three further tries were conceded in the first half to a powerful Accies team, but hope was restored just before half time with Fisher picking up his second try of the match from a pick & go near the opposition try-line. At this point the team had had to make adjustments in the midfield and had also lost the industrious Harris Grant (00-05).
At half time there was belief that the job could be done and nobody was backing down against the challenge. Skipper, Dan Nutton (05-15), re-focused his troops and the coach demanded harder work and better accuracy at the breakdown; which was an area that Accies were slowing down possession and creating turnovers.
Four tries were conceded in the second half, and even though Accies received two yellow cards in the fixture (for foul play and repeated infringements at the breakdown), the MFC boys also had to contend with fielding a reduced team due to injuries sustained and were themselves down to thirteen players for an extended spell. Nutton bagged a try for the team and then later put in an exceptional cross-field kick which Johnny Byrne-Leitch (06-10) gathered superbly to notch the Try of the day.
The full time score was 44-24 to the hosts but the team did themselves and their club proud with their effort and commitment throughout, especially when things were not going their way.
It was great for everyone to catch up and watching the touch match before kick-off was a good way to get together prior to the game. The potential is there for MFC to win this fixture regularly and if we can be assured of a full squad then will become an inevitability!
Ready Ay Ready!