COLIN RENTON @ Myreside
WATSONIANS remain on the edge of the race for play-off spots after taking the spoils from a game that was a physical challenge for both sides. In the end, the Myreside men deserved their win, but they were certainly pushed hard by a Boroughmuir side whose own aspirations of a top four finish look to have gone.
It was an engrossing encounter played at a high tempo and with a massive physicality. That, together with the difficult conditions meant that were errors and it was so tight that ultimately the thing that turned the game was a missed tackle that allowed the home side to go in at half time with a 13-0 lead.
“It was one for the purists, I suppose – it was a bit turgid at times – but a win’s a win.” said Watsonians coach Steve Lawrie. “I thought we showed good defensive resolve. We have got to down to Hawick next week so that’s somewhere you need to go and defend well as a team.”
While Lawrie is not looking beyond that trip to the Borders, he is conscious of the fact that his side can still secure a berth in the knockout phase.
“It’s still in our hands but we just need to keep going. We will park that one. It was nice to win it – game three of the Bill McLaren Shield as well.”
Although defeated, Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright could not fault his players for effort, with one error having cost his team dearly.
“It was two teams that defensively played really well. We just lapsed one more time than they did and they got the try. Considering how we played defensively it was a poor try to give away,” he said. “I thought our line-out was good, I thought our line-out defence was good, I thought the try was good. But we just didn’t change the game at the right times. We’ve got things that we can do in these situations and they didn’t do it. They were going off script.”
However, while it was a defensive blip that cost Boroughmuir the game, they had enough opportunities to win it. They sowed their intent in the opening 10 minutes when they had most of the possession. But they never really threatened the home line and it was the hosts who opened the scoring when Lee Millar hammered over a long-range penalty.
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The visitors regained the initiative but again failed to convert the pressure into points. And they were given a lesson in finishing off chances when the next attack by Watsonians yielded a try. Millar took possession on the edge of the away 22 and crashed through two weak tackles then pirouetted past another defender before freeing Josh Rowland to race in between the sticks and leave Millar a simple conversion.
The home stand-off then stroked over a second penalty before adding his weight to the defensive effort that repelled another wave of attacks, although the visitors had themselves to blame for surrendering the initiative on one occasion when the referee reversed a penalty inside the Watsonians 22 after Rory Drummond took the law into his own hands.
The big question as the teams returned to the field were whether the visitors could eventually find a way to unlock a solid defence and who might be the man to do it. The answers were yes and Drummond, who charged over following a close range line-out after a penalty had been booted into touch.
The tide was flowing in Boroughmuir’s favour and they looked set to add to their tally. However, the home defence was determined to withstand all that was thrown at them and they did so manfully. In their desperation, the away side lacked the patience that might have yielded at least a narrow defeat bonus point.
Watsonians: J Rowland; A Chalmers, R Hutton, D Innes, L MacPherson; L Millar, M Scott; G Jackson, F Renwick, J Stanley, J Hodgson, C Borthwick, J Miller, R Graham, M Fedo. Subs: C Fenton, F Hobbis, F Simpson, H Fisher, E Fox.
Boroughmuir: C Gossman; G Parker, J Edmunds, G Cannie, R Arthur; R Weersma, T Wilson; R Dunbar, J Matthews, R Montgomery, W Inglis, S Smith, S Nayalo, M Walker, C Keddie. Subs: D Robertson, A Mncube, R Drummond, M Johnstone, B Renton.
Referee: D Sutherland
Watsonians: Try; Rowland, Con; Millar, Pens; Millar 2
Boroughmuir: Try; Drummond
Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 3-0; 8-0; 10-0; 13-0 (h-t) 13-5.
Man-of-the-match: There were defensive heroics all over the pitch, while in an attacking sense Boroughmuir’s Jordan Edmunds was outstanding. However, for playing a part in all of the Watsonians points and his tackling contribution, Lee Millar gets the nod.
Talking point: With Boroughmuir still having to face three of the sides currently in the top four, they could have a big say in who qualifies for the lay-offs – indeed they are not yet completely out of the running.