The 2nd XV bounce back with a fantastic win over old rivals Heriots
The Saturday lunchtime after the night before saw the 2nd teams of these two old rivals fight it out for bragging rights in the city for at least a couple of hours until the Scotland v South Africa match. On a wonderful day for rugby with Myreside looking grand, the 2nd XV began their crucial National Reserve League 1 match against the previously unbeaten Heriots. A poor performance in defeat at Stirling had left the team on 3 losses for the season and in danger of dropping out of contention altogether, and it was with a degree of trepidation that we approached this weekend. Heriots Blues, well marshalled by 'old heads' Wilson and Carmichael, had secured a convincing victory in the opening fixture at Goldenacre in September and have been unstoppable since, however the stunning victory on the Friday night by the 1st XV perhaps brought a renewed sense of purpose to the team.
The game began with Watsonians comfortably going through the phases but unable to finish good approach work off due to unnecessary penalties, that is until O'Neill stepped up a gear and thundered over. Cunningham could not convert but soon after added a penalty to take the home team into an 8 - 0 lead. Both sides were intent on running the ball which kept the sizeable crowd entertained but the next score went to Watsonians as Davidson, looking interested, careered through the middle, like a pinball off defenders and went over for the score which Cunningham converted and the home team moved on to 15 - 0. Davidson was responsible for the next score as he repeated his earlier moves to shred the Blues defence and threw a long looping pass to Henderson who squeezed over in the corner. Cunningham, now on fire, converted from the touch line and the score went to 25 - 0 and the half ended.
The second half began with Heriots on the attack but Watsonians defence was coping quite well until conceding a penalty. Heriots kicked for the corner and from the resultant lineout, the veteran Mustard, in his 21st season for the visitors, was at the bottom of a strong surge to open the visitors account and take the score to 25 - 5. Now we thought we would see what the home team were made off and instead of falling off the pace they hit back strongly. Forward drives from a hard working pack got us into the Heriots 22, Fisher was close, Watt got over but was unable to ground and from the resultant scrum O'Neill was over for his second try but more importantly for the team, the bonus point try. Cunningham converted and everybody of a maroon and white hue began to breathe more easily on the sidelines. 32 - 5. In fairness to our visitors they continued trying to run the ball, which made the game very open and occasionally prone to rushes of blood, such as Borel's kick to the corner and Kennedy's offloading sometimes to his own team and sometimes to the opposition! In fairness to Donald he was next on the score sheet as he finished off a nice team move out on the left wing to take us comfortably on to 37 - 5. Not to be outdone, the indefatigable Fisher, boosted in confidence by his 1st XV debut at Stirling, completed the scoring by going over in the same corner with the penultimate move of the match. The last move fittingly went to that man Cunningham, who converted from out wide to make the final score Watsonians 44 - Heriots 5.
A result that keeps the 2nd XV in the hunt but more hard games await before the Christmas break with trips to Melrose and Hawick to come. Credit to coaches and players for turning themselves around in the two weeks after Stirling and for the increased attendance at training and the fresh enthusiasm. Hopefully this will provide the impetus needed to negotiate the hurdles to come before we recharge the batteries. From a personal point of view it was evidence of what this team can do when everyone is singing off the same song sheet. Well done to all and lets not forget the contribution of the referee, Mr Innes who allowed the game to flow. Thank you.
Team: Hobbis, Renwick, Borel, Watt, Harvey, Scott C, Fisher, O'Neill, Scott M, Fox, Henderson, Cunningham, Davidson, Nicol, Chalmers.
Reps: Wilson, Miller, Keenan, Fullarton, Kennedy, Bell C, Kelly (all played).
Man of the Match: Harry Fisher
Photgraphs from Graham Gaw