WATSONIANS coach Stevie Lawrie is a pretty ferocious competitor, so it was surprising to hear him in such a philosophical state of mind when talking about his team surrendering a ten point lead early in the second half of this match to end up with a draw.
“I wouldn’t say I was happy. It’s a draw so nobody comes away happy – it’s a bit like kissing your sister,” he quipped, referencing All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s famous analysis of this summer’s tied Test series versus the British and Irish Lions. “But we knew this would be a tough game and as long as we learn from the experience before going into a huge derby match against our old rivals Heriot’s under the lights at Myreside next Friday night, then it is not a disaster.”
“It was a funny sort of game because both teams did better when they were playing into a pretty strong wind,” he continued. “We played some good stuff in the first half, looked after the ball well and were generally quite assured. We scored a couple of tries and cut them open a few more times as well. But then we really struggled to get our hands on the ball after the break and ended up giving away a couple yellow-cards because of the areas of the park we were forced to play in.”
“We need to learn about grinding out results when momentum is against us. Marr are a really committed and nuggety side, who are fiercely proud of their home record. Once they got their tails up they were really hard to handle. So I don’t think many teams will have an easy time down here.”
Lawrie was forwards coach for Heriot’s and part of their back-to-back league winning set-up in 2015 and 2016, before shifting across the capital to take on the lead role at Watsonians this summer – which is bound to add a bit of extra edge to Friday night’s contest.
“We are expecting an absolute war, it should be a great occasion,” he agreed. “Everyone at the club is really looking forward to it. But we need to make sure we can put in 80-minute performance if we are to have a chance, because as Heriot’s showed against Hawick today [winning 70-7], they can be deadly when given half a chance. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile.”
Watsonians scored two tries in the first half through centre Rory Hutton and scrum-half Willie Thomson, while Marr kept in touch via a Colin Sturgeon penalty. Andrew Chalmers briefly extended the visiting team’s lead early in the second half, but Sturgeon promptly cancelled that out, before a converted James Malcolm try with ten minutes to go secured the draw.