COLIN RENTON @ Myreside
Watsonians rediscovered the winning habit with a gutsy performance against a Currie side that repeatedly battled back into a contest that kept the Myreside spectators enthralled throughout the afternoon. Ultimately, the hosts deserved a victory that confirms they are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the BT Premiership.
Watsonians were desperate to bounce back from the defeat seven days earlier which had halted their winning start to the campaign, while Currie’s objective was to build on the positive mood created by a first success of the season.
The Malleny Park club’s mood had been further enhanced by recognition of the glut of burgeoning talent coming through the ranks when seven youngsters were named in the BT Academy set up during the week.
And it was the visitors who sparked the game into life with an outstanding solo effort from Harvey Elms. The full back gathered inside the Currie half and accelerated outside two Watsonians men then, with a player on either shoulder he dummied his way past the final defender and sprinted over for the opening score of the match.
Joe Helps, a recent acquisition from Melrose by the hosts, made his first contribution from the kicking tee when he banged over a long-range penalty with ten minutes gone.
The visitors were soon back on the attack and, with the referee playing advantage, Jamie Forbes prodded a clever kick into the path of Elms who was unable to control the bouncing ball. Back they came for the penalty and Forbes stroked the kick between the posts to restore a five point lead.
The home side may have earned their earlier wins in the campaign on the back of a solid pack, but there is pace aplenty behind the scrum and that was shown to good effect after a set piece in the Currie 22 when the ball was spun quickly along the line to Andrew Chalmers and it took a last ditch tackle by Forbes to thwart his opposite number.
It was end to end stuff, and Currie scrum half Charlie Shiel was bundled into touch before the next attack by Watsonians yielded a penalty and Helps was again on target to bag another three points. And, after another bout of ebb and flow, he edged the hosts in front for the first time when he hammered over a mighty effort shortly before the break.
The gap grew to eight points within a couple of minutes of the restart when a powerful surge carried play to within a metre of the line and Martin Christie, the home skipper, plunged over. Helps added the extra two points.
The response was immediate and again it was Elms who did the damage as Currie profited from the referee playing advantage and the straight running full back darted through a gap for his second touchdown of the afternoon. The successful conversion by Forbes cut the deficit to a single point once more.
The end-to-end pattern continued and it took a solid defensive effort to repeal a series of attacks before Euan Dods was held up over the line. However, the momentum appeared to have swung in the home side’s favour and another spell of pressure produced a penalty – again despatched by the immaculate boot of Helps – and a yellow card for Currie replacement AP McWilliam.
Again the visitors struck back. A kickable penalty was despatched into touch but when that came to nothing, Forbes opted to go for the posts with the next award and clawed back three points.
Watsonians seized back the initiative with eight minutes to play when another spell of pressure ended with Euan McKirdy sniping over to dot down and Helps landing the conversion. And, despite a final rally by the visitors, the final attack foundered on a handling error and they were left empty handed.
Watsonians: R Steele; M Bertram, S McLeod, D Innes, J Helps; A Chalmers, E McKirdy; M Christie©, S Crombie, S Ruwers, F Morrison, C Borthwick, D Dee, A Duckett, E Dods. Subs: D Miller, N Borel, A Middleton, R Cullen, A Davidson.
Currie: H Elms; C Davies, M Hooks, R Nelson, C Gray; J Forbes, C Shiel; J Cox, F Scott, G Carson, G Temple, S Ainslie, R Davies, T Gordon, R Weston©. Subs: P Mundell, A McWilliam, D Marek, C Smith, R Snedden.
Watsonians: Tries: Christie, McKirdy Cons: Helps (2) Pens: Helps (4)
Tries: Elms (2) Con: Forbes Pens: Forbes (2)
Referee: S Grove White
Man-of-the-Match: Despite being on the losing side, Harvey Elms looked menacing every time he had the ball in hand, and also grafted in defence – and then there were his two fine tries!
Talking Point: A flowing encounter can only happen when the referee has empathy with the players, so Sam Grove White deserves credit for the part he played.
Scoring sequence: (Watsonians first) 0-5, 3-5,3-8, 6-8, 9-8, h-t, 14-8, 16-8, 16-13, 16-15, 19-15, 19-18, 24-18, 26-18