National One round-up: Watsonians turn on the style against Melrose

Biggar remain in driving seat in race for the National One title with another bonus-point win on the road against Ayr

Watsonians defeated Melrose.Image: Graham Gaw
Watsonians defeated Melrose.Image: Graham Gaw

WATSONIANS turned on the style against Melrose to remain unbeaten at home in National League One on Saturday, which was an impressive bounce back from the previous week’s defeat away to Dundee High. Elsewhere, there were wins for leaders Biggar, title-chasers Heriot’s Blues, Cartha Queens Park and a crucial bottom of the table victory for Boroughmuir over Dundee High.

At Myreside, Watsonians put in one of their best showings of the season to defeat Melrose 44-10. Stuart Allison led the way with a hat-trick of tries, while Andrew O’Neill, Corann Henderson, Callum Lauder and Donald Kennedy also crossed, with Kerr Stoddart kicking the rest of the points.

It leaves Watsonians eighth in the table with six home wins from six to date. “The boys showed a lot of character to come back from the disappointing loss at Dundee,” said head coach Bruce Ruthven. “This was probably the best performance of the season from the start until the 60 minute mark, I am delighted for them.

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“Our defence really put Melrose on the back foot and I thought back-row Stuart Allison, with a hat trick, continued his good recent form, while the backline was looking sharp.”

Melrose are still fourth in the table, but this result leaves them some 22 points behind Biggar. That is because the Hartreemill men notched up another five points at the weekend to move them onto 60 points.

They were through in Ayr and, although the game was moved to Queen Margaret Academy due to a power cut at Millbrae, that did not put Biggar off their stride.

Andrew Jardine, Mark Bertram, Robbie Orr and Chris Mulligan scored tries before half-time to get Biggar the bonus point, and Ewan Stewart and Euan Sanderson crossed in the second half. A penalty try was also awarded with Jardine kicking the rest of the points. Ethan Aitken and Seth Rae scored tries for Ayr, but they lost 43-14.

“Ayr are a team who have massively improved and will take some scalps as the season goes on, so we had to play well,” said Biggar player/forwards coach Craig Borthwick. “We played some good stuff at times in the game and to come away with five points was the most important thing for us.”

Heriot’s Blues are seven points behind Biggar in second place after a 26-0 home win over Stirling County. The game was delicately poised at 0-0 at half-time, but the home side came alive after the break and scored tries through John Rae, Craig Robertson, Oisin Quinn and Matt Arnold. Graham Wilson kicked three conversions.

Cartha are fifth, just three points behind Melrose now, after they toughed out a 26-25 win away at Kelso. Ethan Paterson, Calum Dickson and Thibault Pin all scored tries for Cartha who also were awarded a penalty try while Michael Robertson kicked two conversions.

“We are delighted with the win, Kelso is always a physical game and hey play until the final whistle,” said Cartha head coach Thomas Davidson. “We had a number of players missing and others stood up, but we must continue to perform at this level and not get ahead of ourselves.”

Kelso did lead 20-19 at one point, but the visitors fought back and the Borderers are 10th in the table.

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Boroughmuir are just seven points behind them in 11th after they defeated bottom side Dundee High 17-7 at Meggetland. Fin Hepburn and Fin Devine scored the Boroughmuir tries with Callum Anderson kicking seven points.

“Tough conditions led to a tight game plan and we hoped to apply pressure in the first half with the wind, but struggled to execute,” said Boroughmuir head coach Richard Sievwright. “In the second half we played some smart and determined rugby that got us the points we needed.

  • Gala v Highland was postponed as a mark of respect for the latter’s Lewis MacDonald who passed away last week. Our thoughts are with the club, his family and friends at this time.

National League Division One results –

Ayr 14 Biggar 43

Kelso 25 Cartha Queens Park 26

Watsonians 44 Melrose 10

Boroughmuir 17 Dundee High 7

Heriot’s Blues 26 Stirling Wolves 0

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 175 Articles
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia