Scottish Cup: Marr eventually win at a canter against Watsonians

It was tight at half time before Premiership hosts pulled clear of their National One opposition in the mud at Fullarton

Marr pulled away from Watsonians during the second half at muddy Fullarton. Image: Jonathan Pearce
Marr pulled away from Watsonians during the second half at muddy Fullarton. Image: Jonathan Pearce

Marr 38

Watsonians 10

LEWIS STUART @ Fullarton Park

THE final scoreboard looked comfortable enough as Marr eased their way into the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup, but Watsonians gave as good as they got for almost 40 minutes before it all turned sour for them in the second half.

With a try from the final play of the first half and four more after the break, the home side were able to pull clear. In the end, they won at a canter despite the cold wind and rain that had blighted the whole game.

So afterwards Marr coach Kenny Diffenthal was able to start planning for a semi-final sometime next month with an air of confidence. “The first half was a bit of a slow burner but after half-time we knuckled down and brought it home,” he said. “At half-time we spoke about controlling the second 40, not mucking about too much in our own half and then taking advantage of opportunities when they came.


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“You see that they are coming from a Super6 franchise, the players are well drilled and know what they were doing, but we will have to see how that plays out next season with all the changes ahead of us.

“Now we are just waiting to find out who we get in the semis. It doesn’t matter who it is, we will be ready.”

Without doubt, though, he will be hoping that whenever the game comes round, the weather will be kinder. The rain arrived about an hour before kick-off and never relented, with a strong wind adding to the challenge facing the players as they tried to overcome the elements and throw the ball around.

Marr were first out of the blocks with an early try from full-back Greg Montgomery as David Andrew, the lock, made the initial breakthrough. It was enough to earn a penalty, with scrum-half Grand Baird taking it quickly and putting his teammate over.

Watsonians were in no mood to give up, however, and dominated most of the rest of the half. They played the wind well, looked dangerous at the breakdown and were always willing to spread the ball.

For all that it was the pack who were doing the real damage, first driving a maul over the line with hooker Matt Pritchard at the back to ground the ball and then going straight back upfield to camp on the home line.

The pressure was relentless so that eventually the home defence had to crack, with another lineout maul taking them close before a series of pick and drives ended with Pritchard forcing his way over for his second score.

Arguably, the lead could have been bigger as half-time approached, but the home defence stood firm and the Premiership quality of the home side shone through in the final play of the half as the ball went loose, Gregor Paxton, the centre hacked on, and Andrew was there to make the final yards.

With a marginal lead thanks to Colin Sturgeon’s conversion and the wind to come in the second half, Marr were feeling confident and justified that self-belief when Sturgeon took the ball into traffic and a clever offload put Alexander Fraser-Grant, who had moved to the back row after an early injury to flanker Cameron Young, on a canter to the line.

 

 

By now Marr were dominating possession and territory, reaping more rewards when Conor Bickerstaff, the centre, broke almost to the visitors’ line. Again a penalty gave them the opening with Baird tapping and wing Jake Jacobson dancing through he scattered defence to cross.

By then the result was pretty much in the bag but Marr made sure with a peach of a try with Sturgeon again the mastermind as his cross kick picked out wing Jack Scott, who spun out of the last tackle to run in the fifth try.

It meant that by the time Fraser-Grant was on hand to take advantage for his second try in the final play of the game after Watsonians dropped the ball in midfield, both sides had half their thoughts on heading for the warmth of a dry dressing room with no question about who was going to feature in the semi-final draw and who could start planning for next season when the revamped Premiership waits for both.

 

Teams –

Marr: G Montgomery; J Jacobson, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff, S Bickerstaff; C Sturgeon, G Baird; A Rogers, B Jardine, W Farquhar, D Andrew, F Grant, B Johnston, C Young, A Apthorpe. Subs used: C McMillan, G Dick, E Hamilton-Bulger, K Vallance, R Baird, J Scott, G Beckwith.

Watsonians: R Coetzer; F Jacobs, H Fisher, T Natiri, R Stanley; L Burns, T Urquhart; J Law, M Pritchard, T Gracie, A McInnes, J Minty, B Robertson, A Steven, S Allison. Subs used: J Holligan, L Morris, C Murphy, E Llewelyn, JP Cutting, N Johnson.

Referee: C Worsley

 

Scorers –

Marr: Tries: Montgomery, Andrew, Fraser-Grant 2, Jacobson, Scott; Cons: Sturgeon 4.

Watsonians: Tries: Pritchard 2,.

Scoring sequence (Marr first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-10; 10-10; 12-10 (h-t) 17-10; 19-10; 24-10; 26-10; 31-10; 36-10; 38-10.

 

Player-of-the-Match: Conditions were awful, so despite Colin Sturgeon manoeuvring the side round with real skill, it was all about the forwards. Fraser Grant comes close with his two tries but David Andrew gets the award for his try, work rate and the ability to make ground with the ball.

Talking point: Full marks to both sides for making a surprisingly good game of it despite the wind and rain, but the conditions and both teams showing a lot of changes meant the match was very much a late-season one-off. Nether set of coaches learned anything useful.


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About Lewis Stuart 70 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.

3 Comments

  1. Good solid result for the Marr men in tricky conditions!
    With Frazer Grant hobbling over for two tries and sturgeon and Bickerstaffs zimmer frames left in the car park it was good to see the old guard still have plenty to offer ! Well done to David Andrew Scotland’s fittest farmer for another man of the match performance.

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  2. Lewis – The Silver tounged Devil, as usual, an accurate well accounted delivery of another great win at Fullarton without a single mention of “you know who!’

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  3. Conditions were indeed awful, however I’m sure both sets of coaches will have identified some useful learnings. Watsonians for next year. Marr for the semis.
    A bit of a lazy talking point conclusion I’m afraid.

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