Scottish Schools’ Under-16 Cup Final: Watson’s recover from mid-match wobble to defeat Stewart’s Melville

George Watsons winger Angus Hoffie scored four tries for his team. Image: © Craig Watson -

Stewart’s Melville 19

George Watson’s 64

DAVID BARNES @ BT Murrayfield


WHEN winger Angus Hoffie showed excellent pace and balance to grab three tries for Watson’s in the opening 23 minutes, it looked like a drubbing was on the cards – but Stewart’s Melville showed commendable resilience to battle their way back to parity on the scoreboard early in the second half.

The turning point was the loss of a Stewart’s Melville player soon after the scores had been tied, which clearly dented his team’s confidence and composure  although the far bigger concern at the moment is for the individual, who was rushed to hospital after a lengthy period of treatment on the park.

A statement issued by the Scottish Rugby Union last night said: “A Stewart’s Melville player was treated for a serious head injury at the Schools Cup Final at BT Murrayfield tonight. He was attended by three on-site doctors and subsequently transferred by ambulance to hospital for further assessment.”

“Scottish Rugby is in contact with both the school and relevant medical professionals at this time and will not be making any further statement until a clearer outcome of the injury is known.”

When play resumed, Watson’s wasted little time in helping themselves to seven unanswered tries during the final half hour, which took the game beyond their opponents.

“Stewart’s Melville did really well to get back into the game, but we spoke after their third try about getting our act together and getting the work-rate up because some people were getting a bit lazy and a bit complacent which is what let them play round us,” said Watson’s captain Luke Hutchinson afterwards.

Stewart’s Melville actually had an early chance to take the lead after a lively start, but Nuhan Hussain couldn’t quite hold onto the ball to exploit an overlap on the right, and Watson’s capitalised on that reprieve by promptly establishing field position and territory, from which Hoffie darted over off the back of a close-range scrum.

The winger added to his tally by sweeping up the touchline and slaloming past two defenders on his way to the line, and then came in field to collect the ball from a ruck under the posts and scramble in for try number three.

Second-row Aaron Robertson instigated Stewart’s Melville’s revival when he rumbled over from close range, and the deficit was wiped out within a few minutes of the resumption with two quick-fire tries from left wing Joshua Grant.

But Watsonians retained their composure, and regained the initiative almost immediately after the delayed restart when stand-off Alex Harley broke from midfield to score under the posts, quickly followed by centre Angus Cousin coming in from the right, and any lingering hope Stewart’s Melville may have had of causing an upset evaporated when Olly Snodgrass barged over for try number six.

Rory Stephen, Gregor Scougall and Harley (for his second) got in on the act before man-of-the-match Hoffie appropriately finished off the scoring in the last play of the match.

Earlier in the afternoon, Earlston High School Melrose Wasps were too strong for Marr College, running out 56-0 winners in the Under-16 Shield Final, thanks to tries from Trystan Andrews, Callum Folan, Matthew Bertram, Keiran Clark, Nick Henderson and four from Ross Lile, while Clark also kicked three conversions.

Hawick High School defeated Royal High School 22-5 in the Plate Final with skipper Ben Scott grabbing a hat-trick and number eight Rhys Tait also getting over the line, with stand-off Charlie Welsh adding a conversion. Royal High’s solitary score came from hooker Justin Akugbo.

The Bowl Final was a real ding-dong battle, with the match swinging one direction then the other before Auchinleck Academy finally ran out 24-21 victors over Oban High School. Lewis Young, Jamie Drummond, Luke Cameron Cooper and Kevin Van Der Leest scored the tries for the eventual winders; while Finbar Dunne scored twice for Oban, while captain Tommy McQuade got one try, while Angus Neil and Ellis Hunter helped themselves to a try apiece.

“We became a school of rugby three years ago and this season has been our first as an official ‘cashback school’ so this is great for the boys,” said Auchinleck head coach Stephen Rabie. “Before that, we hadn’t had a team at the school since the 1980s – although some of our boys used to play for Cumnock Academy –  so this, really, is the first generation of players coming through. Hopefully we can keep on building from here.”



Teams –

Stewart’s-Melville College: A Morris; N Hussain, A Cross, D Hood, J Grant; J Thompson, R Johnston; C Affleck, J Wilson, K Davidson, A Robertson, A Douglas, D Gray, A Harte, F Peet. Subs used: H Bennet, E Sawyer, W Ogilvie, F Campbell, H Stevens, A Boyle, O Rees.

George Watson’s College: D Brown; A Hoffie, R Stephen, A Cousin, R Daley; A Harley, O Snodgrass; G Scougall, L Milligan, H Doppel, M Raitt, A Watters, C Robertson, T Holmes, L Hutchinson. Subs used: C Tucker, C Robertson, J Ryan, B Reilly, C Milligan, E Maguire, G Lawson.

Scorers –

Stewart’s Melville: Try: Robertson, Grant 2; Con: Cross 2.

Watson’s: Tries Hoffie 4, Harley 2, Cousin, Snodgrass, Stephen, Scougall; Cons: Hoffie 7.

Scoring sequence (Stewart’s Melville first): 0-5; 0-10; 0-12; 0-17; 0-19; 5-19 (h-t) 10-19; 12-19; 17-19; 19-19; 19-24; 19-26; 19-31; 19-33; 19-38; 19-40; 19-45; 19-47; 19-52; 19-54; 19-59; 19-64.

Referee: R Campbell

About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.