Super Series: fast start sets up Watsonians win over Southern Knights

Freddie Owlsey and Campbell Wilson each score twice in home win

Watsonians were too strong for Southern Knights at Myreside in round two of the Super Series Championship. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Watsonians were too strong for Southern Knights at Myreside in round two of the Super Series Championship. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Watsonians 40

Southern Knights 26

COLIN RENTON @ Myreside

WATSONIANS chalked up a second successive win with a high-energy performance that featured patches of pace and flair. The home side made a stunning start and had the bonus point inside the opening quarter. However, they never fully managed to shrug off a dogged Knights outfit that merited the bonus point they clinched with the final play.

Both coaches were satisfied while insisting that there is more to come as players become available over the coming weeks.

“It’s five points,” was the succinct assessment of Nikki Walker in the home camp. “We had five emergency loan players and those guys stepped up. We will get stronger as the season goes on, with players coming back from injury, but to win the first two games is really pleasing.


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“We were a little bit disappointed that we weren’t further ahead at half-time but credit to the Knights – they showed a lot of fight. We almost had to start again at half-time because they got three quick tries,” he added.

His Knights counterpart, Alan Tait, also had reason to feel satisfied with the showing of his youngsters.

“That has given me a better feeling than last week. I wasn’t really overjoyed at the end of last week’s game even though we got the win,” he said. “We just haven’t got the fire-power at the minute. We still haven’t filled our squad – we’re still three or four players short.

Of the performance, he added: “The guys stuck in. We could have been blown away at the start but we’ve got a bonus point. We never scored four tries in any of our games in the Sprint so getting the four tries is a massive step forward.”

The hosts opened the scoring with surprising ease when a line-out on halfway provided the platform to move the ball wide to George Pringle who raced into the 22 and freed Freddie Owsley for a simple run to the line, leaving Jason Baggott with a simple conversion.

The second try, four minutes later, was the result of slick handling – Kody McGovern offloading to Owsley who was thwarted just shy of the line before recycled ball allowed Murray Scott to fire a pass to Campbell Wilson who blasted over for a converted score.

Knights had their first visit to opposition territory after nine minutes, and it proved to be a fruitful incursion. Aidan Cross showed his pace to sprint past a handful of defenders before being brought down. The ball was switched right then left where the stretched home defence allowed Hamish Bentley to supply Calum Barrett who stepped neatly past his man to dot down. Cal Grieve converted and it looked as if we had a game on our hands.

Owsley was looking sharp and almost unlocked the Knights defence for a third time but was foiled in his attempt to gather his own chip ahead. The score was only briefly delayed and a five metre scrum allowed Kwagga van Niekerk to send Kieran Watt crashing over.

Baggott converted then struck the post after Owsley bagged his second score of the night – and secured the bonus point – on 19 minutes. The winger raced down the wing then repeated the chip and chase that had come close earlier. This time it proved successful as he pipped Donald Crawford in the race to the line.

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A brief lull in the scoring ended when Knights bagged their second try of the evening. Harry Borthwick made the initial dent with a robust run and the ball was flipped out to Will Ferrie who dived in at the corner.

And by half-time, the visitors had trimmed the deficit to seven points. Ryan Godsmark made the break and combined with Cross. He was tackled but the ball found its way to Grieve, whose wonderfully weighted cross-kick fell perfectly for Barrett who completed the job. Grieve’s conversion finished off the first half scoring.

The momentum remained with the Borderers after the restart but they were unable to convert pressure into points and the hosts regained the initiative. Baggott opted for touch with a close-range penalty award and at the ensuing line-out, Jake Kerr picked out Neil Irvine-Hess and the drive ended with Wilson forcing his way over for the second time, with Baggott banging over another conversion.

A game that had been played at a fast pace, gradually petered out, but there was time for another try apiece. The Watsonians touchdown came from van Niekerk, who hurtled in at the corner. Baggott’s conversion ensured the win. However, Knights had the final word when Theo Nwou-Hope forced his way over for the bonus point score, with Harris Rutherford adding the extras.

 

Teams –

Watsonians: C Welsh (D Williamson 78); K McGovern, G Pringle (L Berg 60), S King, F Owsley; J Baggott, M Scott (M McAndrew (71); D Voas (G Sheills 40), J Kerr (C Davies 78) G Scougall (A Scopes 46), K Watt (L Ball 46), K van Niekerk, S Cecil, C Wilson (M Wilson 60), N Irvine-Hess©.

Southern Knights: D Crawford; A Cross, H Bentley (R Cottrell 58), C Grieve (M Job 75), C Barrett (P Anderson 40); G McNeish© (H Rutherford 78), C Bell (R Godsmark 34); C Greer (A Dodds 70), L Thompson (R Anderson 49), D Gamble, T Nwosu-Hope, C Skeldon, W Ferrie (G Young 57), G Young, H Borthwick.

Referee: Ruairidh Campbell

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Owsley 2, C Wilson 2, Watt, van Niekerk; Cons Baggott 5.

Southern Knights: Tries: Barrett 2, Ferrie, Nwosu-Hope; Cons: Grieve 2, Rutherford.

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-10; 14-0; 14-5; 14-7; 19-7; 21-7; 26-7; 26-12; 26-17; 26-19 (h-t) 31-19; 33-19; 38-19; 40-19; 40-24; 40-26.

 

Man-of-the-Match: An open game and plenty of tries threw up several contenders. Aidan Cross was a livewire for Knights while Freddie Owsley had a scintillating first half but faded a little in the second period. The man who was consistent throughout, with solid decision making and a reliable boot, was Jason Baggott.

Talking point: The Super Series has produced some decent entertainment so far, but the mood surrounding the league is a concern, perhaps more negative than at any time since the semi pro tier was introduced. That may explain the meagre crowd dotted across the Myreside stand and the scattering of observers on the terrace, which is a shame on a good night for live sport when two teams wanting to play rugby shared 10 tries.


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About Colin Renton 288 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!

8 Comments

  1. Scotia sums it up correctly with GRob offering reasoned suggestions for improvement.
    Like many others I have no interest in this flawed Super Series idea and can’t wait for the real club rugby season to start.

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  2. In a league supposedly primarily geared towards player development where is the point in affording 6 of the players in the squads less than 10 minutes game time. What a disappointing reward this must be for these players who are training significantly. The Super Series needs to take a long hard look at itself and what it actually is. We again see the Super series teams playing the same players week in , week out with the sole aim of winning a meaningless competition and prioritising this over development.
    The SRU need to step in and introduce and encourage compliance with clearer guidance regarding the playing opportunities all squad members are afforded. Still far to many players operating on the fringe of these squads that are simply not getting decent playing time and many must be disillusioned. There should be a playing time quota for all players in these squads that has to be applied consistently across the playing squads and thus being equitable across the competition.
    As long as the SRU continue to allow the clear imbalance between squad quality and behaviour and permit the liberal interpretation of the individual teams , it will never come close to achieving what it suggested it originally set out to.

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    • In short, the Super Series is a shambles, and a poorly supported one at that.

      Just get back to funding club rugby properly, where people have an affiliation and actually care about results – there is plenty of opportunity to develop young talent in that environment.

      I’ve yet to hear from a Super Series player that says they enjoy it more than they did playing for their previous club side, that’s got to be a concern too.

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      • 6000 live views on youtube for the full game between Wolves and Bulls earlier today would suggest your argument is flawed.

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      • AngryGala, the online viewers aren’t paying anything and the broadcast deal itself is actually being paid for by Scottish Rugby. If there are only a few thousand online views on average and a couple of hundred people at most actually paying to watch the game then when you consider the significant worldwide online presence of Scottish Rugby, it’s a damning indictment of the competition that the games are only getting that level of viewership, 4 years after this semi pro competition was launched. Millions has been invested in this including the SRU paying to broadcast the games on free to air TV with no discernible ROI or increased interest or whatsoever. It’s complete madness. At the very least, stop wasting money broadcasting the games, better to use this money to provide a salary increase to the players who deserve it.

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      • That’s 6,000 people who weren’t interested enough to go to the game then.

        OK so some will live too far away to attend and many probably in other countries but there is little to be gained in attracting the interest of those who can’t or won’t actually invest in the game.

        As Scotia says it’s a poorly supported shambles of a competition.

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      • Emergency players are all amateurs .
        It goes against the format of this competition .
        No amateurs allowed against semi pro players .
        As many have said it’s just made up as it trudges along with a sticking plaster approach .

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