Super6 Sprint: Watsonians extend winning run with fine fightback against Heriot’s

Derby victory clinches place in upper-half play-offs for Fergus Pringle's side

Watsonians v Heriot's
Watsonians got the better of Heriot's in the unfamiliar surroundings of Meggetland.Image: Graham Gaw.

Watsonians 34

Heriot’s 25

COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland

WATSONIANS extended their unbeaten run in the FOSROC Super6 and moved clear at the top of the table after an impressive fightback against a Heriot’s side that paid the price for fading out of the game at a crucial phase. Both teams aspired to produce flowing rugby in a match played at Meggetland because of Myreside being unavailable. In the end, the leaders deserved their victory, while Heriot’s offered another tantalising glimpse of their potential.  

The result means that Watsonians will feature in the play-offs for the title. Their coach, Fergus Pringle, was happy with the way his side performed, particularly the defensive effort on a day that was ideal for running rugby.         

“Heriot’s were good in the first half. We knew they would come hard at us and throw everything at us. We’re chuffed at only conceding three tries. In a fast, open game it’s a credit to our defence,” he said. And, pointing the consistency that he now has in his squad, he added, “We have some good experienced backs. In the second half, six of the seven backs on the field were in the team when we played Heriot’s in our second Super6 game ever at Goldenacre. That’s a sign of the continuity we have.”

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After watching his side perform well in the opening 40 minutes, Pringle’s Heriot’s counterpart Andrew Kelly was left ruing a dip in the third quarter. “We started the second half quite poorly and made some mistakes. They’re a good team and to be fair they pressured us and we leaked a few points, then it got away from us,” he said. “We fell out of the game a bit and they kept the pressure on, which is what they’re good at.”

Kelly’s disappointment was understandable after the way his players dominated the early proceedings. During that opening spell, the quick-thinking of livewire scrum-half Murdo McAndrew sparked the game into life with a quickly taken penalty. He fed Sam Pecqueur, who raced into Watsonians territory and offloaded to Bruce Houston who exchanged passes with Jack Mann before dotting down then booting the conversion.

Watsonians retaliated with a couple of attacks that both foundered on handling errors, but the die had been cast, with both teams intent on running with the ball. Heriot’s suffered an early blow when Mann hobbled off, but his replacement Jason Hill was quick to make a mark with two deft passes and a hefty tackle.

However, the momentum was now with Watsonians, and Lee Millar clawed back three points with a close-range penalty. A period of sustained pressure produced no further points, and Heriot’s gradually regained the initiative allowing Houston to take the points tally into double figures with a simple penalty.

The gap widened just after the half-hour mark when James Couper raced into contact, then McAndrew carried on the move but was foiled just short before Ronan Seydak picked up and completed the job, with Houston adding the extras. And the stand-off showed that he has range as well as accuracy when he thumped over a penalty from the halfway line.

Watsonians have shown plenty of character in their winning start to the campaign and they hauled themselves back into the contest with the final play of the half when slick handling stretched the opposition defence and Jason Baggott made a dart for the line before delivering a neat flip into the hands of the supporting Harry Paterson, who raced round behind the sticks to leave Millar a straightforward conversion.                     

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Heriot’s restarted well and bagged the first points of the second half with a well-worked move from a scrum, with Ross Jones chipping into space behind the opposition defence and Couper sprinting through to gather and dot down.

The introduction of Joe Reynolds sparked new life into the Watsonians effort. His pass picked out Lewis Berg, whose powerful angled run took him past several defenders. Millar was on target with the conversion and he cut the deficit to a single point when he also added the extra points a couple of minutes later after Reynolds and Luis Ball combined to send Berg over for a second time.       

The fightback was complete in 55 minutes when Millar slotted his second penalty of the afternoon. Iain Moody was held up over the line as Watsonians chased the bonus-point score, but it was only briefly delayed. Berg raced from deep and fed Angus Guthrie, who continued the move then freed Lomond MacPherson to race over in the corner. Millar continued his immaculate effort with the boot when he banged over the touchline conversion for what would prove to be the final points.


Teams –

Watsonians: H Paterson; L MacPherson (D Coetzer 70), L Berg, L Millar, A Guthrie; J Baggott (J Reynolds 40), R Brand (R Frostwick 46); S Gunn (S Grahamslaw 40), C Davies, G Scougall (AP McWilliam 65), L Ball, K van Niekerk (K Watt 65), S Cecil, K Main (C Wilson 17) (H Fisher 65)), I Moody.

Heriot’s: R Jones; J Couper, R Kay, N Godsmark (C Savala 51), S Pecqueur (G Tait 65); B Houston, M McAndrew (J Gelderbloom 51); J Scott (A Munro 61), M Liness (D Hood 51), D Gamble (R Hutchison 58), R Seydak, J Campbell, R Leishman, L Govenlock (F Hastie 51), J Mann (J Hill 8).

Referee: R Campbell.


Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Paterson, Berg 2, McPherson; Cons: Millar 4; Pens: Millar 2.

Heriot’s: Tries: Houston, Seydak, Couper; Cons: Houston 2; Pens: Houston 2.  

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 0-5; 0-7; 3-7; 3-10; 3-15; 3-17; 3-20; 8-20; 10-20 (h-t) 10-25; 15-25; 17-25; 22-25; 24-25; 27-25; 32-25; 34-25.


Man of the match: Lee Millar’s return is a big boost for Watsonians, and Harry Paterson was again impressive, but the strong running and two-try contribution of Lewis Berg earned him the nod.  

Talking point: The opening four matches in the competition have been tough physically, so next week’s rest day will be an opportunity for players to regroup ahead of the second phase.

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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!