Super6: Watsonians hit close to best form against Heriot’s to book place in Final

A first half blitz of four unanswered tries sets visitors up for comfortable win

Cal Davies was a stand-out for Watsonians versus Heriot's. Image: Ronnie McIness
Cal Davies was a stand-out for Watsonians versus Heriot's. Image: Ronnie McIness

Watsonians 31

Heriot’s 12

COLIN RENTON @ Myreside

WATSONIANS marched into the final of the FOSROC Super 6 Championship with a stylish victory over their Edinburgh rivals. Heriot’s had travelled across the city with hopes of creating an upset. But that never looked likely to materialise after a blistering start by the hosts that yielded three tries in the opening quarter.  

For the home side, the performance was a step up in intensity from the previous Friday night clash with the same opponents, and their coach Fergus Pringle was delighted with that, though warning whoever will provide the opposition in the play-off final that there is more to come,

“I thought the first half we were excellent. We knew we had a few fix ups from last week and we came with a plan. I thought the guys stuck to the plan really well and we really put them under pressure,” he said. “Second half, they never threw in the towel, fair play to Heriot’s, they never give up and the kept coming at us. But we’re pretty chuffed with our performance.”


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The hosts dominated the territory in the opening five minutes without posing any threat to the try line. The breakthrough came when they reverted to a tactic that has been fruitful throughout the campaign. Jason Baggott booted a penalty into touch and that sparked a series of drives which edged closer. Murray Scott then switched the point of attack when he fired a pass out to Joe Reynolds, and the centre sliced through for a try which Baggott converted.

Reynolds turned creator for the second Watsonians try, feeding Lomond MacPherson, who was hauled down just short but managed to flip the ball to the supporting Dom Coetzer, who raced in.

The gap grew with 18 minutes on the clock, when another penalty banged into touch created the platform for a drive that split the Heriot’s defence and left a space for Seb Cecil to race over, with Baggott again adding the extras.

The visitors needed a response and it nearly came from a penalty to touch and a drive by Michael Liness that was thwarted just short of the whitewash. While the Heriot’s efforts were foundering on unforced errors, almost everything was coming off for the hosts, whose handling was slick and executed at pace, constantly posing questions of their opponents.

The momentum was soon back with Watsonians and another spell of pressure yielded try number four. This time Cal Davies carried the ball into contact and Scott’s pop pass found MacPherson already travelling at speed and his momentum carried him over for an unconverted try that handed the Myreside outfit a 24-0 interval lead.

 

There appeared to be no way back for Heriot’s and that was confirmed in the opening minutes of the second period. There was plenty of effort, but no evidence of the cutting edge they needed to unlock a solid Watsonians defence.

The breakthrough eventually came after 51 minutes when a penalty into touch sparked a drive that ended with Ian Wilson crashing over, but they couldn’t build on that.

The pattern of the game was punctuated by a wave of personnel changes on both sides, but the outcome was largely the same, with Heriot’s unable to find a way through. The visitors then lost Jed Gelderbloom to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Rory Brand.

Brand took his personal retribution a couple of minutes later when he was the beneficiary of a lung-bursting run by Davies to claim try number five. Lee Millar landed the conversion, although the visitors had the last word when Ross Jones‘ grubber bounced up perfectly to send Dan King between the sticks, to leaveJones a simple conversion that marked the end of the current era which has seen Stuart Edwards and Fin Gillies share the coaching duties for the past five months.

“We left ourselves a mountain to climb, our discipline was poor but they are a good side,” admitted Gillies. “You often look at the blame game. We gave away five or six penalties, and they took their chances. They are clinical and they very much deserved to win. They are well-coach, they’re well-organised. That’s the end of the journey for me and Edo (Stuart Edwards) as head coaches, but we’ll see what happens.”

 

Teams – 

Watsonians: D Coetzer; L MacPherson, L Berg (C Eastgate 73), J Reynolds, R McKnight; J Baggott (L Millar 59), M Scott (R Brand 59); H Courtney, C Davies©, B Bratton (G SCougall 69), K Watt (K van Niekerk 59), J Berrisford (M Badenhorst 76), L Ball, K Main (C Wilson 76), S Cecil.

Heriot’s: N Sweeney (R Jones 49); J Blain; R Steele, N Godsmark, S Pecqueur (J Henry 55); B Houston (D King 49), M McAndrew (J Gelderbloom 49); J Scott (C Keen 40), M Liness (G Hiddlestn 52), E McLaren (D Gamble 40), F Hastie, R Seydak (S Wallace 51), R Leishman©, I Wilson, C Anderson.

Referee: Ruairidh Campbell

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Reynolds, Coetzer, Cecil, MacPherson, Brand; Cons; Baggott 2, Millar.

Heriot’s: Tries: Wilson, King; Con: Ross

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 17-0; 19-0; 24-0 (h-t) 24-5; 29-5; 31-5; 31-20; 31-12.

 

Yellow cards –

Heriot’s: Gelderbloom

 

Man-of-the-Match: There were several contenders in the home ranks, but Cal Davies stood out for his all round, 80 minute effort which included a lung-bursting run that led to the final try for his side.

Talking point: Watsonians may have been a little short of their own high standards over recent weeks, but this was them close to their best. Fergus Pringle has built a solid squad that combines a mature core with youthful exuberance.


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About Colin Renton 235 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!