Super6: Watsonians hold off late Heriot’s rally to book top seed in play-offs

Tries in the final quarter by youngsters Sam Wallace and Elliot Young provide visitors with belief ahead of next weekend's re-match

Lewis Berg of Watsonians is challenged by Cameron Hutchison of Heriot's. Image: Scottish Rugby / SNS
Lewis Berg of Watsonians is challenged by Cameron Hutchison of Heriot's. Image: Scottish Rugby / SNS

Watsonians 29

Heriot’s 21

COLIN RENTON @ Goldenacre

WATSONIANS confirmed their status as top seeds for the play-off phase of the FOSROC Super 6 with a win over Heriot’s that yielded all five points. But the success was hard-earned and came after a tense finale when the visitors battled back into the match and finished the stronger side. Heriot’s will again provide the opposition at Myreside next Friday when a place in the final will be up for grabs.      

“We made quite a few mistakes there and they capitalised and got back into the game. We dropped out of it in the last 15 minutes,” admitted Watsonians coach Fergus Pringle. “We try to bring balance to our game, move the ball and try to impose ourselves on the game. The guys are disappointed with the last 15 minutes. They know they were short of the high standards we set. It’s a good thing for us because it shows that you can’t get ahead of ourselves and if you make mistakes, teams will punish you.”

Heriot’s made the better start without posing any real threat to the home line. For their part, the hosts offered a glimpse of their forward power at the first scrum, earning a penalty after shunting their opponents backwards.


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And, it was Watsonians who made the breakthrough with 11 minutes on the clock. Jason Baggott booted a penalty into touch and a drive followed by a series of pick-and-goes carried play to within a 10 metres of the line. Lewis Berg almost made it over, before the Murray Scott picked up and released Dom Coetzer to touch down.

The hosts had a lucky escape a couple of minutes later as Heriot’s offered a glimpse of the pace behind their scrum but came up just short.

The home side looked set to add to their tally when they repeated the tactic that had worked earlier, but this time the post-lineout drive was foiled when Dan Gamble’s effort prevented the touchdown.

And things got even better for the visitors with half an hour on the clock. A penalty was despatched into touch, Ruaridh Leishman gathered and the ensuing surge ended with the ball worked out to Sam Wallace, who completed the job. Bruce Houston’s conversion handed Heriot’s a lead they held for three minutes.

Coetzer broke from deep and was hauled down by Jake Henry, but the recycled ball reached Joe Reynolds who delivered a perfectly weighted chip and Angus Guthrie won the race to the line for an unconverted score.

The gap grew to double figures just before half time. Again the source was lineout ball but this time Scott ignored the support on his outside to nip in between two defenders. Baggott found his range to add the extra points.

With the final play of the half, Matt Davidson charged down a kick and hacked on. He was brought down by Guthrie just short of the line and the Heriot’s players appealed for a penalty try. However, although the home winger appeared to have tackled the man without the ball, the referee was perfectly placed to pass judgement and he decided there was no foul.

 

It took Watsonians only three minutes of the second period to secure the bonus point. Baggott sliced through the Heriot’s defence and drew the final defender before releasing Scott for a run to the line.

That looked to have ensured the win, and that impression was reinforced on the hour when Baggott carved open the opposition defence with an astute grubber kick and Lomond MacPherson dotted down. Baggott banged over the conversion.

But the contest wasn’t quite over yet. Another driven line-out ended with Wallace scoring his second try of the match, with Houston again landing the conversion, and the visitors breathed life into the contest when Nyle Godsmark raced into the home 22 and sent Elliot Young in for a converted score.

That sparked a late flurry of attacks and with a little more composure in the danger zone, Heriot’s could have had the hosts worried. It was, however, enough to create excitement ahead of next week’s rematch at the same venue.

Heriot’s coach Fin Gillies is relishing that clash. “We do believe,” he insisted. “I said beforehand that we probably can’t build momentum now, we’ve probably got one swing at it. I genuinely think in that 10 minute spell when we played some really good rugby, we somehow managed to build some momentum and some genuine belief. We are excited about next week and we are certainly holding no fear.”

 

Teams –  

Watsonians: D Coetzer; L MacPherson, L Berg, J Reynolds (C Eastgate 65), A Guthrie (R McKnight 53); J Baggott, M Scott (M Scott 53); H Courtney (B Bratton 60), C Davies©, A Williams (G Scougall 60), K Watt (M Badenhorst 56), J Berrisford, L Ball, K Main (C Wilson 65), S Cecil.

Heriot’s: N Sweeney (R Jones 40); J Henry, M Davidson, C Hutchinson (N Godsmark 53), J Blain; B Houston, J Gelderbloom (M McAndrew 44); J Scott (E Young 40), M Liness (C Keen 40), D Gamble (E McLaren 53), R Seydak, C Marshall (F Hastie 65), R Leishman©, S Wallace, C Anderson.

Referee: D Sutherland

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Coetzer, Guthrie, Scott 2, MacPherson; Cons: Baggott 2.

Heriot’s: Tries: Wallace 2, Young; Cons: Houston 3.

Scoring Sequence: 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 10-7; 15-7; 17-7 (h-t) 22-7; 27-7; 29-7; 29-12; 29-14; 29-19; 29-21.

 

Man-0f-the-Match: It was a close call between Dom Coetzer and Murray Scott, but the latter earned the nod for his game management and try double.

Talking Point: Heriot’s proved that they can compete, and they will take heart from their performance in the final quarter. Fergus Pringle is a shrewd operator and he will use that late collapse to motivate his men for what promises to be a cracking encounter next Friday.


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About Colin Renton 233 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!