George Watson’s College 44
Edinburgh Academy 8
ALAN LORIMER @ Myreside
GEORGE WATSON’S COLLEGE will face their Edinburgh rivals Stewart’s-Melville College in the final of the Scottish Schools Under-18 Cup after securing a larger than expected win over Edinburgh Academy at Myreside in this afternoon’s semi-final.
Two weeks ago, Edinburgh Academy came within three points of a draw against Watson’s but it very different this time. The homes side that mauled with skill, was lethal at the breakdown and defended accurately behind the scrum, leaving the Academy with less and less answers as the game progressed. Academy’s attempts at standing off the maul backfired and was responsible for a hat-trick of tries all credited to flanker Tom Holmes.
Watson’s also had a dangerous runner in wing Ryan Daley who caused problems for the Academy defence throughout the match .Academy, however were in the match at half time when they trailed by just one converted try with the scoreline at 15-8 but injuries and a yellow card in the second half killed off hopes of a fightback.
“Up until the last quarter of the game it was very tight. The final scoreline perhaps flattered us. But it’s great to be in a final at Murrayfield again. This is a brilliant group of boys. That was a solid performance tonight and we’ll look forward to Murrayfield,” reflected Ally Donaldson, the Watson’s coach.
For Academy, this was a disappointing night given their recent form. “We didn’t cope physically,” admitted Javier Palacios, the Academy coach. “We picked up a few injuries and our bench is not strong enough. But Watson’s played well. Their driving maul was unstoppable. We tried to stand off the maul but the referee interpreted what we were doing as a way we didn’t expect and of course we must accept the decisions. We wish Watson’s all the best in the final.”
Watson’s relentless pressure in the opening minutes of the match brought its rewards with a try by wing Daley after slick handling along the back line.
Then, in an expensive spell of play for Edinburgh Academy, Watson’s punished the visitors propensity to give away penalties by scoring twice from driving mauls following kicks to the corner, Holmes dotting down the ball on both occasions.
Just as it seemed that Watson’s were monopolising the points, Academy scored a peach of a try through their full-back Harvey Cameron-Barr, who sliced through the Watson’s defence for a score in the corner.
Academy’s hopes were raised when the visitors narrowed the score with a penalty goal by stand-off Daniel Troup to trail 8-15 at the break. But that was to be the end of Academy’s scoring as Watson’s took control of the second half that began with a penalty goal by centre Euan Maguire, who then added the extras to a third maul try for Holmes.
Then, when second-row Max Rait crashed over from close range, Watson’s were out of sight, piling on further points from tries by No 8 Euan Henderson and replacement wing Zack Neill, both converted by Maguire .
George Watson’s College: D Brown; C Milligan, A Cousin, E Maguire, R Daley; R Stephen, B Young; L Hutchinson, M Cantle, G Scougall, M Raitt, A Watters, T Holmes, C Hardie, E Henderson Replacements B Lynes, C Scullion, A Hastings, C Myles, L Musat, Z Neil.
Edinburgh Academy: H Cameron-Barr; T Peel, B Murray, C Campbell, T Peters; D Troup, C Swanson; S Innes, D Edwin, H Cartwright, B Pringle, A Burns, F Woods, J Binsted, A McNeill Replacements T McLure, N MacLean, A Gillespie, B Buchan, B Shannon, L Houbert, D Macrae, J Carson, R Allen
Referee: G Galashan
George Watson’s College: Tries Daley, Holmes 3, Raitt, Henderson, Neill; Cons Maguire 3; Pen: Maguire.
Edinburgh Academy: Tries Cameron-Barr; Pen: Troup.
Scoring Sequence (Watson’s first): 5-0; 10-0; 15-0; 15-5; 15-8 (h0t) 18-8; 23-8; 25-8; 30-8; 35-8; 37-8; 42-8; 44-8.
Yellow cards –
Edinburgh Academy: McNeill.
Man-of-the-Match: The pace and excitement of Ryan Daley’s running lit up this semi-final. At Murrayfield he could be a key player for Watson’s.
Talking point: A Stew-Mel v Watson’s final is a match to savour. Should be a great contest.