Edinburgh, UK. March 26, 2016. Action from Watsonians vs Howe of Fife in BT National League One at Myreside, Edinburgh. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

WATSONIANS will be playing in the top flight next season after a hat-trick by winger Scott McKean led them to a 61-17 win over Howe of Fife on Saturday and saw them clinch the BT National League One title.

“The guys have been excellent this season and have kept going even when things got tough, “ said prop Alistair Marsh, who captained the Edinburgh side in the absence of regular skipper Martin Christie at Myreside.

“Fair play to Marr they have pushed us all the way, but I always had the belief in this group that we could go on and finish the job.”

“We got off to a good start and then built momentum and the guys have all pushed each other to be the best they can be.”

It will be the club’s first time in the top flight since 2010/11.

“I am really proud of this group of players because this is a tough league to get out of,” said Marcus Di Rollo, who coaches the team with fellow ex-Scotland cap Simon Taylor:

“In previous years we have always fallen away just after Christmas, but this time the boys just kept on going and in fact we have saved some of our best performances for the last few weeks when it has really mattered.”

Going into the match the home side knew that a bonus point victory over the Fifers would mean that second placed Marr could not catch them.

And although Howe took the lead thanks to a penalty by Angus Guthrie, Watsonians’ win was secure by half-time through tries from Scott McLeod, McKean and Rory Drummond.

Rob Lind responded for Howe before scored Watsonians the try that effectively gave them the title in the 38th minute. It came after a long period of possession and in the end young Reiss Cullen showed quick feet to dive over. Andrew Chalmers converted for a fourth time.

The second half got underway as the first had ended with a Watsonians try. McKean was the scorer and he soon completed his hat-trick to make it 42-10.

Back-row Ewan Miller then got in on the act as did replacement Jonny Neary to make it 54-10 and the title celebrations were in full swing.

With 16 minutes remaining, Howe of Fife got their second try through skipper Stewart Lathangie, before the home side rounded things off in style when Romain Denonain dived over after a great break by Mark Bertram.

Scorers: Watsonians: Tries: McLeod, McKean 3, Drummond, Cullen, Miller, Neary, Denonain. Cons: Chalmers 8. Howe of Fife: Tries: Lind, Lathangie. Pen: Guthrie. Cons: Guthrie 2.

Watsonians: R Steele; M Bertram, S McLeod, J King, S McKean; A Chalmers, R Cullen; N Borel, D Miller, A Marsh, R Denonain, C Harvey, D Rowe, R Drummond, E Miller. Replacements: T Johnson, C Macleod, M Coles, J Neary, A Harris.

Howe of Fife: D McIntyre; B Mitchell, W Wardlaw, C Mann, M Black; A Guthrie, S Lathangie; L McLean, B Peddie, G Henderson, G Steedman, D  Groat, J Lawrie, R Lind, A Steven. Replacements: S Player, R Wilson, D Hodge, G Frearson.

Referee: N Muir.

Credit: SRU website

About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.