Watsonians v Boroughmuir Bears: forward power produces win No 4 for leaders

Bears suffer pointless second half as home pack prevails in scrum and line-out

Watsonians made it four from four in the Super6 with this win over the Boroughmuir Bears. Image: Graham Gaw
Watsonians made it four from four in the Super6 with this win over the Boroughmuir Bears. Image: Graham Gaw

Watsonians 28

Boroughmuir Bears 10

STUART BATHGATE @ Myreside

WATSONIANS continue to set the pace in Super6, but they had to dig deep in the dreichest of conditions before getting the better of the Bears to make it four wins from four. In essence, they had to win the game twice over, taking control early on before seeing a ten-point lead reduced to three at half-time, then reasserting their dominance and denying Boroughmuir a score after the break.

The Watsonians pack was on top almost throughout, most importantly in a dour third quarter which saw the home side go 18-10 then 21-10 ahead and stifle every attempt by the Bears to break out of their own half. The wind and rain contributed to the abundance of errors from both teams which ensured this game could not be considered a classic, but from the winners’ point of view it was a solid, fairly composed performance. 

“In the first half we played really well into the wind,” Watsonians coach Fergus Pringle said. “I thought our scrum worked well. It wasn’t the perfect performance, and at times we tried to force the extra pass, which let them off the hook.


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“But Boroughmuir are a good side and they stay in the fight. We’ve got plenty to work on and it will be a different story next week when we head across the road to Meggetland.”

It was certainly a different story in the first half from what Pringle is used to from his team, as they led at the break instead of trailing as they had done in their previous three games. Home No 8 Morgan Inness opened the scoring after five minutes with a simple run-in after a clearance kick had been charged down, and captain Lee Millar added the conversion. 

With a tricky wind at their backs, the Bears steadily came back into the game, and nearly scored a try of their own from a charge-down and a breakaway only for Craig Keddie to be stopped short of the line. Watsonians offended at the breakdown, however, and scrum-half Kyle McGhie opened his team’s account with the penalty.

Watsonians dominated for a long stretch midway through the half, and twice had to settle for successful Millar penalties after coming close to crossing the line. At 13-3 down, Boroughmuir looked like they would have to get the next score to stay in the contest, and they did with a try from left-winger Glen Faulds off a straightforward move from a midfield scrum. The Bears had actually been retreating on their own put-in, but managed to cut the ball back and send it down the line.

McGhie’s conversion was the last score of the half, although the home team had a kickable penalty a couple of minutes from the break. Given how well their line-out maul had been going, they kicked to touch instead of going for goal, but they were held up by a well-organised Bears defence.   

Watsonians may well have thought they should have taken a bigger lead into the break, and they responded by getting the first score of the second half, Harrison Courtney finishing off from a close range following a line-out maul after a penalty had been sent to touch. Millar missed the conversion attempt in worsening conditions.

Glasgow Warriors pros Mesu Dolokoto and Charlie Capps came off the bench to stiffen the Boroughmuir scrum Boroughmuir with just under half an hour to play, but before they had the chance to make an impact another Millar penalty stretched the home team’s lead  to 21-10. The stand-off might soon have had another from right in front of the posts after the Bears had strayed offside, but Watsonians opted for the scrum instead and made a guddle of it.

Having been been penned inside their own half for almost all of the third quarter, Boroughmuir needed to find a spark of inspiration if they were to get back into the game. Given the wind was against them, they understandably tried to run their way out of defence, but literally made heavy weather of it on several occasions, notably when they had an overlap on the right but messed it up with a forward pass.

A try then might just have brought the Bears back into the game, but that turned out to be their last real chance, and Watsonians rounded off the win with a late try from replacement hooker Campbell Wilson following a lineout maul.

“They managed the territory better,” Boroughmuir coach Graham Shiel accepted. “We had some good attacking play, but it’s very difficult when you’re 75, 80 metres out to attack and score from there.

“When we create opportunities we take them well, so it’s hard to be critical, and conditions were really difficult today. However, Watsonians managed the conditions better.”

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Teams –

Watsonians: J Forbes; K McGovern, D Innes, J Reynolds, A Guthrie; L Millar (captain), R Frostwick; H Courtney, C Davies, N Borel, B Leitch, J Hodgson, M Badenhorst, C Boyle, M Inness. Subs: C Wilson, F Hobbis, J Gibson, F Simpson, M Kunavula, A Harris, L Berg, A Chalmers.

Boroughmuir Bears: M Cimprich; C Gray, A Russell, G Cannie, G Faulds; C Laidlaw (captain), K McGhie;  A McWilliam, G Shannon, D Winning, D Medjebeur, C Atkinson, C Keddie, S McGinley, T Drennan. Subs: M Dolokoto, C Capps, M McGinley, E Stewart, A Mncube, T Wilson, R Arthur, J Steele.

Referee: D Sutherland.

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Inness, Courtney, Wilson. Cons: Millar 2. Pens: Millar 3.

Boroughmuir: Try: Faulds. Con: McGhie. Pen: McGhie.

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-3; 10-3; 13-3; 13-8; 13-10 (h-t) 18-10; 21-10; 26-10; 28-10.

 

Man of the match: Openside Connor Boyle was the pick of a dominant Watsonians pack.

Talking point: The Bears failed to get the measure of the Watsonians set-piece and were second best by some way at both scrum and lineout. Will they be able to work out how to get on terms in time for next week’s rematch?

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About Stuart Bathgate 1428 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.