1st XV vs Watsonians: Match Report
So that they can wait to have children, female employees of Apple and Facebook can now have their eggs harvested and frozen at their employer’s expense. Oocyte cryopreservation, it is called. Perhaps, in a similar vein, Nick McCashin could be persuaded to preserve some of his (ahem) DNA in order to provide a steady supply of stand-offs for his adopted club and adopted country. Let’s call it a ‘project’.
Nick certainly did his best to keep Stewart’s Melville in the game, but, although we ended the game on top (trying for another last minute winner), it was, in truth, too little too late.
The game was played under lights and the unfamiliarity of the conditions could be blamed for one or two uncharacteristic handling errors under the high ball. Watsonians got the scoreboard ticking over with a converted try from Christie before the ‘clubhouse curry’ brigade had taken their place in an enthusiastic crowd.
Back came Stewart’s Melville, recovering from the early reverse, and, after Nick McCashin had made a half-break in the Watsonians 22, Mike Hanning appeared on his shoulder and ran a good angle to touch down. McCashin converted.
It was all Stewart’s Melville at this stage and Fraser Morrison, standing on the wing, was the final cog in a neat backs handling move. Fraser revealed a nice turn of pace and strength to score in the corner, making it a Royal High double for the Stewart’s Melville try-scorers. Nick again converted, and, later in the half, added a penalty.
At this stage, if we could have manufactured another try, as our play merited, it would have been game over for Watsonians – and, in retrospect, this was our best chance of victory on the night. Some of the rugby we played in that first half was sublime, with McCashin involving Rennie and Hanning as strike runners in the backs.
Watsonians, with youngsters Christie, Kerr and Miller combining with ex-pros Simon Taylor and Jonny Baird in the forwards, are a bit of a force, and, with a strengthening wind at their backs, pressure led to scores. Lindsay and Howie did their best to stem the tide, as did Callum Hunter-Hill, who seems to be growing and filling out every week.
Scores then followed for McKean and Steele, and two penalties meant Watsonians had stormed into a 23-17 lead on the hour mark. Nick McCashin, ignoring (as Bill McLaren would have said) ‘some ill-natured booing’, narrowed the gap to three points on a rare foray to enemy lines, but Brian Walls again demonstrated his kicking ability by sitting back in the pocket and slotting a neat drop goal.
The last few minutes and injury time belonged to Stewart’s Melville, but, thanks to Walls’ drop goal, a goal rather than converting a penalty was required. McCashin teased and threatened in midfield but could not find a way of releasing our eager wingers.
Disappointing, then, but, in the last few years, we have improved in the second half of the season as the coaches’ work with our enthusiastic young rugby players bears fruit. All our matches against higher placed sides have been close. We are still in fourth position and could still be involved at ‘the business end of the season’.
Watsonians deserved their victory on the night – but, on a different night, who knows?
Next week we are in Cup action, with Boroughmuir the visitors to Inverleith, and a good chance to test ourselves against Premiership opposition.