1st XV vs Watsonians: Match Report
In 1950, there were 2.5 billion humans. Today there are just over 7 billion. In another 30 years, according to US Census Bureau projections, there will be more than 9 billion. It is fair to speculate that, in global terms, the number of people on this earth that could remotely care whether Stewart’s Melville or Watsonians won Saturday’s derby really is pretty small.
That does not stop Stewart’s Melville’s players, coaches and supporters from being very, very disappointed – but perhaps gives the result some perspective*.
Stewart’s Melville kicked off into the teeth of a gale, playing towards the castle, but managed to keep Watsonians in their own half for eighty percent of the half.
We had our chances. Morrell powered through the middle – only to be caught from behind by Chalmers. Rennie seemed to have run in an overlap – only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for foot in touch. McCashin looked to have nailed a penalty attempt – only for the wind to blow it back against the post (which also happened in the second half).
We had total dominance in the scrum, and, several times, looked to drive the Watsonians eight over their line – but we could not quite manage it. The wind made fluent back play impossible, but still Rennie, Hanning and Morrell made good ground whenever they were released.
It has to be said, though, that the Watsonians back-row (and Drummond, in particular) were pretty uncompromising in defence. The wind made it difficult to pass out of contact, but, really, that was what was required – to ask different questions of the defence. In desperation, the Watsonians coaches threw on Walls at scrum half from the bench with the instruction to kick for position.
The half-time score of 0-0 certainly did not reflect the preceding forty minutes, but it seemed that, with a wind that should be worth ten points, Stewart’s Melville should eventually prevail. Watsonians continued to defend well, but, eleven minutes after the restart, Howie broke from an advancing scrum and touched down to give McCashin a straightforward conversion.
Fifty five minutes of the match gone and it had been all Stewart’s Melville. Morgan had been injured and McLeod replaced him, but still we had the upper hand in the scrums. Rennie had been replaced by Whyte, who, as usual, gave a good account of himself.
With two similarly placed sides in a league table, there is going to be a period during the eighty minutes where each side has dominance, and, gradually, Watsonians started to offer in attack. Indeed Walls, with a penalty coming and overlap to the right, squeezed over a drop goal into the wind to herald the comeback.
Shortly after that Miller crashed over after good link play from Taylor, Walls converting. The last fifteen minutes were evenly contested, but Walls, with 5 minutes to go, nailed a penalty to put Watsonians in the lead. Christie and Stewart popped up to good effect for Stewart’s Melville from the bench, with Christie almost effecting a charged down try.
With time more or less up, Stewart’s Melville were awarded a penalty at the edge of Nick McCashin’s range; although the kick was wind assisted, the wind was now swirling rather than blowing straight from the south, and the strike was going to have to be perfect. Unfortunately, like our performance on the day, it dropped agonisingly short.
Nick has, over the years, been terrific for Stewart’s Melville – but the man is only human, after all.
GHA still need to go to Dundee and still have Jed-Forest (who have beaten them before) in need of points, so it is not all over yet. It has been a great season, we have played tremendous rugby – let us win our last two games and see where that takes us.
*The wider picture:
The site above provides an interesting simulation of World Births and Deaths in real time. I left it running for just 1 minute, during which time there were 265 births and 110 deaths. So that’s 4.4 births per second and 1.83 deaths. Births are running at 241% of deaths. Mind you – it is quite a big planet.