In sporting parlance, I was devastated – or should it be gutted?! In a highly entertaining contest (much better than anything else seen this weekend!) the DSMC 1st XV came within a whisker of halting the Watson’s juggernaught in the semi-final of the Schools Cup on Saturday (17th November) at Inverleith.
In front of a large crowd, and with the Myreside men leading by 6 points in the last few minutes, our boys launched a number of concerted attacks, and twice I thought we had scored – only for a desperate defence to scramble the ball to safety. The final whistle went and Watson’s had hung on to progress to the last stage. Congratulations to them and their coaches Ally Donaldson and Andy Barrett. They are a good team and I am sure that it will be a cracking final when they play Merchiston (who beat Dundee H.S. 33-0 in the other semi) at Murrayfield on Thursday 29th November at 19.45.
Our boys deserve tremendous credit for their performance in a match which was a contrast of styles – the narrower Watson’s power game against the width of the more expansive Stew Mel approach. It is not my role to give a match report, but I am going to allow myself (surprise, surprise!) a few observations. SMC defended with great resolve and tenacity, won a decent amount of possession (despite our ball being slowed in the ruck situation) and showed the ability to attack with real purpose. The scrum held solid, and, after a shaky start, the lineout became a profitable source of ball.
Having seen the first Watson’s game at the beginning of the season, I know how hard the players and coaches (Bryn Lockie and Jimmy Moran) have worked to develop individual and team performance. I hope that the boys can take real confidence from this game and set themselves the realistic target of remaining unbeaten for the rest of the season.
Finally, two points. A thank you to the supporters – as far as I could see and hear it was a sporting contest both on and off the field – and the boys appreciated the support from the F.P. Club and the fact that the 1st XV watched them before going to undertake their training session.
In the Under 16 semi-finals, Strathallan beat Watson’s and Merchiston beat Edinburgh Academy. This means that Merchiston will contest both finals. The debate still goes on about age cut-off limits, scholarships and overseas exchanges, but, as yet, nothing has been resolved. We shall see where the SRU goes next!
Next Saturday, the school’s main run of fixtures is against Glasgow Academy and Bell Baxter High School. The 1st XV are away in Glasgow (10.30 kick off) but the 2nd and 4th XVs (10.30), B1 and B3 XVs (10.30), D1 and D3 teams (9.30) and the JA1, JA2 and JA3 teams (9.30) are all at home. Why not come and watch? The standard is high.
As far as I can see there are no F.P. fixtures as the Boroughmuir game scheduled for the 1st XV has been postponed until a later date – thanks for the information, Bill.
Also, thanks to Stu Shaw who has explained why there is no Edinburgh 1st team in the Scottish University leagues. Apparently, they won the top division a couple of seasons ago, and, as a result, took up the opportunity to play in leagues down South. A little research and I find that they are in the Premier North B league which contains the 2nd XVs of Loughborough, Durham and Nottingham Trent and the 1st XVs of Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield Hallam and Nottingham Trent. In their last match they lost 15-21 to Nottingham Trent 1st XV and currently they lie 4th in the league.
In the British Universities College and Sports Leagues, the one result was:
Dundee 1 17 – 30 Stirling 1
In the Scottish Conference Cup Pools, the results were:
Glasgow 1 w/o Scottish Agricultural College
Robert Gordon’s 1 w/o Dundee 3
Abertay 1 86 – 0 Strathclyde 2
Aberdeen 3 19 – 6 Heriot Watt 2
Aberdeen 2 110 – 0 West of Scotland 1
St Andrews 2 33 – 0 Abertay 2
In Caledonia Division 1, St Andrews were beaten by Orkney 25-31, while, in Division 2, Aberdeen beat Banff 15-32.
There is little to say about the Murrayfield match other than that it is disappointing times for Scotland. I was also surprised by the lack of ambition displayed by South Africa. Their power and physicality is impressive – but surely there is more to the game? All Black and Wallaby rugby appears to be some way ahead of all other teams in terms of inventiveness and execution. The Autumn series has interrupted Scottish Club rugby but I hope that players will come back refreshed and in numbers when the season starts up again.
Certainly, I hope that Stew Mel return to putting out 3 sides again!