Watsonians extended their unbeaten start to life back in the BT Premiership when they saw off near neighbours Boroughmuir in a match that went to the wire. But the home coach Marcus Di Rollo had mixed feelings on the performance of his men, who overturned a half-time deficit, built a substantial lead, then were almost overhauled in a late fightback.
“I thought we were a bit flat. We had a poor first ten minutes and gave away a lot of penalties and went 10-0 down. We rode our luck at the end, but, overall, there was some good stuff,” he said. “It’s good to win the close ones. We got a bonus point as well.”
Watsonians struggled in the first half to cope with a Boroughmuir side intent on running the ball. The visitors deservedly led 13-7 at half-time through a try by Grant McConnell after he won a race for the line following a kick ahead from Chris Laidlaw, who added the conversion and also landed two penalties. The hosts claimed a try from Euan Dods, converted by Andrew Chalmers.
The home side restarted strongly and sought to use their forward superiority to better effect than they had managed in the first half. That tactic paid off as the pressure forced a string of offences that led to Boroughmuir having two players sin-binned while the hosts claimed three more tries through Mark Bertram, DJ Innes and Sean Kennedy, with Chalmers kicking two conversions.
Boroughmuir could have capitulated but to their credit they chased the game in the final quarter. Ross Dunbar crashed over for a try which Laidlaw converted to trim the deficit to six points. Teenage centre Ronan Kerr capped an impressive debut when he crossed the whitewash but was held up by an increasingly desperate Watsonians defence. Then, with the final play, the visitors attacked at pace and moved the ball wide to Dougie Steele, who dotted down in the corner. That left Laidlaw with an opportunity to claim the victory. The stand off, whose immaculate kicking and impressive game management had been a feature of his side’s performance, again struck the ball cleanly. However, it rattled off the inside of the far post – a miss that left Watsonians with victory number three.
“If we had won the game we would have robbed Watsonians I think,” admitted Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright. “But if we are in the game with 15 minutes to go we can hurt teams because we’ve got fitness.
“We are not as big as a lot of the teams in the league so we need to play a different brand of rugby that other teams might struggle with. When we had ball and got the tempo of the game up, Watsonians struggled. And obviously when they had the ball and played to their game plan, we struggled. We’ve got to keep working hard at the breakdown and at the scrum.”