George Watson’s College won the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-16 Cup for the second time in three years at Murrayfield last night after a cracking contest against Glasgow’s St Aloysius’ College.
It was a poignant victory for the young team given that the school’s director of sport and their former coach Iain Brown had passed away in September.
After the 19-8 win, George Watson’s coach Mark Cairns said: “I take my hat off to both teams. They played well and I thought we just managed to step it up a gear when it mattered most. It has been a tough time at the school after Iain’s passing and we hope this will put smiles on a few faces.”
His opposite number Mark McKenzie said: “I am very proud of the boys. For us it was all about getting to Murrayfield and the players can hold their heads high.”
The match started well with neither sides showing signs of early nerves that can blight these occasions. However, the defences were on top for the first 15 minutes with the majority of the game being played in and around the halfway line.
After 18 minutes, following a number of good forward drives, St Aloysius’ earned a kickable penalty in front of the posts.
Stand-off Liam McHugh duly slotted it over the posts and, with the score at 3-0, the pace of things speeded up. In the 29th minute George Watson’s put a lot of pressure on their rivals’ line down the left wing and eventually St Aloysius’ captain Charlie Lonergan was yellow-carded. Straight after that Watson’s No 8 Kenneth Drummond went over for an unconverted try thanks to help from his fellow forwards. That left things well poised at half-time, with the Edinburgh school 5-3 in the lead.
In the first five minutes of the second half St Aloysius’ did well not to concede any more points when down to 14 men before Lonergan returned to the field.
And four minutes later their winger Aidan McMillan lit up the national stadium. He received a pass on the edge of his own 22 and ran 70 metres to touch down in the corner, showing great pace in doing so with no defender laying a hand on him.
In the 48th minute of the 70-minute contest George Watson’s went ahead again, a great quick tap by scrum-half Fraser Peters sparking the attack that eventually saw Drummond score his second try of the night. Peters converted and it was 12-8.
After 53 minutes there was a long stoppage while St Aloysius’ full-back Joe Skivington was treated for an injury before going off to a standing ovation. .
With six minutes to go, George Watson’s scored the clincher, stand-off Murray Scott getting the try and Peters converting.
For George Watson’s, Drummond was named man of the match, although Peters was sharp throughout the contest.
St Aloysius’ No 8 Dominic Kelly tackled superbly and scrum-half Rory McDonald gave a tidy performance in the losing cause.
Scorers: St Aloysius’ College - Try: McMillan. Pen: McHugh. George Watson’s College - Tries: Drummond 2, Scott. Cons: Peters 2.
St Aloysius’ College: J Skivington; A McCourtney, A McConnell, C Lonergan, A McMillan; L McHugh, R McDonald; M Scott, J Lamont, M Sutherland, E McCreadie, J Scott, M Hughes, D Kelly, F Curran. Subs: V Vezza, S Marchetti, C Prior, N Querns, L Nolan, C McKenzie, C Clarke.
George Watson’s College: G Tait; F Cousin, C Macdonald, O Brown, E Stanton; M Scott, F Peters; M Calder, C Harris, E Malloch, C Eastwood, R Evans, T Hay, K Drummond, G Nelson. Subs: T Hogg, T Weller, W Wright, B McLaughlin, M Kennedy, A Wood, J Davies.
Referee: D Shaw.