GEORGE Watson’s College are assured of an exciting two years ahead after winning the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-16 Cup with a comprehensive six-try win over Dollar Academy at Murrayfield on Saturday to atone for disappointments at this level in recent seasons.
Of their six touchdowns, three were claimed by winger Ben Robbins who, despite having just turned 15, is a powerfully-built player with pace to match, and who made try-scoring look easy.
Robbins was awarded man-of-the-match but he would be the first to acknowledge that he benefited from quality ball provided by the inside backs, as Watson’s coach Ian Brown confirmed. “One of our game plans was to go on the inside channel and then create space out wide. Dollar defended it well in the second half but in the first-half when it worked it was really good,” said Brown.
“I thought our back row were outstanding. We contested everything in the contact area and created the basis of victory by half-time. Dollar came back in the second-half and really worked us hard.”
Impressive for Watson’s in the back row was 6ft 3in skipper Ally Millar, who modestly but not inaccurately attributed much of his side’s success to the boys in front. “The front five were really good. Dollar had nothing on us,” said Millar, whose back-row cohorts, Gordon Rostron and Jake Kerr, also contributed massively.
Another to catch the eye was Watson’s centre Adam Hastings, who shoulders well the inevitable expectations of being the son of Gavin. Aside from distributing well, Hastings, who is a young under-16 player and has also excelled at soccer, showed good goal-kicking skills, putting over four conversions, one from the touchline.
For Dollar, who were hit hard in the first half by Watson’s accurate rugby, scrum-half Jacob Adamson looks a feisty and skilful competitor and there were good performances from hooker Danny Dineen, who carried ball well, and full-back Sam McDougal, the latter putting in several try-saving tackles and coming frustratingly close to scoring a first-half try for his side.
Watson’s effectively had the game won by half-time when they led 26-0 with two tries from Robbins, one from prop Dougald Berezford, and another from centre Fraser McMillan, Hastings converting three of the touchdowns.
When Robbins completed his hat-trick just after the break it seemed all over for Dollar. But the Clackmannanshire school showed real courage and determination in fighting back and came desperately close to scoring from a series of forward drives near the try line, thwarted only by excellent Watson’s defence. Having fended off the Dollar challenge in the second-half, Watson’s returned to attacking mode, finishing off with a try from their skilful stand-off Calum Young and the conversion by Hastings.
Scorers: George Watson’s College: Tries Robbins (3), Berezford, F McMillan. Cons: Hastings (4).
Dollar Academy U16s: S McDougal; B Dickson, L Hetman, J McAloon, J George; G Haldane, J Adamson; C Grounds, D Dineen, M Semple, C Thomson, H Waterston, B Ward, A Crawford, C Sreenan. Subs used: N Ivatt, O Page, G Pierpoint, L Gilbride, C Dunn, C Adam.
George Watson’s College U16s: J Cousin; C McMillan, F McMillan, A Hastings, B Robbins; C Young, C Ladd; E Irvine, C Davidson, D Berezford, A Coull, M Miller, R Rostron, J Kerr, A Miller. Subs used: S McIntosh, J Kidd, F Wood, A Muir, M Traynor-Moss, R Lind, A Dowd.
Referee: D Shaw