Who can stop Watsonians? This was a fourth win in four starts for the Super6 leaders, and one which never looked like getting away from them even though they were only three points in front at the break.
They had the better of the Bears in the set-piece, scored three tries and might have had a couple more, and put in some hugely effective defensive sets to deny the visitors a score after the break.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the victory, however, was the fact it differed from those previous three wins, in all of which Watsonians had to stage second-half recoveries after being behind at half-time. This result was based on more solid virtues, even if the dire weather ensured there were also mistakes aplenty from both sides.
“In the first half we played really well into the wind,” Watsonians coach Fergus Pringle said. “I thought our scrum worked well. It wasn’t the perfect performance, and at times we tried to force the extra pass, which let them off the hook.
“But Boroughmuir are a good side and they stay in the fight. We’ve got plenty to work on and it will be a different story next week when we head across the road to Meggetland.”
Pringle’s cautionary words were more than lip service, because even at 21-10 down with time running out, the Bears mounted an attack which but for a forward pass would have produced a score that might have thrown the game back into the melting pot. But if they are to win the rematch, Boroughmuir, who have fallen from third to fifth as a result of this loss, will need to work out how to compete more effectively in the scrum and lineout.
“They managed the territory better,” was the verdict of Boroughmuir coach Graham Shiel. “We had some good attacking play, but it’s very difficult when you’re 75, 80 metres out to attack and score from there.
“When we create opportunities we take them well, so it’s hard to be critical, and conditions were really difficult today. However, Watsonians managed the conditions better.”
Home No 8 Morgan Inness opened the scoring from a few metres out after a clearance kick had been charged down, and stand-off Lee Millar added the conversion. The Bears then nearly scored a try of their own from a charge-down and breakaway only for Craig Keddie to be stopped short of the line. They did win a penalty, however, which allowed scrum-half Kyle McGhie to open their account.
Watsonians added two penalties to their tally during a long spell of territorial dominance, but the Bears had the last word in the half with a try by left-winger Glen Faulds, converted by McGhie.
A three-point lead at the break did not reflect Watsonians’ dominance accurately, and they set about putting the picture straight in the third quarter. Prop Harrison Courtney finished off a lineout maul from close range, and although Millar missed the conversion attempt he soon added a penalty to make it 21-10.
Boroughmuir kept plugging away, but it was the home team who had the last word with substitute Campbell Wilson claiming their third try, again from a lineout maul, with Millar converting this time to round off a convincing if unspectacular win.