The maroon machine of George Watson's College took on the blue crew of George Heriot's School at Myreside this evening (30 October), in the last quarter-final fixture in this season’s Brewin Dolphin under-16 Schools’ Cup.
Earlier afternoon showers matured into a full-blown squall, just as the teams ran out but nothing could dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic support, albeit sheltering in the stand.
The hosts took an early advantage as the action quickly moved, and stayed, around the Heriot’s 22. Watson’s won the first lineout which saw a well-drilled move out wide and a burst of pace to score by the posts, the conversion good to put them ahead 7-0 in just under ten minutes. The home side continued to press the Heriot’s line, with the wind well and truly behind them, as the visitors repelled everything thrown at them, making some heroic if wild tackles.
The weather saw both sides slip up – literally and figuratively – with spilled ball leading to a series of turnovers and knock-ons. A sparky break from Heriot’s flanker Steven put them into Watson’s territory for the first time after 20 minutes but mistakes were seized on and Watson’s were awarded a penalty as the first half drew to a close. It bounced back squarely off the uprights after being picked up by the wind but the hosts grabbed the rebound and crossed in the top corner, the conversion good. A further Watson’s penalty rebounded off the posts in the closing minutes to make it 14-0 at half time.
Heriot’s made the first lengthy break after the restart, with good numbers in support but again ran into a Watson’s wall and it was turnover ball as the home side raced towards the line. Heriot’s fought hard to prevent another score but eventually Watson’s found the gap and another seven points, the conversion in front of the posts good. (21-0).
Though Heriot’s threw everything they had at Watson’s, they couldn’t prevent a fourth well-worked try just minutes later, the pack pushing across the line with the conversion from out wide just scraping the right side of the posts. (28-0).
Despite the continual downpour, the Heriot’s support left the stand to edge the touchline and cheer on their side as the clock ticked down. The move seemed to buoy the boys who immediately saw more ball and advanced to the halfway line, a great kick to touch from stand-off Murphy taking them to within 10m of the Watson’s line. The hosts recovered the subsequent spilled ball, thumped it upfield and harried the line. Heriot’s battled hard, with an initial attempt held up, but Watson's subsequently crossed for a fifth score, the conversion in front of the posts making the final score 35-0.
Always on the front foot, with a comprehensive repertoire of well-drilled moves and strength in depth Watson’s move into the semi-final stage of the competition; despite the scoreline, Heriot’s should be proud of their raw determination on the night, fighting for every ball and putting in some brave tackles.
George Watson’s College 35 - 0 George Heriot's School
Tries: Eastwood (2), Evans, Tait, Stanton
Cons: Peters (5)
Earlier in the afternoon The Edinburgh Academy defeated High School of Dundee 46-0 and they join Strathallan School, St Aloysius College and George Watson’s College in the under-16 semi finals.
In the day’s other fixtures, George Watson’s College beat High School of Glasgow (50-0) and High School of Dundee defeated The Edinburgh Academy (24-10) to join Strathallan School and George Heriot’s School in the Brewin Dolphin under-18 Cup semi finals.