Watsonians 15 Selkirk 18

Watsonians Meet Their Waterloo 18-15

Sheer delight on the faces of the Selkirk players as they cling on to win at Myreside. Photos Grant Kinghorn (Website)

Despite the threatening skies the Myreside pitch had stood up well to the earlier torrential downpours and the scene was set for an almighty tussle. Selkirk knew that they were going to have to smarten up their performance from the previous week where the 21-21 draw with Kelso had dented their RBS National League aspirations. Watsonians on the other hand, lying in second position behind Boroughmuir, were looking to capitalise on this home fixture to strengthen their challenge.
The visitors looked the livelier in the opening exchanges and they took a deserved lead after only five minutes when Scott Hendrie, deputising for the injured Josh Welsh with kicking duties, converted a relatively straight forward penalty. The Souters were setting up some good phases and early examples of the pace and skills from the back division were promising omens. Harkness, Craig, Kibble and Clapperton all showed potential. Tricky conditions led to mistakes being made by both sides but commitment levels were 100%. Watsons were winning quality ball at the lineouts giving their well drilled pack good opportunities to drive forward. However, Selkirk did not panic and worked their way back into opposition territory where an offside decision against the home team gave Hendrie his second successful penalty of the afternoon. This simply stirred Watsons into action and they proceeded to spread the ball wide at every opportunity. Selkirk defended well but eventually pressure told as the cover was stretched allowing winger Ramsay Young to scamper over for the first try of the game. The conversion drifted wide but Watsons were soon creating pressure again with wily scrum half Matt Page showing up well. They should have added to the try count but the ball was knocked forward in the act of scoring. With half time approaching Selkirk extended their lead with a peculiar turn of events. An innocuous kick toward touch was deflected back into play by a defender who was determined to prevent the ball from going dead. That proved to be a poor option as the ball was parried back into the path of the alert Scott Hendrie who then showed footballing skills and a turn of pace to win the race for the touchdown. On the stroke of half time a Selkirk lineout ten yards out from the Watsons’ line looked set for a catch and drive. However, Angus Duckett broke to the blind side and released a scoring offload to hooker James Bett. Hendrie’s touchline conversion stretched Selkirk’s lead to 18-5 at the interval. This element of surprise caught the home team unawares.
The second half saw a resurgent Watsonians pounding the Selkirk defences. Territorial advantage remained throughout the remaining period and Selkirk knew that they were in for a torrid time. A Watsons penalty saw Chris Abram reduce the deficit to ten points and constant pressure was brought to bear. A Ben Di Rollo try under the posts was easily converted on the one hour mark and with the score sitting at 18-15 in Selkirk’s favour it looked like a racing certainty that the Souter’s defence would eventually buckle in the final quarter. However, that was not to be as the entire team put bodies on the line time after time to protect their narrow lead. Angus Duckett put in another big shift and Ewen MacDougall’s defensive chores were immense. Prop Cata Graur and indeed the complete pack contributed to the cause. The final ten minutes were nerve wracking for the Selkirk supporters as Watsons threw the kitchen sink at their opponents. On at least three occasions the ball was held up over the line and Selkirk dug deep as injury time dragged on. Cammy Rudkin’s final whistle was a merciful release for players and supporters alike. This result puts the Souters back in the mix in the National League and only four points now separate Stewarts Melville in second place and Dundee in fifth. If this was Watsonians meeting their Waterloo at 18-15, then the Selkirk squad will be hired as extras for their defensive expertise if there is ever a film made on the “Siege of Mafeking” in the future.