Match 24 August 2013

On the first competitive weekend of the 2013-14 RBS National League, Watsonians took an emphatic win over rivals Peebles at Myreside. The home side fielded a few new players, one of whom, seems to have played a bit rugby in the past. Alan Jabobsen, ex-Edinburgh and Scotland, will be turning out this year in the colours of Watsonians, head coach of whom, Marcus di Rollo, is one of  Jacobsen’s former team mates at club and International level, so a wee favour, perhaps..?

Watsonians opened the scoring with an early penalty from Ben di Rollo, which was nearly followed up with a try from wing, Ewan Miller. However, as well as being forced into touch just short the referee called play back for a forward pass. Peebles were soon back level and then went into the lead with a couple of penalties of their own from full-back, Adam Clark. With just over 25 minutes on the clock, turn-over ball deep in the Watsonians half put Peebles in a good position. Fine passing saw the last ball in the hands of centre, Matt Carryer, who burst through a couple of flailing tackles to score the opening try for the visitors. A successful kick from Clark took the Borders side into a 13-3 lead.

Watsonians won a line-out a couple of plays after the restart and soon had the ball out to Miller again and this time there were no mistakes. A couple of side-steps, then Miller turned on the gas and used sheer speed to leave the Peebles defence trailing (photo right). A last desperate tackle by Peebles’ Kenny Clyde failed to prevent the score in the corner. With di Rollo scoring the conversion, it was 11-10 to Peebles with about ten minutes left in the half. Ten minutes which were dominated by Watsonians. Attacking from all angles, the home side were just stopped short under the posts and then a break up the left from Steele was again stopped just short of the line. Steele’s pass from the tackle was moved swiftly across the pitch 153237-JLP-WatsonsvPeebles-2013-0137to Miller on the other wing this time, but a try saving tackle did just that and stopped the winger inches short. Recycled ball from the ruck was passed out again and this time a whole bunch of Myreside men went over in the left corner, but the ball was deemed ‘held-up’ by the ref. From the scrum the ball was moved swiftly back across the field to the right where Steele, this time, went over – with two Peebles players in tow – to score Watsonians’ second try (photo above). di Rollo scored with a tremendous conversion attempt from the touch line and the half ended 17-13 to the home side.

The second half was dominated by Watsonians. di Rollo opened the scoring with long range penalty which bounced twice on the crossbar, before falling over for the points. In spite of a brief incursion by Peebles, and a successful penalty from Clark, Watsonians were soon back in charge and an attack down the right by Steele was snuffed out, but he then re-appeared on the left to burst through another two defenders for his second try. This time di Rollo hit the post, so the score remained at 25-16. Two penalties in quick succession from Peebles’ Clark put the visitors back to within three points, but Watsonians still held the upper hand. It was then new-boy, Alan Jacobsen’s turn in the limelight. Winning a lineout close to the Peebles’ line, the rolling maul, with Jacobsen in charge of the ball, lived up to it’s description and rolled. Rolled right up to, and over the try line. All Jacobsen had to do was fall down to score his debut try. Yet another accurate di Rollo kick saw the score out to 32-22.

With less than ten minutes to go, the visitors were steam rolled into submission by a, now, rampant home side. A try almost under the post from scrum half Matt Page, was followed in a few minutes later by Miller’s second. Substitute kicker, Mike Ker, could only score from Page’s try, but with just a few seconds left, 44-22 was to prove the final score.

The day could have been all about Alan Jacobsen. And the front row showed his class by standing firm at every scrum, forcing the opposition scrum into pivoting around him, but the overall performance was a step – or two – up from what Watsonians displayed for most of last season, so here’s hoping. Early days, though, Early days….

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