George Watson’s College 47 Dollar Academy 26
George Watson’s College boy’s under-16 rugby team scored seven tries to win the National Schools Cup final at BT Murrayfield on Wednesday afternoon.
The teenagers, led by Captain Michael Connor from hooker, might have been nervous playing at the national stadium cheered on by family, friends and school mates, but they certainly did not show it.
Credit to Dollar Academy who played their part in a very entertaining match that featured 11 tries and 73 points in total, but it was Watson’s who kept cool for the whole 70 minutes to take the spoils 47-26.
“We’re delighted with the result,” Jamie Forbes, the PE teacher who coaches the group with Freddie Main, said afterwards.
“Dollar were fantastic as well and that was a really good game of rugby. We scored some good tries and I think that gave us momentum at the right times.
“One of the things we’ve been focusing on is making teams work really hard for their scores and we defended very well at times when we had to. It was a big thing for us to make them work ever so hard to earn their scores then strike ourselves when we had the opportunities as well.
“I am so pleased for the squad as this group of boys really have put in the hard work this year.”
Watson’s got off to the perfect start when they scored the opening try after just four minutes. It came thanks to a nice run by full-back Fergus Ferguson who could not be stopped. Stand-off Andrew Cameron converted.
Try number two - again converted by the accurate Cameron - came nine minutes later when a nice run and pass from Ferguson put winger Lewis White in for the score.
Any idea that the game was going to be one-sided was soon dismissed when Dollar got on the scoreboard in the 16th minute, back-row John Hulme spinning out of a tackle to score a try. Stand-off Angus Crockett converted and it was 14-7.
Back-row Harrison Wood’s try, converted by Cameron, restored Watson’s 14 point advantage before, in this end-to-end clash, Dollar’s second converted try came from Crockett just before the half hour mark.
As half-time - and the 35 minute whistle - approached Watson’s bagged a crucial fourth try just before the break.
Back-row Cameron Geddes was the scorer and although Cameron could not add the extras this time it was 26-14 heading into the second period.
Four minutes after the interval hooker Connor got in on the act with Watson’s try number five and, when Cameron converted, 33-14 was a healthy lead.
This Dollar side are tenacious though and Hulme’s second try of a fruitful day for him closed the gap to 33-19.
It really was breathless stuff out there on the pitch that Scotland normally grace and among the great work that Watson’s were putting in defensively was a great tackle by Ferguson to deny what looked a certain score.
With 12 and 10 minutes to go respectively, Watson’s scored tries number six and seven to give themselves a cushion.
They came through Connor and White, both completing their try doubles, and Cameron converted them both to make it 47-19.
Dollar never gave up and Crockett scored - and converted - the final try of a brilliant game as it came to an end at 47-26.
All-action Watson’s number seven Wood was named Player of the Match and a clutch of his team mates also played very well including Connor, Cameron and Ferguson.
However, this was not a day for individuals, but one for the squad to celebrate as a unit.
Elsewhere on a great day and evening for schoolboy rugby - with over 7,000 people in attendance across four games - Merchiston Castle School won the under-18s Cup final against Stewart’s Melville College at Murrayfield 20-7 just after the Watson’s match.
And two Shield finals took place at Edinburgh Rugby’s DAM Health Stadium nearby.
In the under-18s match, Loretto School were too strong for Queen Victoria School from Dunblane winning 43-8 triumph.
And in the under-16s match earlier in the day Queen Victoria defeated North Berwick High School 33-17.
George Watson’s College: Fergus Ferguson; Matthew Cingel, Jamie Thomson, Josh Loukes, Lewis White; Andrew Cameron, Euan Walker; David Brown, Michael Connor (C), Cole O’Reilly, Mark Fyffe, Angus Moran, Cameron Geddes, Harrison Wood, Finlay MacIntosh. Subs: Ewan Stewart, Cammy Balfour, Nick Reid, Michael McAndrew, Patrick Kneen, Duncan Maguire, Daniel McKinnon.
Dollar Academy: Frederick Disborough; George McKie, Jamie Morton, Rio Arbuckle, Tyler Hunter; Angus Crockett, Fraser Keatch; Georgios Tachtatzis, Kieran Pritchard, Rory Purvis, Harrison Staples, Ben Smallwood, John Hulme, Archie Dayman, Archie Jaffrey-Smith (C). Subs: Angus Wright, Angus Lumsden, Matthew Ross, Fraser Cadell, Stuart MacKay, Alexander Pettigrew.
George Watson’s College scorers: Tries: Ferguson, White 2, Wood, Geddes, Connor 2. Conversions: Cameron 6.
Dollar Academy scorers: Tries: Hulme 2, Crockett 2. Conversions: Crockett 3.
Player of the Match: Harrison Wood (George Watson’s College).
Referee: Grant Steven.
By Gary Heatly
Photography by Graham Gaw