The Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup double was something that had eluded all. On Wednesday 27 November, in front of an audience of 5609, George Watson’s College went for the double for the third time in seven seasons – an unprecedented record – and achieved the double win!
The U16 route to the final involved wins over Fettes, George Heriot’s and Edinburgh Academy; while our U18s had won against North Berwick, High School of Glasgow and Strathallan to reach Murrayfield.
Going in as favourites, our boys were under pressure. The High School of Dundee was the first U18 team from outside the Capital in seven years to reach the final. With their school, as well as most of Tayside, behind them, they wanted to take the cup from the defending champions. At U16 level St Aloysius’ College was representing the west for the first time since 2009/10, and their supporters were out in force. But our boys also wanted to achieve this historic feat ‘for Broon’. They wore strips carrying the initials IB and the number 10 on their sleeves, out of respect for our much loved and sorely missed Director of Sport, Iain Brown, who died in September. Iain, a stand-off during his coaching days (hence the 10), had coached the U16 team at the start of the season, and had had a major influence on all the boys over the years as they had developed their rugby skills. Indeed, several U18 players had played in Mr Brown’s triumphant U16 side in 2011/12. Mark Cairns, who took over the U16 team coaching responsibilities, has been keen to “let them play as expansive a game as possible, as Iain always encouraged them to do”.
Although the final score lines of 19–8 (U16) and 31–17 (U18) suggest otherwise, both finals were hard-fought encounters, with the oppositions testing our boys’ characters until the final whistle. Ally Donaldson, coach of the U18 side, said of their match, “They showed great character and tactical awareness when, after conceeding two quick tries, they were able to control the match and not give Dundee a chance draw level. A well deserved victory in the end.”
Kenneth Drummond (S4) and Jake Kerr (S6) were awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ awards.
For several of our U18 players their win provided them with a hat trick of winner’s medals, having won at U16 and twice at U18 level. Those players were Ally Miller (captain), Ben Robbins, Fraser McMillan, Jake Kerr, Dugald Berezford, Angus Coull, and Cameron McMillan (all S6).
A feature about both finals is scheduled for half time during the Ospreys versus Glasgow match on BBC ALBA today (Friday 29 November) from 7pm. It will offer a real showcase of Scottish schools’ rugby to a wider rugby loving audience.
Both matches were preceded by the George Watson's College Pipes and Drums performing on the pitch.
Speaking of the wins, Principal Gareth Edwards said, “To achieve one victory in a final at Murrayfield is magnificent but to pull off ‘the double’, something never achieved before, is outstanding by any measure. It is testimony to the discipline, talent and commitment of the players and their coaches, and is a most fitting tribute to the inspiration and sporting culture instilled by Iain Brown over so many years. I am very proud of the boys and also of the pupils as a whole who supported them and the School at Murrayfield in a manner which showed the true character of Watson’s. A great day indeed.”