A large, expectant, crowd gathered on Saturday at Edinburgh Academy’s ground to watch the U18 rugby semi-final match between The Academy and Watson’s.
The crowd was not disappointed, despite the conditions not being conducive to an open and expansive game. Two good teams, evenly matched on balance across the whole game, exchanged the lead on several occasions with Edinburgh Academy coming out on top 19-15.
Watson’s took the lead, early in the first half with a well taken try under the posts by Scott Mullins which he then converted. Soon after, he kicked a penalty and Watson’s hopes were high, with a 10 point lead. However, sustained pressure from The Academy saw a number of incisive breaks through the Watson’s line which required excellent last minute defence to keep the opposition out. Nevertheless, towards half time the pressure told and The Academy replied in kind with a converted try and penalty.
And so to the second half, all-square. More pressure by The Academy saw them kick a penalty to take the lead. This spurred Watson’s on, and a fine break up the right hand touchline resulted in a ruck and space on the left for a cross field kick to be caught to go over for an unconverted try. Watson’s were now 2 points up. The kicking duel, a feature throughout the game, continued with The Academy getting the better of the exchange and gaining two further penalties. There was a valiant late flourish by Watson’s, desperate to get the winning try, but the Academy held on to gain the victory.
Once again, parents and rugby fans were treated to an excellent game, played in a very good spirit – a tribute to both teams, their coaches and the two schools. The Watson’s players played with enormous heart and did not let themselves down. All of us in support were very proud of them, their determination and sportsmanship.
Although disappointed not to be a representative school at Murrayfield for the finals, I wish the remaining schools good fortune for what is becoming a major event in the Scottish rugby calendar.