Rising Boroughmuir rugby star Jordan Edmunds believes the National League leaders found inspiration for an injury-time 32-25 win from their Watsonian opponents’ apparent eagerness to settle for a draw minutes earlier.
With the end of a fierce, compelling and skilful Capital derby looming, Boroughmuir, down to 14 men with the sin-binning of second row Greig Scott, were penalised in front of their own posts. Up stepped goal-kicker Mike Ker to equalise at 25-25 and for many that would have been a fair outcome.
But Boroughmuir had other ideas according to winger Edmunds, named 24 hours earlier in the latest Scotland Under-20 training squad along with club-mates Ed Farquharson and Angus Wallace.
“We took encouragement when they decided against opting for a scrum or setting up a line-out to attack from because, for us, that meant they didn’t want to win as much as we did.
“That was shown when we eventually scored the winning try because the celebrations were enormous. We knew we could score again, even with 14 men, because we had done it twice just after the interval (when Joni Hare was sin-binned). It was about keeping cool heads because the belief was certainly there.”
Such assurance was justified with substitute centre Stevie Wilson battling over in the concluding play for David Reekie to convert. However, ’Muir’s interpretation of the decisive moment was challenged by Watsonian skipper, Mike Ker.
He said: “It wasn’t so much a case of settling for the draw as believing the four or so minutes that were left could give us a chance to gain a win while at least taking something from what was a superb match to play in.
“Our aim was to regain possession from the re-start, get down into Boroughmuir’s half, and hopefully pressurise them into conceding a turn over.”
In fact, not for the first time Italian exchange referee Emanuele Tomo was then to leave players looking bemused.
Ker claimed: “At the ruck which gave Boroughmuir the scrum from which they scored the winning try the referee never said to us we had to play the ball or lose possession.
“When we asked him about it he said he’d tell us next time but that was too late for us.”
Ker is still seeking victory in a match which carries the Allan McNish Memorial Trophy having been at Currie for a couple of seasons when Watsonians were the dominant force on either side of Colinton Road.
“I’m already looking forward to the return when we won’t make as many mistakes as we did to let Boroughmuir in,” he said. Such remarks struck a chord with Edmunds, a Napier University accountancy student, who said: “Taking into account the standard and the atmosphere provided by a big crowd, that was the most enjoyable of the 15 matches I have now played for Boroughmuir stepping up to the seniors last season.”
That debut season for the ex-Boroughmuir schoolboy, who cut his rugby teeth in a nine-year stint at Murrayfield Wanderers, was an individual success despite the team being relegated.
“Although I didn’t get picked by Scotland Under-20s I was called up to train with the squad. Now this is my year (age-group wise) and I’m delighted to see the club get recognition through Ed, Angus and myself for the work that is being put in at youth level.”
Undoubtedly this was a match which Boroughmuir would have found a way to lose last season. But confidence is sky high nowadays and exemplified by a touch of skill from centre Alex Cox that would have graced any international field.
It came after full back Craig Marshall had kicked into space and the ball had cork screwed back at an acute angle right on the touchline.
Cox, advancing at pace and without breaking stride, scooped the ball off his toes to give a measured scoring pass to Marshall.
“I was not surprised by Alex’s pick up,” said ’Muir coach Bruce Aitchison. “Is he any less of a player than some professionals? I’d challenge those who would say he is. Alex has all the raw materials – quick, strong and an eye for a gap.”
At 25, a club international cap must be a possibility for Cox even from out of the National League.
After David Reekie had notched a penalty and a try it was Cox’s break that led to a try by Sam Johnson for 13-0 before Ker (penalty) and Mark Rennie aroused Watsonians.
Tries by Malcolm Clapperton and Marshall put Boroughmuir in charge only for Watsonians, their pack surpassing themselves, to hit back through Ramsay Young and Scott McKean who had been the first of three players to visit the sin-bin. Ker’s boot did the rest only for this Boroughmuir side to somehow find a way to win.
Even the half-time mini rugby between the clubs was eye catchingly good!
Boroughmuir: Tries: Reekie, Johnson, Marshall, Clapperton, Wilson. Conversions: Reekie (2). Penalty: Reekie.
Watsonians: Tries: Young, McKean, Rennie. Conversions: Ker (2). Penalties: Ker (2).
Boroughmuir: C Marshall, R Cairns, A Cox, M Clapperton, J Edmunds, D Reekie, S Johnson, R Wilson, C Davies, J Latta, G Scott, T Sutton, J Hare, A Rose (Captain), N Rodger. Subs: C Taylor, A Wallace, T Docherty, M Johnstone, S Wilson.
Watsonians: R Steele, R Young, S McKean, R Aitken, J Ferguson, M Ker (Captain), M Page, M Christie, M Brierley, D Moussa, M Rennie, M Poole, N Irvine-Hess, N Dennis, E Millar. Subs: A Ross, C Smith, T Hart, B Di Rollo.
Referee: E Tomo (Italy RU).