Watsonians beat Stew Mel to stay in hunt

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Watsonians coach Marcus Di Rollo praised his men for their persistence after they staged a rousing second-half fightback to post a 26-20 win over Stewart’s Melville in an entertaining Capital derby at Myreside.

The result moved Sonians into second spot in BT National League Division One ahead of today’s fixtures and keeps Di Rollo’s men in the promotion race.

‘Sonians trailed 17-7 at half time, but dominated the second period. Of the transformation, Di Rollo said: “We were falling off a few tackles in the first half. Our defensive shape was good – it was just our first up tackles that cost us tries. We were doing the right things, it was just one or two things that were letting us down.”

In the away camp, his counterpart Bruce MacNaughton said: “We had a brilliant first half and played some fantastic rugby. That was as good as we have played. In the second half we just didn’t get going until towards the end.”

Stewart’s Melville started well but fell behind when Martin Christie crashed over from close range and Brian Walls converted. However, the visitors assumed control and profited from the home side’s defensive frailties to build a half time lead.

The pace of full back Mike Hanning had already been evident and he speared through some lacklustre tackling to open his side’s account, with Nick McCashin adding the extras to square matters.

‘Sonians were also found wanting with the next attack when Ciaran Whyte sprinted over. McCashin again landed the conversion then booted a penalty to leave the visitors 17-7 ahead at the break.

The shape of the game was transformed after the restart, with ‘Sonians dominating proceedings. By the time the clock ticked past the hour mark, the hosts were six points ahead.

Scott McKean raced in for a try and Chad Northcott was on target with two penalties before Rory Steele sprinted in at the corner for an unconverted score.

On a rare visit to opposition territory, the visitors earned a penalty and the unerring boot of McCashin steered the kick between the posts to set up a tight finish. However, Walls returned from the bench to land a drop goal that sealed the victory.