Boroughmuir coach Bruce Aitchison has dedicated his side’s latest rugby win to the 18 month old son of assistant coach, Ben Fisher.
A 13-6 victory at Watsonians means that Boroughmuir now go into Saturday’s re-arranged home clash with Selkirk knowing that another victory would mean returning to the Premiership as National League champions.
But in a match where centre Alex Cox scored the only try on an interception from halfway just before the interval, inspiration came from an unexpected source, according to Aitchison. “Wee Matthew was in hospital for an operation 24 hours before this game and, understandably, Ben wasn’t himself in the build up. It is a family feeling at our club and that win was for Matthew who came through the op well.
“Fish has been doing a lot of thinking and spoke to the team beforehand about how emotions can get the better of you. He has put such a lot into the Boroughmuir jersey both as a player and a coach that we really wanted to do something for him and Matthew.”
What also counted heavily was an ability to study weather forecasts.
A dour match in which mistakes were frequent due to the biting cold and occasional driving rain culminated in something approaching a tempest sufficiently wild to almost foreclose proceedings early and necessitate a replay.
“We knew that weather was coming which is why we opted to play into the wind first half,” said Aithison. “We wanted to have the storm behind us rather than in front of us. Considering the conditions it was an achievement to turn round 7-6 in front and although some people might have thought Alex Cox was offside when he made the interception he was bang on the line.
“I’ve seen him intercept before when pressing up and on this occasion he timed the run to perfection.”
Actually there appeared a reluctance on behalf of Watsonians to switch on their floodlighting amidst some later murmurings about a protest concerning the folly of a guideline from the SRU to move straight from 2pm to 3pm kick-offs at this stage of the winter.
When the lights eventually came on to pierce Stygian gloom it was to invigorate proceedings – or so it seemed – but by this stage Watsonians were paying a price for trying to play too much through their pack or midfield and not hoof possession downfield.
“The line-out was difficult because Watsonians had worked out our calls,” said Aitchison, adding: “However, we scrimmaged well and the breakdown was immense once we got a bit lower giving us a chance to come on to the ball.
“To create go-forward in those conditions, which we did, was difficult but summed up our work-rate while defence and discipline since managing to beat Watsonians with only 14 players on the pitch earlier in the season has improved enormously.
“Dave Reekie had a good game with the boot, Adam Best was immense and what team wouldn’t want to have Andy Rose? As for Greig Scott he was again magnificent – as he has been all year.”
One of the few line-breaks throughout was created by Watsonian centre Ben Di Rollo and when John Leiataua came off the bench he provided the most valuable home support. But the standout figures overall were Boroughmuir pair Craig Marshall and Cal Davies.
The latter was all bustling energy and aggression from hooker while Marshall, at full back, provided security befitting someone with cricketer’s hands and plenty of covering besides slotting a penalty in between two successful kicks by Reekie.
Watsonian points came from two first-half penalties by Mike Ker, the second a beauty from far out, to open up a 6-0 lead and who knows how valuable a losing bonus point will be? Lying second 11 points behind Boroughmuir they have a single point lead over Stewart’s Melville whom they are due to host at Myreside on March 22. That could turn out to be a winner-take-all encounter for the play-off spot against the second bottom Premiership side.
Watsonians: Penalties: Ker (2).
Boroughmuir: Try: Cox. Conversion: Reekie. Penalty: Marshall.
Watsonians: A Ledingham, J Ferguson, B Di Rollo (captain), R Aitken, R Steele, M Ker, M Page, M Christie, M Brierley, J Forrester, C Smith, M Rennie, J Jones, N Dennis, E Millar. Subs: A Ross, T Gracie, J Leiataua, C Scott, R Young.
Boroughmuir: C Marshall, R Bradford, A Cox, S Wilson, J Edmunds, D Reekie, J Adams, R Wilson, C Davies, J Latta, A Best, G Scott, J Hare, I Moody, A Rose (captain). Subs: R Mackenzie, S Laird, T Sutton, W Kay, S Johnson.
Referee: D Shaw.