Watsonians coach plays down team’s play-off chances

James Miller, left, and Gregor Nelson celebrate at full-time - the result was hard fought
James Miller, left, and Gregor Nelson celebrate at full-time - the result was hard fought
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Watsonians coach Steve Lawrie insists he is looking no further than Saturday’s trip to face Stirling County after his team maintained their upward trajectory in the BT Premiership with an impressive 45-31 win over Currie Chieftains at Myreside.

The result moves Sonians closer to the top four, but Lawrie, pictured, has played down the chances of featuring in the play-offs, a task not helped by a heavy tally of walking wounded.

Deflecting attention from the possibility of challenging for the top four, Lawrie was adamant that the only thought on his mind will be Saturday’s trip to face the side Sonians have now displaced in sixth spot.

“We just need to work really hard,” he said. “We’ve got a massive game against Stirling.”

And he admitted that he may be without key men after the physical nature of Saturday’s contest left several of his men nursing injuries – a particular concern being at hooker where both Ross Graham and Sean Crombie were among the victims. “We had a heavy toll,” he added. “Training will certainly not be full on this week, that’s for sure. I said at half-time that we just had to adapt and problem solve. The boys did really well and dug in.”

His Chieftains counterpart Ben Cairns is also now thinking about the next assignment, a home clash with Boroughmuir, as he bids to get his side back to winning ways, having now slipped to fourth in the table.

“We have just dipped a little bit recently so we need to get our performance levels back up for that one,” he said. “It is tough when the season gets bitty but it is the same for every team.”

The hosts made an early statement of intent with tries by Ewan Fox and Michael Allen, both converted by Andrew Chalmers, who then departed injured.

Michael Vernel touched down for Chieftains and Jamie Forbes converted but, before the interval, Sonians had claimed further scores by Ross Graham and Fox, both converted by Ali Harris who also booted a penalty for a 31-17 lead – Rhys Davies touching down and Forbes kicking the other points.

Chieftains flanker Thomas Gordon touched down for the first points of the second period and Forbes added the extras before the hosts pulled clear with seven pointers from Willie Thomson and Rory Hutton.

And despite having failed to hit the highs of earlier in the season, the visitors earned some reward for their contribution to the contest when Ruaraidh Smith sprinted in from long range for the tenth touchdown of the match to secure a four-try bonus.

Across Colinton Road, Boroughmuir gave unbeaten pacesetters Melrose a run for their money. However, the Meggetland men were again guilty of producing their best rugby in patches and left their second-half flourish too late to take more than a single point from a 42-33 defeat. Muir were in trouble from the outset and conceded 20 unanswered points before Callum Atkinson bagged a converted try to limit the damage to a 20-7 deficit at the break.

The Borderers continued to add to their tally while Craig Keddie and Jordan Edmunds had a touchdown apiece for the Capital side before Melrose stepped on the gas to build a 42-19 lead and make the game safe. However, Euan McKirdy grabbed the bonus-point score and Mark Hare touched down for a consolation fifth try.

Elsewhere, Heriot’s moved up to third place with a five-point haul from a hard fought 33-10 win at home to Marr. The sides reached half time locked at 7-7, with the Goldenacre men’s points coming from a converted Jack Turley try. Heriot’s fell behind to a Marr penalty before taking control. Michael Liness claimed a double and there was one try apiece for Struan Cessford and Stewart Mustard to keep Phil Smith’s side on track for a top-four finish.