Watsonians grind out victory to close in on semi-finals

Watsonians' Rory Drummond is tackled by Muir's Matt Walker
Watsonians' Rory Drummond is tackled by Muir's Matt Walker
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Watsonians skipper Craig Borthwick believes the Myreside men have learned useful lessons from hard-earned back-to-back wins over Boroughmuir in the cup and league.

Having surrendered a lead the previous week before snatching a late victory, Sonians did the reverse on Saturday, coming from behind to post a 24-18 win at Meggetland and move closer to a play-off semi-final that is not yet guaranteed but looks increasingly likely.

The hosts led 15-0 at half-time after a dominant first-half showing that yielded tries for Grant McConnell and Greg Cannie, plus a conversion and a penalty by Chris Laidlaw.

Having been outplayed in the opening 40 minutes, Sonians gradually clawed their way back into the game with a score from strong-running flanker Rory Drummond, converted by Ali Harris who also added the extras after Gregor Nelson touched down to cut the deficit to a single point.

Laidlaw and Harris exchanged penalties before the visitors snatched the victory when Michael Fedo crossed the whitewash and Harris converted.

“It wasn’t good enough first half but we’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last couple of games,” said Borthwick. “Being able to grind something out like that second half is something that will stand us in good stead for the semi-finals if we are there.”

The narrow-defeat bonus point could be vital for Muir, whose fate is within their control as they have a game in hand.

Of the task that lies ahead, coach Peter Wright said: “If we play like we did in the first half I have no worries, but we need to get an 80-minute performance and the problem we’ve had all season is that we don’t do 
80-minute performances.”

The result means that Watsonians lie third in the table, two points adrift of Currie Chieftains who missed out on the opportunity to cement a home play-off berth although the bonus point they took from a 
24-20 loss at home to basement side Marr guarantees a top-four finish.

Charlie Shiel registered a try, conversion and penalty as Chieftains reached the break 24-10 in arrears, and their fightback produced touchdowns for Stephen Ainslie and Robbie Nelson but the effort ultimately fell short.

Heriot’s lost 24-17 at Melrose but a last-minute penalty from Ross Jones, added to tries by Martin Bouab and Jack McLean and a Jones conversion, means that Heriot’s can still secure a top-four finish.