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Watsonians :26 - Currie : 18
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 24.9.16

Watsonians FC 26 pts (t 2, c 2, pg 4) v Currie 18 pts (t 2, c 1, pg 2)

This was an exciting, evenly balanced, end-to-end encounter, but luck, a gusty swirling wind and a more street-wise Myreside team edged Currie’s battling performance for the win. The despondent visitors were even dispatched without the losing bonus point which they surely deserved for all their efforts.

The intermittent light rain threatened to spoil the afternoon’s entertainment, but in fact this and the wind added to the drama and excitement as the ball frequently whizzed beyond its intended target to cause mayhem in both camps. Watsonians used the wind to advantage and kicked high for territory to put Currie under pressure. Currie’s reliable and confident fullback, Harvey Elms superbly gathered a high-hanging kick 10 metres from his 22 and set off on a mazy run that left the opposition scattered like autumn leaves. His superb solo try was not converted, but it settled the visitors who were gaining plenty of possession and playing good adventurous attacking rugby, although they were meeting a stout defence when in the opposition 22. An unfortunate turnover on halfway saw ‘Sonians muscle their way to Currie’s 5 metre line; the visitors were penalised for holding on and Joe Helps got the Myreside team on to the score board.

A mix up at the re-start immediately put the visitors under pressure again. If it were not for some textbook tackling by Jamie Forbes and Cammy Gray, ‘Sonians would have been in. Currie managed to reorganise and a few minutes later they were threatening at the other end. This followed a dashing 20 metre break from Charlie Shiel, the result of which was a well-taken penalty goal from the boot of Jamie Forbes. Although the ‘Sonians penalty count was rising, it was Currie who unfortunately infringed in kickable positions. Joe Helps confidently stroked two more penalty goals, one of which was a tremendous long range effort, to give his team a slender lead at the break.
Halftime score – Watsonians 9 pts, Currie 8 pts
Now with the wind to assist them, Currie should be able to make positive inroads and keep their hosts pinned down. Almost immediately that belief was blown away as the ball sailed beyond its intended destination and the meaty, more experienced ‘Sonians pack began to disrupt the visitors’ scrum and lineout. Whenever the ball was on the ground the home team piled in to cause problems. One mistake led to another, and in a couple of moves, involving backs and forwards the Currie line was under threat. The hosts had their tails up and following a period of close-quarter softening up, prop Martin Christie crashed over; Joe Helps converted.

Two minutes later it was Currie’s turn to cash in on a dishevelled-looking ‘Sonians defence; Harvey Elms took a well-timed pass from Robbie Nelson and his angled 25 metre run finished under the posts; Jamie Forbes converted. Watsonians now played to their strength in the dark arts of the scrum and when the ball was on the ground. After several scrum infringements and a warning to both teams, Currie received a yellow card. Joe Helps extended ‘Sonians lead with a penalty. The hosts were lucky not to have a card themselves after Currie had battled into their 22. Eventually Jamie Forbes kicked the penalty that left one point between the teams with ten minutes to go. It was exciting high tension stuff as play moved from end to end, but ‘Sonians seemed to have more luck than the visitors whenever they were near the line. Once again the heavier ‘Sonians pack went through the phases before Euan McKirdy nipped over for the try; Joe Helps had a simple conversion.

For the remaining minutes Currie kept the ball in the ‘Sonians 22, but a defiant defence, and at times, some suspicious-looking ground-work, kept the desperate attackers out. The referee was fair in his allocation of extra time, however, it was still insufficient for the visitors to produce that little bit of luck and magic that could conjure a win or even a losing bonus point. The only consolation was that Harvey Elms was praised for his man-of-the-match performance. Others notable Currie performances came from Gary Temple and Steven Ainslie who worked tirelessly in the engine room, and both flank forwards, Rhys Davies and Thomas Gordon. We are at Malleny Park again next weekend, 1st October; why not come to the Magic Lunch in the clubhouse at 1.30pm before the match against League Champions - Heriots.
IJS, 24.9.16

Updated 24/09/2016 by Ian Gidney