Watsonians 43-24 Ayrshire Bulls (AET) – FOSROC Super6 Final
Watsonians sealed their second trophy of the season, scoring three tries in extra time to win the 2022 FOSROC Super6 Championship 43-24 at DAM Health Stadium. An entertaining and fiercely contested match was even throughout, with both sides producing an excellent level of rugby in windy conditions in Edinburgh.
A high kick from Richie Simpson which he gathered himself on the Watsonians 22 gave the Bulls the early territory, but they were unable to take advantage despite spending much of the opening eight minutes in the Watsonians half.
It was Watsonians who were first to close, after Jason Baggott’s delicate chip over the top was gathered by Angus Guthrie, but the Bulls’ defence on their own line was solid.
In the 14th minute, Watsonians did take the lead through a penalty. The Bulls were penalised around 30 metres from their line, and from the left-hand side Jason Baggott knocked over the kick.
But Ayrshire grabbed the opening try just three minutes later. A driving maul rumbled close to the line in the left corner, and two phases later inside centre Andy Stirrat burst through a tackle and dived under the sticks.
And the Bulls had a second try in the 24th minute. After a lineout on the right, winger Aaron Tait found a lovely line to receive a short pass and cut through the defence, the ball grounded near the posts once more.
Watsonians hit back with their first try in the 31st minute. The Myreside outfit stayed patient, building up several phases inside five metres before Bobby Bratton fought his way over.
And they soon found themselves in the Bulls’ 22 again after a penalty was kicked to the corner, but the resulting maul was well dealt with by Ayrshire who won the scrum.
It was the Bulls who were last to threaten in the first half, gaining good territory from a Liam McNamara grubber kick, but much to the delight of the Edinburgh-based side Harrison Courtney turned the ball over on the floor and won a penalty.
Half time: Watsonians 10-14 Ayrshire Bulls
In the second half it was Watsonians were playing downwind, and they used that to their advantage in the 43rd minute. A hefty boot from Joe Reynolds inside his 22 made it to just short of the Bulls’ line, and Aaron Tait was dragged over the line by Angus Guthrie as he gathered it. That lead to a Watsonians scrum five metres out, but possession was coughed up and the Bulls could clear.
But it was the Millbrae outfit who got the first try of the half. Will Hunt stabbed through a kick which was gathered by Eli Caven, the left winger finishing off the move after a period of pressure from his side.
Watsonians reduced the deficit with a try of their own in the 56th minute. This time it was Harrison Courtney who wrestled over the line from short range.
Watsonians were piling on the pressure, but an excellent 50-22 from Will Hunt in the 67th minute gave the Bulls relief, and they took full advantage with a try. The ball was shipped from right to left and Caven crossed for his second try of the evening.
But Watsonians soon had a 50-22 of their own, and in the 76th minute Gregor Scougall grounded the ball under the posts. The resulting conversion saw the game draw level at 24-24 with less than four minutes to go.
A frantic final play saw Watsonians edge towards the line, with the Bulls defence holding firm. Lee Millar sat in the pocket and saw the opportunity, but his effort was blocked. Watsonians then tried to revive the attack and soared up the left side, but the ball went forward, and normal time came to an end. An excellent, evenly matched 80 minutes saw the two teams unable to be separated, and 20 minutes of extra time began.
Full time: Watsonians 24-24 Ayrshire Bulls
In the fifth minute of extra time, a good move from the Watsonians back line was finished off by Lewis Berg to give Watsonians the lead for the first time.
And three minutes later, they had another try. A penalty was kicked to the right corner, and captain Cal Davies was at the back of a driving maul to finish it off.
Extra time half time: Watsonians 36-24 Ayrshire Bulls
Needing two scores, the Bulls kicked a penalty into the Watsonians 22 and pushed for a try, but after a spell of pressure the ball was lost forward.
It was then Watsonians who got the ball up the other end, and as the Bulls tried to go the length, the ball was turned over and Campbell Wilson grabbed the try that sealed the double for Watsonians.
Extra time full time: Watsonians 43-24 Ayrshire Bulls
Referee: Ian Murray
FOSROC Player of the Match: Cal Davies (Watsonians)
Watsonians: 15. Dom Coetzer 14. Lomond MacPherson 13. Lewis Berg 12. Joe Reynolds 11. Angus Guthrie 10. Jason Baggott 9. Rory Brand 1. Harrison Courtney 2. Cal Davies CAPTAIN 3. Bobby Bratton 4. Luis Ball 5. Jamie Berrisford 6. Kwagga Van Niekerk 7. Karl Main 8. Seb Cecil
Replacements: 16. Campbell Wilson 17. Robbie Deans 18. Gregor Scougall 19. Kieran Watt 20. Neil Irvine-Hess 21. Murray Scott 22. Lee Millar CAPTAIN 23. Connor Eastgate
Ayrshire Bulls: 15. Liam McNamara 14. Aaron Tait 13. Robert Beattie 12. Andrew Stirrat 11. Eli Caven 10. Richie Simpson 9. Jordan Lenac 1. Andrew Nimmo 2. James Malcolm 3. Michael Scott 4. Ed Bloodworth 5. Rory Jackson 6. Archie Smeaton 7. Tim Brown 8. Blair MacPherson CAPTAIN
Replacements: 16. Alex McGuire 17. William Farquhar 18. Calvin Henderson 20. Jamie Drummond 21. Gavin Wilson 25. Thomas Glendinning 23. Will Hunt 24. Cam Jones