Fair result at Fullarton
A game both sides will say they could and should have won. Fortress Fullarton remains strong stretching the unbeaten streak to 26 league games.
Marr Rugby 1st XV match summary: Over 500 were entertained by a pulsating 80 minutes of rugby as Watsonians and Marr went toe to toe in the 4th round of this season’s Premiership. Written off at the start of the season as the whipping boys, Marr’s players and coaches know well the challenge that they face and once again stepped up to the mark to secure vital league points. Both sides benefited from the inclusion of two professional players from the draft and from Marr’s perspective it was great to welcome James Malcolm and Greg Peterson to play at Fullarton, especially wearing purple and gold.
Watsonians is a side laced with talent and experience, especially in the backs and during the second quarter of the first half gave a masterclass in offloading in the tackle to maintain momentum in attacking play. The opening exchanges had been relatively balanced with both sides enjoying decent possession and opportunities but being repelled by determined defensive work. After 10 minutes Watsonians started to get the edge on possession and opportunity. On 21 minutes Watsonians opened the scoring as Rory Hutton mesmerised everyone on and around the pitch with a mazy run that merits being in contention for try of the season. Five minutes later Marr suffered a setback as Ewan Bulger was yellow carded for his challenge at a lineout. Almost immediately Marr were punished as Watsonians opted for a kick to the corner. From the resulting play they won a short range scrum and the inevitable happened with a break on the narrow side allowing scrum half Willie Thomson to score in the corner.
Marr battled back and forced Watsonians to concede a series of penalties. Eventually one fell into kicking range and Colin Sturgeon, making his 100th appearance for Marr Rugby, duly converted to start the clawback. The half ended with a 3 – 10 lead to Watsonians.
From the start of the second half Marr made it clear they weren’t there just to make up the numbers. Gregor Paxton (sponsored by Wheelie Clean) come on to cover centre as Colin Sturgeon was switched to stand-off to replace Dougie Steele. Marr started to throw everything they had at Watsonians as they probed for an opening. Breenging runs followed and Watsonians were forced to defend but still showed the threat they posed in counterattack. As Marr tried to force the play errors crept in. Watsonians made the most of any opportunity and approaching the 50 minute mark extended the lead through a penalty from Andrew Chalmers. Marr immediately hit back and a great attack was only stymied by an illegal intervention and Colin Sturgeon slotted home the resulting penalty kick to reduce the deficit to seven points.
This set the scene for a final 30 minutes of end to end rugby as Marr attempted to convert possession and territory into points but found Watsonians in no mood to cooperate.
Marr launched repeated attacks on Watsonians but found the maroon and white wall impenetrable. As the match drew to a close Marr pressure was rewarded with several penalties and eventually Kyle Whyte was sin-binned. If TMO’s were available at Fullarton or some dye mark was part of the try line whitewash, Greg Peterson’s effort would have been rewarded with his first try for Mar Rugby. As things happened it was his Warriors brother, James Malcolm, who was holding the ball to touch down as Marr’s pack forced their way over the line near to the corner. Into a strong wind Colin Sturgeon landed his best kick of the season to add the conversion.
This set up a final five minutes of nail biting excitement as Marr fought to land the knockout blow. However Watsonians defence was unbreakable and posed a significant counterattack threat. Several promising attacks from Marr were spoiled by forced and unforced errors. Watsonians counter forced Marr to have to reset their attacks from 60 metres out.
Eventually referee David Sutherland had the final say as he blew for fulltime.
Watsonians and Marr will reflect on missed opportunities to complete promising moves and achieve the win. From a neutral(ish) perspective rugby was the winner as those on the touchline were witness to high class and determined play,
Marr Rugby 1st XV Man of the match – Colin Sturgeon (sponsored by Bricktrain Ltd)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Try: James Malcolm
Conversion: Colin Sturgeon
Penalties: Colin Sturgeon (2)