WATSONIANS preserved the only unbeaten record in Super6, beating Boroughmuir Bears 28-10 in poor conditions at Myreside to make it four wins from four matches. They were 10 points ahead at one point in the first half before being pegged back to a lead of just three at the break, but then dominated a second 40 in which the Bears failed to score.
“They managed the territory better,” Boroughmuir coach Graham Shiel said after a three-tries-to-one defeat which sees his team fall from third to fifth. “We had some good attacking play, but it’s very difficult when you’re 75, 80 metres out to attack and score from there.
“When we create opportunities we take them well, so it’s hard to be critical, and conditions were really difficult today. However, Watsonians managed the conditions better.”
The teams meet again next weekend, and Watsonians coach Fergus Pringle is taking nothing for granted despite the way his side controlled most of this game.
“In the first half we played really well into the wind,” he said. “I thought our scrum worked well. It wasn’t the perfect performance, and at times we tried to force the extra pass, which let them off the hook. But Boroughmuir are a good side and they stay in the fight. We’ve got plenty to work on and it will be a different story next week when we head across the road to Meggetland.”
Morgan Inness, Harrison Courtney and Campbell Wilson got the tries for the leaders, with captain Lee Millar contributing two conversions and three penalties. The Bears’ points came from a Glen Faulds try and a Kyle McGhie conversion and penalty.
Second-placed Ayrshire Bulls kept up the chase on Watsonians with an 8-0 win at Stirling County. A Ross Thompson penalty was the only score of the first half, and although that did not look enough of a lead to take into a second half in which they had the wind in their faces, the Bulls weathered the storm then got the clinching score 10 minutes from time with a Nico Griffiths try.
“We learned that we have got some guts,” Ayrshire coach Peter Murchie said. “We can dig it out.”
For County coach Ben Cairns it was a question of missed opportunities. “I thought we were in a good position at half time at 3-0 down,” he said. “It was a strong wind in that second half but we didn’t get a chance to get into the right areas of the pitch to really sting them.”
The Southern Knights, meanwhile, are still looking for their first win after losing 12-19 to Heriot’s.
“Heriot’s managed the game pretty well,” Knights coach Rob Chrystie said. “We were only out of our half twice in the first half.”
At least the Knights scored on one of those occasions, and led 7-0 at half time through a Joseph Jenkins try converted by Jason Baggott, but in the second half Heriot’s took over. A penalty try plus further scores from Jack Blain and Michael Liness put them in command before a late Baggott try gave the home team the consolation of a losing bonus.
“I felt we were the team trying to play with width in the game and on another day we would have scored a number of tries,” Heriot’s coach Phil Smith said. “In the second half our game management was superb and our defence was as well.”
All five games in the Premiership were tight affairs. The biggest margin of victory was at Mansfield Park, where Hawick maintained their impressive form by beating Currie Chieftains 20-14. The result takes Hawick into third, while the losing bonus at least ensured second-placed Currie did not lose any ground on leaders Marr, who were surprise 17-15 losers at home to GHA.
Selkirk also got an away win, beating Aberdeen Grammar 16-14 to climb above their hosts into fourth, while Jed-Forest won 16-15 at Glasgow Hawks, a result that still leaves Jed embroiled in a relegation battle, along with Edinburgh Accies and bottom club Musselburgh, who drew 28-28.
WEEKS of promotional hype and political outrage ended in Anthony Joshua easing past an opponent who had barely bothered to train as the so-called “Clash on the Dunes” drifted into anticlimax on a Saudi Arabian Saturday night.
A focused and disciplined back-foot performance from the 30-year-old Briton wrested back his world heavyweight titles by unanimous points decision over a woefully out-of-shape Andy Ruiz Jr.
A large proportion of the country’s 59mm annual rain fall dumped itself on the arena in the hours leading up to its headline contest, but in the end it was the fight itself that proved a wash-out as Joshua picked and prodded his way to a victory which appeared secure long before the three judges handed down their 118-110 (twice), 119-109 landslide verdicts.
“Maybe I could have done more at times but simplicity is genius,” said Joshua, who picked up a British record purse in excess of £60m for a win which places him back at the top of the heavyweight table. “I took it back to the old school, ’70s style, and outclassed the current champion.
“There was a time when I looked into Andy’s eyes and wanted to put my fist through his head. But then I thought, this is boxing, it’s not wrestling. This is real life, it’s dangerous.”
Ruiz had weighed in more than a stone heavier than for their first meeting, and the Mexican-American was brutally honest after the fight.
“I should have trained harder and listened to my team,” he said. “Maybe if I hadn’t put on all this weight would have been faster.
“He was boxing his life out and there are no excuses.”
Ruiz’s calls for a third meeting are almost certain to be rejected as Joshua moves to clean up one of two outstanding mandatory defences against Oleksandr Usyk or Kubrat Pulev.
“I’m just going to let the path take its course,” said Joshua. “[But] when the opportunity presents itself to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I’ll definitely step up and take the challenge.”
Fergus Pringle says his team have plenty to work on