Strathallan School were on balance the better team but the Scottish Schools Under-16s Cup final ended with the trophy shared between the Perthshire school and George Watson’s College after a try apiece.
Strath played most of the entertaining rugby at pace on the big pitch at BT Murrayfield, but were unable to bring the school their first major rugby trophy. Centre Will Godard, one of several outstanding backs in the Strath team, was named man of the match.
Replacement Finlay Laird scored Strath’s try early in the second half after they trailed at the break to Joseph Cantle’s try for Watson’s. However although all the best chances fell to Strath in the second half they were unable to force another score to win the cup outright, and by the rules of the competition the trophy was shared between the teams.
Strathallan began brightly with skipper and playmaker Calum McKeown prompting things behind the scrum and they should have forced an opening try with several drives right at the Watson’s line.
However referee Alex Obreja couldn’t see a grounding and a lost lineout allowed the Edinburgh team to eventually clear their lines.
That scenario was repeated at the other end as Watson’s piled pressure on the Strath line, but stalwart defence managed to force a knock-on and a clearance kick.
But Strath knocked on themselves trying to run from their own 22, and this time Watson’s repeated charges to the try-line brought an unconverted score for flanker Joseph Cantle, right on the 20 minute mark.
Strath’s tenacity at the breakdown was bringing them plenty of ball and one clever kick from McKeown had Watson’s struggling in defence and conceding a penalty in their own half.
There was another infringement at the resulting lineout and this time McKeown went for the posts with half-time looming, only to badly mis-hit his penalty attempt.
But eight minutes into the second half Strathallan struck after some great hands kept a move alive deep in the Watson’s 22 and won a penalty. This time scrum-half Aedan Brennan went with the tap, and replacement prop Finlay Laird took Hamish White’s pass to stretch over for the equalising score in the corner.
That probably convinced White to try another quick tap when Strath forced a penalty deep in the Watson’s 22, but this time they were stalled and the defenders won a penalty to clear.
Still Strath looked the team more likely to win, with breaks from first Godard and then White almost providing the breakthrough but for loose passes.
Late in the game Watson’s put together a series of drives in the Strathallan 22, but a fumble brought relief and the final whistle
George Watson’s College: T Urquhart; B Grant, C Hoffie, J Milligan, J Cheung; L Miller, J Forrester; J Wilson, J Holligan, S Wright; B Marshall, A Stevenson; J Cantle, M Think (capt), S Gibson.
Strathallan School: H Brown; S Aitken, T Clark, W Goddard, E Nicol; C McKeown (capt), A Brennan; M Walker, H Stewart, D Stirrat; M Reid, O Gleave; L Webster, C Henderson, H White.
Reps F Laird, E Sutherland, J O’Brien, L Beveridge
Ref: A Obreja.