Glasgow Hawks 12 – 9 Watsonians FC

On a classically dour, driech, Glasgow day, Glasgow Hawks edged Watsonians by 12 points to 9 in their first home league match of the season.

The match could have gone either way, and Hawks’ profligacy in front of goal could have cost them, but Mike Adamson’s 78th minute penalty was enough to give them a winning start, something to build on over the course of the year.

Hawks started the match brightly, fly-half Andy White kept his kick-off short, and subsequent pressure from the home forward-pack earned them a scrum.  Watsonians turned it over, but when scrum half Brian Walls’ kick was charged down, the ball just evaded the chase from winger Tony Herron, and bounced into touch.  Livewire Hawks scrum-half Haddon McPherson then made a delightful break but at the crucial moment the ball was spilled, and the danger averted.

Watsonians took the lead after some classic kicking tennis, Hawks infringed at the breakdown, and Walls nailed his kick from the 10 metre line.   Watsonians had another chance shortly after, when Hawks winger Kirk James-Williams attempted to kick a loose ball to his full-back Mike Adamson, who knocked on under pressure from Watsonians.   Luckily for the Glasgow side, Watsonians infringed at the scrum, and they were able to clear their lines through the boot of White.  Shortly after, Mike Adamson slotted a kick from the 10 metre line after strong running from inside-centre Tom Preece to level the scores at 3-3.

The remainder of the first half saw both sides indulge in some aerial ping-pong, with the hellish conditions certainly not conducive to ‘champagne rugby’ as the late and great Bill McLaren would have said.  Hawks occasionally showed ambition, with McPherson keen to get the ball to the backs, but all too often a handling error handed possession to the away side, with every member of the three-quarter line guilty at some stage.  Watsonians played a very tight game, with their own scrum half Brian Walls the epitome of cool, clearing his lines with gusto.

Another Adamson penalty gave Hawks the lead, before Tom Preece picked a brilliant line, and probably could have scored, but unselfishly played it to Fleming who spilled the ball under pressure.  With Watsonians under increasing pressure, their impressive hard-running inside centre Tom Hart  took an inside ball at halfway, and found himself running in space.  When he was finally brought down, Hawks infringed and Walls levelled the scores with a coolly taken penalty.    Referee Mhairi Hay blew the whistle to indicate half-time, with honours even at six-a-piece.

It was one way traffic after the break, with Hawks camped deep in the Watsonians half, only all too often to see the ball spilled when it was moved wide.   Giant replacement lock Rory McKay drove deep into the Watsonians 22, and when the away side infringed at the ruck, it seemed inevitable that Adamson would put Hawks back into the lead from in front of the posts. His attempt was dreadful though and sailed wide of the posts.

Hawks continued to play the corners though, and although Andy White was wide with a drop goal attempt, the referee pulled play back for a Hawks penalty – this time Adamson made no mistake with the place kick.  With ten minutes remaining, Watsonians levelled against the run of play. Di Rollo miscued a grubber kick, and amidst the melee Hawks were offside.  The excellent Wells levelled again for 9-9.

It looked as though the match was heading towards deadlock, but after even more sterling work from McKay in the tight, the electric McPherson put his fly-half White in the corner, with a delightful over-head pass.  Anniesland erupted, but the touch judge spotted a forward pass, and referee Hay awarded a scrum.

Walls’ clearance gave some breathing space to Marcus Di Rollo’s men but Hawks marched back up the field one more time, and the pressure told, Adamson made up for his earlier miss with a well struck penalty goal to give Hawks a hard earned win – but it could have been so different, and they’ll need to take their chances better in future encounters.

Man of the match


Hadden McPherson – Ross Miller led by example, and Tom Preece was a model of consistency, but the two outstanding players on the park were the scrum-halves.  Walls’ offered an assured presence for the Watsonians, clearing well under pressure and masterminding all that was good about the away side.  Hadden McPherson was outstanding though, a constant threat to the Watsonians defence – when things got sluggish he provided the impetus for Hawks’ triumph.  He wins the special Free Agents’ medal.  Well done, Hadden!



Glasgow Hawks:  Adamson, Herron, Fleming, Preece, James-Williams, White, McPherson, Findlay, McFarlane, Lohoar, Wilson, Kirkland, Strang, Oommen, Miller (captain) // Head Coaches: Jamie Dempsey & Jimmy Sinclair

Watsonians:  Steele, Rowe, McKean, Hart, Niven, Di Rollo (captain), Walls,  Rutherford, Wright, Moussa, Marinello, Duthie, Dennis, Dunnett, Joseph // Head Coach:  Marcus Di Rollo

by Craig Angus


One thought on “Glasgow Hawks 12 – 9 Watsonians FC

  1. And as a prelude

    When Sonians called and got freedom of Scotstoun

    Watsonians is one of the great names of Scottish club rugby so it seems right that they came calling in Glasgows west end in the early years
    However it wasn’t always Watsonians F.C. nor was it Watsonians C.C. it was Watsonians C.C.C. that made an early impact in the rural setting of Anniesland which at that time was almost in the country to the west of a rapidly expanding Glasgow
    Just as well because it was the Watsonians Cross Country Club that arrived at The Scotstoun Showgrounds ( now Scotstoun Stadium)in the early 1900s for the Scottish Championships
    At that period along with the likes of Heriots they produced distance running teams of note
    Between 1903 and 1913 the Scottish Cross Country Championships were held at Scotstoun on nine occasions and on two occasions a Watsonian J Ranken won the individual title
    On the occasion of his second win it was recorded in the Glasgow Herald that “Ranken won for the second time running with the leading group for most of the race,but making his break for home as he crossed Gt Western Rd for the second time and opening a winning gap over the final stretch of ploughed land between Anniesland and Scotstoun Stadium”
    Ranken failed to win his hatrick of titles when on the one occasion in the decade that the event went to Edinburgh being run from Hiibernian’s ground at Easter Rd

    In 1907 Scotstoun hosted the International Cross Country Championships which was the predecessor of the World IAAF Cross Country Championships of today
    The event was held over a four lap course of 10 miles and a crowd of 2000 turned up to spectate.
    A magnificent trophy for the event that became known as the Lumley Shield had been presented by Fred Lumley who owned a sports shop in Glasgows’ Sauchiehall St that in recent generations has become Greaves Sports
    At the presentation dinner the the secretary of the Scottish Union said “it was a very handsome and I am only sorry that so far as Scotland is concerned we have probably seen the last of it for a number of years” — and he was right
    Reports of the day described how runners streamed over the fields to a small cross roads at Anniesland Cross before running down Crow Rd to finish on the track at Scotstoun
    The winner was A Underwood of England leading them to victory in the team event
    Ranken like so many of his generation fell in the First World War whilst serving in the Dardanelles
    Scotstoun had really entered a new century which was to see it develop as one of the country’s most recognised sports grounds and become home to some of the great club names of Scottish sport the most recent being the Warriors

    Recently Victoria Park Glasgow awarded that doyen of athletics scribes Watsonian Doug Gillon life membership for his contribution to athletics journalism
    I recall Doug once telling me that he had won the Ranken Cup presented at George Watsons College Sports
    Doug ran for Victoria Park when he took up his post with the Herald and has just completed his coverage of London 2012 having covered every Games since 1972

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