Watsonians booked home advantage in this coming Friday night’s Super6 3rd/4th place play-off clash against Stirling County with an emphatic win, which brought the Bulls back down to the earth with a bump following a series of impressive victories.
On a practical level, the defeat does not really impact the men from the west, as they had done enough before kick-off to already be assured a place in Sunday’s 1st/2nd place play-off at Edinburgh’s DAM Health Arena, but they would have liked to finish the regular part of the campaign at the top of the league table.
That distinction now belongs to Southern Knights, who beat Stirling County 36-7 at The Greenyards on Friday night, and the Borderers will have winning momentum going into next weekend’s winner-takes-all clash against the Bulls.
Meanwhile, Heriots’ 31-21 win over Boroughmuir on Saturday afternoon at Goldenacre means those two teams will meet again at the same venue in the 5th/6th place play-off next Saturday.
In this match, Watsonians flew out of the blocks and had the bonus point wrapped up within half an hour thanks to tries from Sam Daly, Scott King, Ru Smith and Harvey Elms.
Karl Main powered over for Watsonians’ fifth try before Bulls finally got off the mark with a Ryan Sweeney score just before the break.
The speed of scoring slowed during the second 40 but Watsonians remained in control and dotted down twice more through Scottish Rugby academy prospects Matt Currie and Ben Muncaster, while Christian Townsend – who is also in the academy – claimed a consolation try for the Bulls.
Joe Reynolds kicked four from seven for the hosts, while Matt Minogue added the extras to both of the visitors’ tries
“We have had a few tough results, so fair play to the boys they were really up for that game,” said victorious head coach Fergus Pringle. “It’s a tough game for Ayr – they know they’re in the final. We just wanted to turn up and put in a performance that shows everyone what we can do.
“The difference today was that we started well. We got a score, a couple of things went our way then we had our heads up. That gave the guys that little bit of confidence they needed. That was probably our best half of rugby this season.”
Bulls assistant coach Pete Horne said: “We just weren’t at the races. I think Watsonians were very good, they put us under a lot of pressure. We just had too many individual errors and we were a bit passive in defence.
“It’s not ideal going into the final, but hopefully that will be the kick up the backside that we need to get us ready.”