PSA 8 WANDERERS 16 By Graham Ford at Murrayfield
WANDERERS celebrated their 50th year in fine style when they were crowned Lloyds TSB Scottish Youth Champions with a battling second-half performance.
They ended the reign of previous champions PSA with victory in a closely fought contest on the hallowed turf of Murrayfield. The turning point in a match that was stifled by a continuous stream of penalties was a score by Wanderers' captain Rory Hutton mid-way through the the second-half.
While Neil McColm slotted three penalties and a conversion to break the Burnfoot-based side's hearts.
PSA had taken a first-half lead through a Nick Mactaggart try. But they were to be denied a second successive title with their third defeat at the hands of the 'magic wands' this season.
After a quiet start, as both sides sized each other up,PSA were awarded a penalty just inside the 22m line after 12 minutes which Craig Smith calmly converted. Neil McColm was presented with a chance to level the scores two minutes later from 30 metres out which he pulled left. But an over aggressive tackle gave him a second chance just a minute later which he nailed.
As the first quarter came to an end the game was struggling to come to life, interrupted by ten penalties.
In the 23rd minute PSA scored the first try of the match after Wanderers were penalised ten metres from their line. Bruce Pow barged towards the line before being held up, but from the second phase Nick MacTaggart emerged from a pile of bodies and was credited with the score, Smith missed the conversion.
A charge down by Murray Beatson brought the crowd to its feet on the half-hour mark but the young No.8 was stopped just short of the line.
The game continued to be stifled until the interval without any further changes to the scores.
PSA started the second period well and gained vital field position. A backs move ended with Sean Potts being bundled into touch five metres short of the line but the 17th penalty award of the match saw Wanderers clear the danger.
A break from the base of a scrum on the half-way line saw Wanderers string together a nice attack. A second phase ended with Neil McColm being taken man and ball as he knocked-on.
Wanderers Captain Rory Hutton then lit up Murrayfield with a dazzling piece of skill in the 48th minute as he side-stepped his way over the line to touchdown under the posts, McColm slotted the conversion to give Wanderers the lead.
PSA were dealt a further blow when Keith Davies was harshly sent to the sin-bin in the 53rd minute.
With 12 minutes of the game remaining Wanderers took play deep into the PSA territory from where they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. McColm landed the kick to take the Wands five points clear.
McColm,who only turned 16 on Janury 8, was then given the chance to take his side more than a converted score ahead with five minutes to play, with another penalty opportunity and the teenager kept his nerve to slot the kick.
Former 'Wands' player John Coutts almost brought PSA back into the game with jus a minute of the game to play. However the centre was brought crashing to the ground along with his side's hopes as the referee called time.
Murrayfield became little Hawick for the day as both of the town's semi-junior sides qualfied for the Lloyds TSB Youth Cup Final. While most of the crowd owed an allegiance to one or other of the two teams, some were unsure who to cheer for and opted to shout for both of the young Hawick sides.
PSA were returning to the home of Scottish Rugby as holders of the trophy, while Wanderers had come-of-age during the season, their 50th, remaining unbeaten throughout the Lochcarron of Scotland semi-junior league campaign. Having defeated PSA twice, 13-7 and 14-9 in the process.
Ahead of the evening game there were fears that many supporters wouldn't get the chance to see the match with other rugby matches taking place around Hawick. But a sharp overnight frost on Friday night wiped out rest of the local rugby calendar and added more Teries to the official attendance of 2012.
PSA: Craig Waldie, Steven Bouglas, John Coutts, Craig Smith, Sean Potts,
Neil Renwick, Gavin Stirling, Bruce Pow, Ross Borthwick, Daniel Finnigan, Gary Grierson, Keith Davies, Ross Turnbull, Graham Colville, Nick MacTaggart. Subs used: Lee Armstrong, Bruce Campbell. Thomas Anderson.
Wanderers: Neil McColm, Rory Scott, Michael Graham, Stefan Laidlaw,
Ali Weir, Rory Hutton (captain), Garry Whillans, Darren Young, Hue Scammell, Sean Linton, Walter Douglas, Steven Jeffrey, David Lowrie, Nikki Laidlaw, Murray Beatson. Subs used: Stephen Devlin, Greg Bouglas