Watt Under-20s surge back to the top of the Development League

A superb 3 – 0 victory over Cumbernauld Colts on Friday evening carried Heriot-Watt back to the top of the Lowland and East of Scotland Development League. Striker Cammy Ross was in electrifying form and bagged all three goals in an outstanding display. Equally important was the side’s defensive cohesion, which kept out a dangerous visiting attack to record its second clean sheet of the season.

When both Watt teams hit the top of their respective tables concurrently a few weeks ago, we expressed some reservations about their chances of holding those positions to the end of the season. The main issue was the possibility of the First Team winning an East of Scotland League containing Leith Athletic and Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, neither of which has been beaten so far this season, plus other strong teams such as Tynecastle and Eyemouth United. Watt has lost only two of its eight fixtures played and we don’t write off its chances, but to make a serious challenge it would have to maintain even greater consistency for the remainder of the season.

The Under-20s, however, are a different proposition and it is not too much to say that despite the high quality of the Development League, it will be a disappointment if the Under-20 side is unable to bring silverware to Riccarton this season. There are challenges for them to face in every match, all of which are against quality opponents, but such are the talent within the squad and the organisation instilled by the coaching staff that Heriot-Watt has emerged from the shadows as a major contender for prizes.

On Friday, another of those challenging matches is scheduled – an away fixture against Stirling University. This game will be played at Falkirk Stadium, which will be an interesting experience for the Watt lads. Stirling is currently in third place in the table, just three points behind Heriot-Watt with a game in hand, so it is one of several teams considering itself to be a title contender. The outcomes of matches such as this one will determine the course of the season.

The First Team finally managed to get its Football Nation East of Scotland Qualifying Cup Second Round tie played yesterday. The match, at Albert Park against the Lowland League’s Hawick Royal Albert, seemed to bear a curse. It had been postponed twice – last Saturday and again on Tuesday evening – but the coup de grace for Watt was the advance of the kick-off time to 1.30 due to a malfunction affecting one of the floodlight pylons.

The Watt travelled south with a very young side, lacking experienced regulars Jamie Forsyth, Scott Dargo and captain Chris Donnelly. Four of the squad had played in the Under-20 match on the previous evening. Only goalkeeper Craig Saunders, midfielder Neil Laurenson and winger Elliot Sutherland were over 21 and there were seven teenagers in the fifteen.

None of this cut much ice with the home support as the young side battled away in an increasingly hostile atmosphere. Having taken the lead in the first half through Anton Dowds, the Watt kept its goal intact until deep into stoppage time at the end of the match, when the Albert eventually managed to force in an equaliser. A goal in the first half of extra time put Hawick ahead and although the Watt came close several times to grabbing an equaliser, the scoring was complete.

On Saturday, the Firsts return to league business with the visit of Eyemouth United. Eyemouth has had a couple of heavy defeats away to Leith Athletic and Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in the last couple of weeks, but is still riding high in the league table, behind the Watt only on goal difference, having the same sixteen points from eight games record as the Riccarton side. Watt will recall that its last home game ended in defeat by another Borders side, Coldstream, following on a loss to Leith Athletic in the previous match played, and will be going all out to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.

After last week’s good victory, it was disappointing to learn that the Amateur side had gone down 6 – 1 at home to Pencaitland yesterday in Lothian East Division. It was always going to be a tough game, but the magnitude of the defeat was painful. Pathhead and Salters Athletic drew their match, leaving the Watt second from the bottom of Lothian East Division, a point behind Pathhead and two ahead of Salters, having played two games fewer than both.

Next Saturday, with Salters playing a Miller Cup tie, the Watt side faces what looks like the toughest game of the season with a visit to The Inch to play Edinburgh South Vics, which has won all seven of its league games to date. Pathhead has a home tie against top-half side Waverley Athletic.

Posted on December 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm




Amateurs move up

Heriot-Watt’s LEAFA side moved up two places in Lothian East Division on Saturday with a welcome 3 – 0 victory over Salters Athletic. The win took the Watt side above both Salters and Pathhead. This Saturday, the Watt has a tough away game against second-in-the-table Pencaitland, whilst the two sides beneath Watt in the table meet at Pathhead’s Callander Park.

The two Watt sides in BUCS action yesterday had contrasting results: the Thirds beat Stirling University Fifth 2 – 1 away from home to move above their opponents into third place in Division 5B; but at Riccarton, the Fifths went down to a disappointing 4 – 1 defeat at the hands of Stirling University Sixth to drop below their adversaries into fifth position in Division 6B.

Tomorrow evening sees the Watt Under-20 side return to action with a home game against Cumbernauld Colts (kick-off 8 o’clock). Like all games in the high-quality Development League, this will be a testing fixture against strong opposition, but the Watt side should be well rested and can be expected to play a full part in the exciting game in prospect.

On Saturday, the First Team travels to take on Lowland League side Hawick Royal Albert in the Second Round of the Football Nation East of Scotland Qualifying Cup, rearranged after postponement on Tuesday evening. Hawick is having trouble with its floodlights and it is likely that the kick-off time will be moved from 3 o’clock to 1.30.

Posted on December 1, 2016 at 8:19 pm




Another good Wednesday for Watt in BUCS games

With six teams playing in BUCS competition on Wednesday, the Watt emerged with four wins, one draw and a single defeat. Leading the way were the Men’s Seconds, who had an incredible 7 – 0 success against division leaders University of the West of Scotland First. The win brought the Watt side on to thirteen points, within two of UWoS at the top of Division 3A with three fixtures each still to play. With Edinburgh University’s Second and Third teams respectively four points and five points further behind, each with a game in hand, there is much yet to play for in this Division.

The Women’s Firsts had an even bigger win, 12 – 1, but against less highly-rated opponents in struggling City of Glasgow College First. There was a bit of manoeuvring required to get the game on to the pitch at all, but eventually it went ahead with the Glasgow side a player or two short.

The other major success on the day was for the Men’s Fourths, who swept aside West Lothian College First by four goals to one to take over from their opponents at the top of Division 6B. The lead is only two points and West Lothian has a game in hand, but if the Watt side can keep winning, there is a good chance of promotion.

Also in Division 6B, the Fifths had a great 3 – 0 victory at Peffermill against Edinburgh University Sixth, lifting the Watt side to fourth in the table. There are still some hard matches to come, but this result gives the Fifths a real chance of retaining its place in the Division.

The Firsts had a topsy-turvy afternoon in a thrilling game against Division 2A leaders St Andrews University First on a frosty outdoor synthetic. Watt fell behind early on, but came back to take a 2 – 1 lead, then conceded two more goals to trail 3 – 2 before finally grabbing a point with the final goal of the game.

The only side beaten on the day was the Thirds, but a 2 – 1 loss to Edinburgh College First in Divison 5B was a huge improvement on the heavy defeat suffered to the same opponents at Riccarton in October.

Most teams are now free of BUCS fixtures until January, but there are two matches scheduled for next Wednesday, both against Stirling University sides. The Men’s Thirds travel to Airthrey Campus to face Stirling Fifth and the Men’s Fifths entertain Stirling Sixth at Riccarton.

As a reminder: the Under-20s have no fixture this evening and tomorrow the Firsts travel to play Coldstream in an East of Scotland League fixture, whilst the Amateurs play at home against Salters Athletic (both kick-offs 2 o’clock)

Posted on November 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm




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