St Andrews has come far since the 2011 Varsity game, in which we were decimated by a brutal 39-0 Edinburgh win. Two years later, the Saints redeemed themselves with the first in a growing line of victories, each more conclusive than the last. Over ten thousand spectators witnessed yet another St Andrean triumph this past Saturday, when our men’s 1st XV maintained their position on the Varsity throne after a gripping hour and a half match.
Moral was initially low on the side of the Saints: Early arrivals had watched as the women’s 1st XV fell to Edinburgh with a score of 97-0. When the men’s 1st XVs took the field, however, St Andrews rallied with a raucous round of applause, easily matching the Edinburgh majority in both noise and passion.
The match itself provided endless entertainment to the massive crowd. After seven minutes of vigorous back-and-forth, the Edinburgh team scored the first try with a series of well-timed passes. Not long after, Saints Ludovic Meaby and Scott Docherty levelled the scoreboard with a try and a conversion, respectively.
Now neck and neck, neither team showed any signs of weakness. The Saints slowly fought their way across the pitch, eventually battling the Edinburgh squad mere meters from the try zone. The nail-biting struggle culminated in a try from third year Ruari Bell, placing St Andrews firmly in the lead despite a near-miss from Docherty on the conversion.
The second half of the game started on a high note for the Saints. A throw from Malcolm Wood Downey led to Rob Lind scoring St Andrews’ our third try. Docherty’s second successful conversion brought the score to 19-7.
An impressive throw from the Edinburgh side prompted the Capital’s second try and conversion. At 19-12, the St Andrews lead now felt tenuous; twenty minutes of play would allow for plenty of movement on either side.
A few awkward minutes ensued, due to several overzealous spectators leaping onto the pitch. Mark Wilson swiftly recaptured the crowd’s attention with the fourth St Andrean try. Victory assured at less than four minutes on the clock, the tone of the match changed to one of pure revelry on the part of the Saints.
In these waning minutes, Edinburgh made one final attempt at a try. Their spectacular sprint to the try zone was cut short by equally impressive tackles from the St Andrews squad, solidifying a Saint victory.
In reflection, Club Captain Harry Jose tells us:
The team was delighted with how the game went. We were confident going in to the match and despite some nervous moments at the beginning felt that overall we deserved the win. To have achieved this now for four consecutive years is an immensely proud accolade for the club.
The entire 1st XV must be commended for their outstanding work. Standout players include Ashton Squires, James Wardle, Toby Hall, Ruari Bell and playmaker Scott Docherty. Congratulations to the club for defending the kingdom for the fourth year running.