Edinburgh Academicals 15,

Watsonians 28

EDINBURGH Academicals are now contemplating a future which, barring any alteration to the size of the leagues, will mean second division rugby for them next season.

The result against Watsonians at Raeburn Place perhaps spared Academicals what might have been a more protracted demise determined by other clubs, but there is little question that they might have preferred a lingering death to a swift exit under the ignominious cloud of a sending off.

The dismissal of Academicals' hooker Kenny Day just before half-time for stamping arguably turned the game for Watsonians, who until the unsavoury incident occurred had trailed 15-3. Watsonians ran the ensuing penalty, resulting in an easy try for Mike Stanaway and a simple conversion by Gavin Hastings. Seven points - but due punishment for behaviour that rugby does not need.

Dave McIvor moved to hooker and not without some success, the Academicals' flanker achieving a strike against the head. But stuck in the middle of the front row, McIvor was lost to the fringe defence, making it much easier for Watsonians to put together attacking moves that ultimately brought tries for Andrew Garry and Gavin Hastings.

Watsonians might have scored more but for the loss of Duncan Hodge with a recurrent shoulder injury (which could force the stand-off to miss Edinburgh's opening district championship game with Scottish Exiles).

Martin Waite and Scott Murray are the kind of players Academicals must retain if they are to make a return to Divison 1.

The other imperative is to have quality back-up players. Three of their backs on Saturday are 19 while stand-off Sammy Dow has just turned 20.

Edinburgh Academicals - S Burns; C Newton, C Murray, M Duncan, G McKinley; S Dow, P Simpson; J Fayers, K Day, D Graham, S Murray, M McVie, D McIvor, M Waite, R Houle. Replacements - J Scott for Fayers (70min), A Adamson for Houle (58).

Watsonians - G Hastings; F Henderson, S Hastings, A Garry, J Kerr; D Hodge, J Weston; M Stanaway, S Farland, A Kittle, C Mather, S Grimes, G Hannah, C Brown, J Macdonald. Replacement - S Carse for Hodge (55).

Referee - I Ramage (Berwick).

SCORERS: Edinburgh Academicals - Burns, 2t; Duncan, 1c, 1p. Watsonians - G Hastings, 1t, 2c, 3p; Garry, 1t; Stanaway, 1t.