EDINBURGH ACADEMICALS head coach Derek O’Riordan praised his side’s battling qualities and work-rate after they held on through a furious late onslaught to defeat Heriot’s in a tense BT Cup tie at Raeburn Place this afternoon.
Accies went into the match having won 10 from 10 to lead the way in BT National League Division One, but knew a step-up in performance would be required to defeat a BT Premiership side with a good Cup pedigree.
The hosts were 14-3 down early in the second half, but tries from Shaun Gunn and Connor Hirini, and a conversion by Callum Ramm put them 15-14 up.
Neil Armstrong and Sam Johnson added further scores as they came through to win 29-24.
“First of all, I would just like to say it was a cracking Cup tie played in the right spirit, two teams who certainly wanted to play rugby with ball in hand and there was a good crowd down watching,” said O’Riordan.
“The first half was quite even, but we were just behind. What helped us get a foothold in things after the break was our work-rate and intensity in defence and the guys managed to get two or three turnovers.”
“That led to us going ahead and from there it was all about structure in defence and not panicking.”
“We held out and because we haven’t played Heriot’s a lot in recent years this meant a lot to the home fans.
“I cannot ask for more from this group of players and hopefully we can take the confidence from this into our big league matches before Christmas.”
Meanwhile, Watsonians put in a cracking performance at Glasgow Hawks to progress. Fin Gillies men came out on top when the two sides met at the same venue earlier in the season in the league, but the visitors took control of this tie in the first half.
They led 0-19 at the break and although the home side showed some spirit in the second half the visitors came out on top 19-34.
Mark Bertram was the man leading the way for the victors with a hat-trick of tries with Andrew Chalmers and Mike Allen also crossing. Mike Fedo was named man of the match.
“We got off to a good start and that helped us get a foothold in the game, said Watsonians head coach Lawrie.
“Michael Fedo led us well from No.8 while Gregor Nelson did well stepping up to the first XV. Cups are special things to try and win and we look forward to seeing who we get in the next round.”
Stirling County were always in charge against Falkirk, leading 59-0 after 40 minutes and going on to win 108-0. Kerr Gossman opened the scoring in what was to be a long 80 minutes for BT National League Division One strugglers Falkirk.
Craig Robertson, Matt Emmison, twice, and another from Robertson made it 31-0. Emmison then scored a cracker to complete his hat-trick and Robertson followed suit before further tries by Logan Bonar and Andy Watt before the interval.
The tries kept coming in the second half, Struan Robertson, Gossman, James Pow, Shaun MacDonald, Gossman again, Matt Donaldson, Joe Beech, Bonar and Billy Dineen all going over in this one-sided affair.
Gala went 3-0 up at Meggetland, but that was as good as it got for the Maroons as Boroughmuir came through to win 67-3.
A forwards try started things off for Boroughmuir, before Greg Cannie’s try made it 10-3 and then Tom Drennan’s stretched the lead to 14 points.
Two tries from Ronan Kerr then made it 29-3 and the home attack was flying by now. Jordan Edmunds was next to go over and Archie Erskine, the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy man, followed to make it 41-3.
Edmunds got his second before quick-fire tries by Grant McConnell and Ciaran Whyte made it 60-3. Cannie’s second try put the icing on the cake for Peter Wright’s men as they safely edged through.
Hawick got a confidence-boosting win in a troubled season, but Selkirk made them battle all the way before going through to the last eight.
Selkirk took a 7-0 lead at Mansfield Park thanks to a Callum MacEwan score before a Guy Graham try made it 7-7. The two Borders side were tied at 15-15 at the interval and they kept trading points before a Clinton Wagman try converted by Josh Welsh put Selkirk 29-26 up.
Given that Hawick have lost ten BT Premiership matches in recent months they could have gone into their shell, but 12 late points saw the Greens through.
Marr, Melrose and Ayr were already through to the quarter-finals.
Saturday’s BT Cup results
Edinburgh Accies 29 Heriot’s 24
Glasgow Hawks 19 Watsonians 34
Stirling County 108 Falkirk 0
Boroughmuir 67 Gala 3
Hawick 38 Selkirk 29