COLIN RENTON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE produced the win that has been bubbling below the surface in recent weeks, seeing off the champions with some panache at a sunny Malleny Park. In the process, the hosts also delivered a significant result for coach Ben Cairns, who had never posted a win over Heriot’s since taking the reins three seasons ago.
“Going into the game, I felt there was a definite performance in there”, said Cairns. “Just about every aspect of our performance was really pleasing”.
And of the result, he added, “We’ve never beaten them since I’ve been in charge. That’s a big result for us – that has been our bogey team.”
His counterpart Phil Smith was scathing in his assessment of the Heriot’s performance, saying, “It’s probably the worst result we’ve had in three seasons so it might just kick start some boys to realise that the league has been won six months ago and look forward.”
Smith’s side ultimately paid the price for failing to capitalise on a dominant opening ten minutes. They spent that spell camped in the Currie half but failed to convert their pressure into points, passing up a kickable penalty in favour of a tap and go that came to nothing.
It was frantic stuff, with the Italian referee allowing play to flow.The hosts defended stoutly and survived that opening onslaught, eventually visiting the Heriot’s half after ten minutes with a bullocking run by John Cox.
Currie full back Harvey Elms had caught the eye the previous with a stunning try and he was prominent again as the hosts established a foothold in the game. His piercing run was the precursor to a lineout in Heriot’s territory that created the platform for a slick handling move that ended with Cammy Gray sending Robbie Nelson in between the sticks for a try, converted by Jamie Forbes.
The titleholders responded instantly, with Alex Hagart booting a penalty from 35 metres for not rolling away.
With 21 minutes played, Lee Jones almost forced his way over for Currie, but he was halted illegally and Forbes restored the seven point gap when he slotted the resultant kick.
And the advantage grew five minutes later when Nelson picked out Jones with a perfectly-weighted pass and the Glasgow winger raced over for the try.
Heriot’s responded with a spell in the ascendancy and clawed back seven points with a converted penalty try. A surge following a close range scrum drove the home defence back over their line and, as Andrew Simmers dived over to dot down, the referee was already running behind the sticks to signal the penalty award. Hagart added the extras.
Play was stopped briefly to ensure the health of Elms after the home full back took a knock as he leapt to gather a high ball. With the crowd debating whether the clash with Callum Marshall would result in a red or a yellow card, the referee decided that the collision had been accidental and took no further action.
By half time, the hosts had added a further three points, with Forbes slotting another penalty award for an 18-10 interval score line.
Currie thought they had scored again when Elms burst clear and sent Jones in, but play was called back for an offence at the preceding ruck and the try was chalked off.
The score was only delayed briefly and it came in some style when scrum half Richard Snedden gathered on half way and raced away, rounding the final defender before finishing with an impressive swallow dive. Forbes was on target with the conversion that left Heriot’s needing three scores to win the game.
Forbes weighed in with another three pointer after an offence that earned Russell Nimmo ten minutes in the sin bin.
Heriot’s raised their game once more and capped a spell of pressure when Martin Bouab forced his way over for an unconverted score.
But Currie again retaliated and Forbes landed another penalty. The wisdom of that decision to kick for goal was questioned by some in the crowd, believing Currie should have gone for the fourth try.
However, the complainers were silenced in the final minute when Jones again showed his pace to race down the left and cross the whitewash for a second time. Forbes kicked the conversion to rub salt into the Heriot’s wounds
Currie: H Elms; L Jones, C Hutchison, R Nelson, C Gray; J Forbes, R Snedden; J Cox, F Scott, G Carson, H Bain, S Ainslie, R Davies, T Gordon, R Weston©. Subs: P Mundell, A McWilliam, G Temple, J Bywater, C Shiel.
Heriots: J Semple; H Boisseau, J Laird, R Carmichael©, J Webster; A Hagart, A Simmers; M McCallum, M Liness, S Cessford, R Nimmo, C Smith, S Dewar, J McLean, C Marshall. Subs: S Mustard, M Bouab, M Maltman, G Parker, J Rae.
Referee: E Tomo (Italy)
Currie: Tries: Nelson, Jones 2, Snedden, Cons: Forbes (3), Pens: Forbes (4)
Heriot’s: Tries: Penalty, Bouab, Con: Hagart, Pen: Hagart
Cards: Yellow – Russell Nimmo (Heriot’s)
Scoring sequence: (Currie first) 5-0, 7-0, 7-3, 10-3, 15-3 15-8,15-10, 18-10 (h-t) 23-10, 25-10, 28-10, 28-15, 31-15, 36-15, 38-15
Man-of-the Match: With impressive acceleration and an instinct to run with the ball, Harvey Elms is a real handful for opposing defences and he again caught the eye
Talking point: There was no malice in Callum Marshall’s collision with Harvey Elms but the Currie man was in mid air at the point of impact and on another day it could have been a red card – more consistency is required in interpreting this law.
Image courtesy Roy Smith