ALAN LORIMER @ Riverside Park
HERIOT’S progressed to the last four in the Scottish Cup after achieving the forecasted win over Jed-Forest at Riverside but not without giving way to the Borderers in the second half.
The Goldenacre men seemed to be heading for a mountainous win when they led 45-7 at the interval after a display of powerful and accurate forward play complemented by a polished performance from the back division.
But Jed have been around for over a century and have pride. So when they won the second half 19-7 they dervided a certain satisfaction. The truth, of course, was that Jed took the whole of the first half to adjust to the level of rugby played by their Premiership opponents and only in the second half were they able to raise their game.
“In the changing room at half time, I said to the boys ‘we’ve got 40 minutes to do something’,” said Jed’s coach, Kevin Barrie. “The first 40 was just not good enough. But they’re a good team. They’re where they are and we’re where we are.”
“We’re getting a few boys back from injury so we’re getting a wee bit stronger. Our priority is the league. We’ve got four league games left. I’m not sure if anyone’s really interested in the Cup any more. Is it just a consolation prize for the teams at the top of the Premiership?”
Perhaps, too, Heriot’s became over-complacent after building up such a large half-time lead, a psychological inevitability in the circumstances. Their coach, Phil Smith, put it down to his side losing their first half shape.
“We kicked too much in the second half and gave them the ball when we shouldn’t have, and we paid the penalty,” he reflected. “We scored some very good tries in the first half but I thought Jed had some excellent scores. But, when all’s said and done, our aim was to get through and we did that.”
Scottish Cup: Quarter-finals
Heriot’s, using the strength of their forward pack to punch holes in the Jed defence, were quickly into their stride, with a try on the overlap by full-back Charlie Simpson. Ross Jones added the extras before converting Adam Sinclair’s touchdown.
Then, when the Heriot’s backs worked a simple loop move in midfield, Simpson claimed his second try, Jones again converting. With Heriot’s in full cry, scrum-half Andrew Simmers then set up a try for wing Craig Robertson.
Fortunately for the game, Jed found the spirit to fight back and, from a tap penalty, Lewis Young sailed over for a try converted by Gary Munro. Heriot’s hit back strongly with a touchdown by wing Michael Hughes and a try and conversion from Jones.
Young was then sent to the sin-bin for a tip tackle and inevitably Heriot’s exploited the man advantage allowing Simpson to complete his hat-trick.
Jed’s second-half determination was quickly rewarded with a fine solo try from Young converted by Munro. It was Young’s 100th try for his club and that landmark was soon surpassed when when the Jed full-back completed his hat-trick with another pacy score again converted by Munro.
With momentum behind them, Jed scored their fourth try, this time Munro’s accurate pass picking out Monty Mitchell for the chunky stand-off to crash over.
Heriot’s somewhat rocked by Jed’s second half response eventually recomposed themselves and finished strongly with their only score after the break, a second try for Robertson, converted by Jones.
Jed-Forest: L Young; C Young, R Marshall, R Yourston, E Stewart; M Mitchell, G Munro; W Owen, C Mackay, J Oliver, J Szkudro, C Skeldon, G Law, D Wardrop, D Grieve. Substitutes: D Gillespie, J Bowie, J Northwood, J Sudlow, K Slingsby, R Shirra-Gibb, G Nagle.
Heriot’s: C Simpson; Michael Hughes, R Jones©, R Kay, C Robertson; R Carmichael, A Simmers; A Ball; J Scott, A Johnstone, S Mustard, A Sinclair, C Marshall, S Dewar, Martin Hughes, J Hill. Subs: M Liness, H Simpson, R Leishman, J McLean, G Wilson, D Martin, D Steele.
Referee: L Linton
Jed-Forest: Tries: Young 3, Mitchell; Cons: Munro 3.
Heriot’s: Tries Simpson 3, Sinclair, Robertson 2, Michael Hughes, Jones; Cons Jones 6.
Scoring Sequence (Jed-Forest first): 0-5, 0-7, 0-12, 0-14, 0-19, 0-21, 0-26, 5-26, 7-26, 7-31, 7-36, 7-38, 7-43, 7-45 (h-t) 12-45, 14-45, 19-45, 21-45, 26-45, 26-50, 26-52.
Yellow card –
Man-of-the-Match: Having had to absorb considerable pressure from a side used to playing aggressive rugby, Jed did well to hit back in the second half epitomised by the completion of a hat-trick by their former Scotland sevens star Lewis Young, a deserving winner of the man-of-the-match accolade.
Talking point: Jed were given a glimpse of the level of rugby they are likely to face next season, and the message for the Riverside club is that they will be forced to strengthen their playing squad if they are to match the likes of Currie Chieftains and Glasgow Hawks. But before they face these problems, Jed still have to win at least one of their four remaining league matches if they are to finish among the top six national one clubs who will advance to next season’s top tier of the amateur game. And good to see veteran Donald Grieve playing his 300th game for Jed. Quite an achievement.
Meanwhile, Heriot’s look in good shape to tilt for double honours this season provided they can maintain what is an effective (and attractive) style of rugby for eighty minutes.