Premiership: Edinburgh Accies build momentum for play-offs with big win over Heriot’s Blues

Iain Berthinussen's side face Currie Chieftains at Malleny Park next weekend

Finlay Simpson was man-of-the-match as Edinburgh Accies finished the regular part of their Premiership campaign with a big win over Heriot's Blues. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Finlay Simpson was man-of-the-match as Edinburgh Accies finished the regular part of their Premiership campaign with a big win over Heriot's Blues. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Heriot’s Blues 10

Edinburgh Accies 51

COLIN RENTON @ Goldenacre

EDINBURGH ACCIES will go into next week’s play-off semi-final away to Currie Chieftains in fine fettle after a comprehensive win that showcased their attacking edge but, more importantly, also showed a toughness in defence that will be crucial if they hope to progress to the trophy decider. 

Ahead of the game, Accies coach Iain Berthinussen had insisted that suggestions of the match being a dead rubber were inaccurate. And he reiterated that view after the game saying: “The last two weeks have been really important for us because it has been stop-start. We had a tough game at Riverside last week and we were made to work for it here today. Heriot’s put in a lot of work but we were really clinical at times. Defensively, we turned the screw a bit compared to last week. I’m delighted with that heading into semi-final week although we have a fair bit to work on.”

In the home camp, Phil Smith admitted that, with the goal of top flight survival already secured, the game was something of an anti-climax. He is delighted that Heriot’s have retained their premiership status and will now switch their focus to the cup.


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“It was a bit end of season,” he conceded. “Last week was massive for us. This week, we tried to build it up but really it was job done and we are ready to build for next season. Having said that, we now have four weeks until we play in the cup. If you get some breaks and the luck of the draw, you never know.”

Heriot’s made a lively start without threatening the Accies line, and it was the visitors who drew first blood after ten minutes. A penalty was despatched into touch and Finlay Simpson gathered the throw then sparked a surge that shunted the Heriot’s defence backwards. Fraser McAslan looked set to score and, when he was thwarted illegally, the referee awarded a penalty try then showed Innes Hill a yellow card.

Accies doubled their lead a couple of minutes later when a 50/22 created an identical line-out situation and this time the forwards rumbled over, allowing Cole Imrie to apply the final touch and Jamie Loomes to boot the conversion.

The momentum was firmly with the visitors and Loomes darted through a gap in the home defence. He was nabbed just short of the line, but Simpson was on hand to complete the job and Loomes again struck the conversion attempt sweetly to add the extras.

Heriot’s responded with a period in the ascendancy, but Accies soaked up the pressure and a penalty on their next visit to opposition territory yielded three more points for Loomes.

The hosts responded with another spell on the front foot and this time it produced points. A tap-penalty saw the ball slung out wide to Mike Gray who squeezed in at the corner to complete the first-half scoring.

 

Heriot’s failed to capitalise on the first scoring opportunity of the second half, and they paid the price shortly afterwards when Accies attacked at pace and Max Wallace showed his finishing skills to power past two defenders for the bonus point try.

The visitors extended their lead in 53 minutes with a slick handling move that stretched the Heriot’s defence and allowed Lewis Wells to power past two defenders and dot down.

Both sides made multiple changes as the game approached the final quarter, and the fresh legs seemed to benefit Heriot’s more than Accies. The hosts looked to have squandered another chance to boost their tally as the visitors’ repelled a string of attacks. But they eventually found a way through with a clever pass from Ross Thomson that allowed Fraser Stanier to touch down out wide.

The Accies response was swift and another powerful attack produced another try, with Will Stephen forcing his way over.

And the visitors completed their preparations for the showdown with Chieftains by producing a strong finale that enabled Imrie to crash over for his second try before Wells did the spadework then freed Sinjin Broad to race round behind the sticks and leave Ben Appleson a simple conversion that brought up the half century.

 

Teams – 

Heriot’s Blues: C Dineen; M Gray, I Kay©, P Christie, F Stanier; R Carmichael, G Wilson; M Bouab, D Dineen, J Lascelles, S Johnstone, M Keough, I Hill, S Wallace, A Johnston. Subs: A Bogle, D Webb, M Bruce, R Thompson, D Martin.

Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; K Gossman, M Wallace, B Brannan, L Wells; J Loomes©, S Broad; C Imrie, F McAslan, C Lacour, J Mills, F Simpson, T Drennan, M Walker, R Campbell. Subs: G Ratcliff, H Campbell, R Thompson, M Love, W Stephen.

Referee: R Campbell

 

Scorers – 

Heriot’s Blues: Tries: Gray, Stanier

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Penalty, Imrie 2, Simpson, Wallace, Wells, Stephen, Broad; Cons: Loomes 2, Appleson; Pen: Loomes.

Scoring sequence (Heriot’s fist): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-14; 0-19; 0-21; 0-24; 5-24 (h-t) 5-29; 5-34; 10-34; 10-39; 10-44; 10-49; 10-51.

 

Yellow cards –

Heriot’s: Hill

 

Man-of-the-Match: Accies had several top performers, including Cole Imrie and Matt Walker, who produced a solid 80 minutes on return from long-term injury. But the star man was Finlay Simpson, who was prominent in the line-out and outstanding in the loose, as well as claiming a try.

Talking point: Iain Berthinussen is a shrewd coach and he will have his Accies side ready for the rerun of last season’s play-off away to Chieftains. On the occasion it was close affair, and Saturday’s clash promises to be another great encounter.


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About Colin Renton 296 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!