Heriot’s Blues 24
FINN TAIT @ Goldenacre
JED-FOREST eased anxiety over relegation away from themselves and onto the shoulders of their opponents with this win at the end of an entertaining contest at Goldenacre, and victorious coach Andrew Brown feels there is more to come from his side.
“The boys did well today to take the win at the end. We focus on ourselves; we’ve come through our tough spell, and we have a real good mood in camp. We were rusty and there is lots to work on but for a first game in five weeks I’m hugely proud,” he said.
The Borderers burst out of the sheds to execute several dangerous breaks early on, with Gary Munro and Robbie Yourston leading the charge, before the away team took the lead when a laser-guided cross-field kick from Gary Munro put home full-back Rory Steele under serious pressure. He was clattered by Mason Cullen, which dislodged the ball and the Jed winger then capitalised for the opening score.
Heriots’ had a period of sustained pressure which yielded several penalties allowing hooker Matthew Toward to hit his man and the Heriot’s maul to rumble forward. Scrum-half Ross Thomson then fed rampaging loose forward Ali Johnston and he was able to ride the Jed tackles and dot down to score. There was then a rare sighting of the fabled ‘double-doink’ as Paul Christie’s conversion hit both post and cross bar before the ball fell dead, scores level.
Heriot’s looked to press on but Munro found a wonderful touch on halfway to get Jed off the hook. Then Aidan Bambrick fed returning captain Clark Skeldon, who showed wonderfully delicate hands to send Gary Young barrelling through a gap, but the cover defence able to haul him down metres short. After several fearsome collisions it was Paulo Ferreira who lept over for his seventh try of the season.
However, Jed were their own worst enemy, Yourston attempted to wind up an opponent but only succeeded in coughing up a needless penalty, which allowed Heriot’s to kick into the away team’s 22. Charlie Jupp towered high, Thomson fed his backs, and some smart handling releasedEdinburgh Rugby man Ben Evans, who showed his quality with some dancing feet and nifty hands which sent Thomson under the posts.
Jed came firing back, led by huge carries from the dynamic back-row and Skeldon. Blake Roff looked certain to score but Heriots’ defence again scrambled back to shut him down inches from the line. After a couple of phases, it was try machine Ferreira who burrowed over for his brace to re-establish the Jed advantage shortly before half time.
Jed struck first after the break with Munro dropping into the pocket and nailing a drop-goal from around 30 metres out.
Heriot’s rung the changes and that seemed to have an instant impact with Steele and Craig Robertson combining for what would have been a flowing score, but the latter couldn’t complete his acrobatic finish. Referee Ciaran Stark came back for an earlier infringement which allowed the new man Danny Dineen to find his man and grab a try from a well worked maul with almost his first touch of the game. The reliable boot of Graham Wilson, fresh from the bench, brought Heriot’s back within three.
After a period of turgid mistake-ridden rugby the game burst back into life led by a thumping tackle from Roff which left the ball loose. Bambrick hacked ahead with Cullen in hot pursuit, and he in turn slotted a neat pass into space for the onrushing Bambrick to dive over and score.
Heriot’s were certainly not out of the game, entering Jed territory through the destructive carrying of Johnston, and after several phases it was that man Robertson who went in under heavy pressure from Cullen to finally get his name on the scoresheet. Wilson was off target this time leaving Jed with a slender three-point lead.
But Jed stretched away again with a Finlay Scott penalty, and as the conditions worsened the tension began to grow. There was the sense that either team could take the win during the final minutes, but wave upon wave of home attacks could not penetrate the blue and yellow wall.
“In general we played a good game and did a lot of the things we were hoping to do,” said Heriots coach Phil Smith. “When it came down to it, two big errors that cost is 14 points. What’s important is we took two points today with Musselburgh away next week.”
Heriot’s Blues: R Steele; B Evans, P Christie, O Quinn, C Robertson; R Carmichael©, R Thomson; J Lascelles, M Toward, A Bogle, C Jupp, M Keough, M Hughes, I Hill, A Johnston. Subs: D Dineen, M Bouab, S Wallace, G Wilson, I Kay.
Jed-Forest: C Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young, R Yourston, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, A Bambrick; G Paxton, F Scott, P Ferreira, D Wardrop, C Skeldon©, Garry Young, B Roff, B Fotheringham. Subs: J Story, A Sweenie, M Atkinson, B McNeil, O Cranston.
Referee: Ciaran Stark
Heriot’s Blues: Tries: Johnston, Thomson, Dineen, Robertson; Cons: Christie, Wilson.
Jed-Forest: Tries: Cullen, Ferreira 2, Bambrick; Cons: Scott 2; Pen: Scott; DG: Munro.
Scoring sequence (Heriot’s Blues first): 0-5; 5-5; 5-10; 5-12; 10-12; 12-12; 12-17; 12-19; (h-t) 12-22; 17-22; 19-22; 19-27; 24-27; 24-30.
Man-of-the-Match: Jed stand-off Gary Munro marshalled his team expertly. He had a hand in Cullen’s try and was excellent all day in a high-pressure game. His kicking game was inch perfect and he showed up well in defence
Talking point: Heriot’s head away to Musselburgh next week in a crucial clash, The East Lothian side will be fired up at home in what will be a massive relegation scrap. Heriot’s will need to raise the intensity to prevail at Stoneyhill.