Boroughmuir Bears 14
COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
HERIOT’S made an early statement of intent when they eased to a bonus point win in theiropening fixture of the FOSOC Super Series campaign. The Goldenacre side took time to settle but once they found their stride they produced some outstanding rugby. Bears, who were missing several players through injury and under-20s duty, performed well in flashes, but never looked likely to bounce back after conceding three first half tries without reply.
Heriot’s coach Ben Cairns praised his men for their performance, saying: “We’re delighted to put that kind of scoreline on a quality side. There are bits we can do better, but we played some really good stuff. I thought the foundations of our game were really good. We kicked pretty well, our set-piece went well. That set us up and I thought there were some really nice classy moments.”
However, he is conscious of the fact that Bears were well short of full strength, adding: “They are undercooked and they have a few guys to come back, so they will get stronger from here, but it’s a good start for us. We were probably set up to start well because we only had three new players to the club.”
His counterpart, Graham Shiel, knows there will be better days ahead. He was forced to call up several players as emergency cover, admitting: “Our squad is at the bare bones at the moment, although that affords opportunities for other guys. We blooded a few who have never played at this level before. Whilst it’s difficult to accept the result, that’s the reality. There’s a lot of criticism around the competition but we’ve brought in some young players and there is a big gulf between where they have been operating and where they need to operate.”
Of the performance, he said: “It’s tough to take obviously. I knew it was going to be tough against Heriot’s, who are a good side and are very settled. We’ve got a number of moving parts and we just weren’t at the races. We turned over possession and they capitalised on it. We had very little territory and you can’t win games at this level when that’s the case.”
The opening exchanges were notable only for errors by both sides and there were five minutes on the clock before either side visited the opposition 22. That came courtesy of a penalty despatched into touch by Bruce Houston, and another offence yielded a second penalty in front of the posts, with the stand off opting for the three points.
That sparked Bears into life and they enjoyed a spell of pressure that stretched the visitors’ defence without posing any threat to the line.
Heriot’s extended their advantage after 20 minutes. A line-out 10 metres out was gathered by Charlie Jupp and the ensuing maul ended with Iain Wilson resuming where he left off in the Sprint Series and stretching over for a try. Houston added the extras via the post for a 10 point lead.
The gap continued to grow as Heriot’s clicked through the gears and a multi-phase attack ended with Sinjin Broad popping a pass up for Houston to dot down in the corner. And the hosts were left facing a massive task when George Barber freed Jupp to thunder over for try number three, with Houston slotting the conversion.
A rapid response was essential, and Bears produced that with an attack that drew a penalty in front of the Heriot’s posts. A tap and go by Arthur Allen was foiled just shy of the line, but Jack Fisher completed the task at the second time of asking, and Gavin Lockhart stroked over the conversion to offer the hosts a glimmer of hope at the interval.
However, the deficit was back to 20 points within two minutes of the restart when Broad picked up at a close range scrum and darted down the wing for the bonus point score. And the visitors continued to harvest points, with a slick handling move sending Lewis Wells in for try number five.
Heriot’s piled on further pressure and Matt Davidson was next on the scoresheet when his elusive running allowed him to slice through the opposition defence. And the same player found a gaping hole to race in with 10 minutes left – Houston converting.
Heriot’s breached the half century when Ross Jones raced onto his own chip to bag try number eight before Houston added the extras.
Bears had the last word when Josh King hammered his way over from a close range penalty, and Callum Anderson converted. But that did little to dampen the satisfaction of a job well done by Heriot’s.
Boroughmuir Bears: C Ramm (E Muirhead 54); M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson (C Anderson 55), J Jenkins; G Lockhart (C Anderson 49), R Swann (J Beveridge 71), L Alessandri (K Crainey 69), A Allen (Z Griffiths 78), M McGinley (M Goodwin 71), M Loboda (L Habib 69), J Fisher, J King, S McGinley, C Keddie© (K Westlake 54).
Heriot’s: R Jones; G Barber, M Davidson, G Hughes (F Campbell 61 (B Evans 67)), L Wells; B Houston, S Broad (E McAra 53); C Keen (J Scott 53), M Liness (C Fenton 50), E McLaren (S Cessford 53), R Seydak, J Campbell, C Jupp (W Nelson 67), I Wilson© (B Smith 50), C Anderson.
Referee: Ian Kenny
Boroughmuir: Tries: Fisher, King; Cons: Lockhart, Anderson.
Heriot’s: Tries: Wilson, Houston, Jupp, Broad, Wells, Davidson 2, Jones; Cons : Houston 4; Pen:- Houston.
Scoring sequence: 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 0-15; 0-20; 0-22; 5-22; 7-22 (h-t) 7-27; 7-32; 7-37; 7-42; 7-44; 7-49; 7-51; 12-51; 14-51.
Man-of-the-Match: Heriot’s had several contenders, with Matt Davidson catching the eye, and the half-backs performing well, but Charlie Jupp was outstanding in the set piece and the loose, and clinched the award with a try.
Talking point: Heriot’s showed signs of improvement during the Sprint Series and, while one match offers limited insight, the upward trajectory appears to be continuing.