Super Series Sprint: Heriot’s up and running with win over spirited Southern Knights

Battling Borderers claim bonus-point with two late tries

Heriot's defeated Southern Knights at Goldenacre. Image: Jonathan Cruickshank
Heriot's defeated Southern Knights at Goldenacre. Image: Jonathan Cruickshank

Heriot’s 36

Southern Knights 22

GARY HEATLY @ Goldenacre

HERIOT’S got their first win of the Super Series Sprint on the board as they ran in five tries to get past a Southern Knights side who rallied late on to pick up a four-try bonus point.

The 36-22 bonus point victory at Goldenacre was built on a strong performance by the home team’s forwards, their driving mauls from attacking line-outs proving especially fruitful.

Two weeks into the season and the Knights squad has already been stretched by injuries and it showed at times, but this was a better performance than against Watsonians in round one.


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“I said to the boys after the game, we have to be happy with the result and you should never take winning for granted, but at the same time I thought we made it hard for ourselves,” Heriot’s head coach Ben Cairns said. “We were not accurate in the first half and they fed off our mistakes. In the second half we came out and were more clinical and put the game away.

“It was a bit frustrating to lose two late tries, but in general I am happy, the guys are working hard and we can build from here.”

Early on, Scotland Sevens man Grant Hughes had a good break for Heriot’s and then skipper Iain Wilson found some space out wide and tried to feed the ball back inside to full-back Dan King, but it went loose. From the resultant scrum, tight-head Craig Bachurzewski, the Poland cap, helped his side win a penalty near their own line to get the visitors pumped up.

Back-row Allan Ferrie then produced a strong run through the middle for the Knights in the seventh minute, but support was in short supply and the chance was snuffed out.

Good chasing from Heriot’s after a delicate kick through swamped Knights full-back Callum Grieve and a penalty was awarded for holding on. The ball was kicked to touch, the line-out from five metres out functioned well and home back-row Wallace Nelson went over for a try. Stand-off Ross Jones converted for 7-0.

The same thing could have happened in the 15th minute, but an overthrown line-out allowed the Knights to turn defence into attack. Eventually scrum-half Rory Brand fed centre Murray Wilson who in turn sent winger Ollie Melville, a Melrose Sevens winner with Monaco last week, away. He has pace, but was well marshalled by the scrambling defence.

In the 25th minute there was a flashpoint when Heriot’s earned a penalty 10 metres out from the Knights line. As they tried to retrieve the ball, Brand of the Knights wouldn’t let go and home hooker Cammy Fenton flew at him with a shove. Referee Ross Mabon conferred with his touch judge and, rightly, yellow carded the former Edinburgh pro.

With 14 men the home side twice came close to scoring. First, King’s pass to winger Aidan Boyle going loose with the line in sight. Then, a couple of phases later, Jones’ cross-field kick was nearly taken in the air by other wing Sam Pecqueur, but it was just lost.

Knights had a chance to take some pressure off and were moving forward from the resultant scrum with a penalty on the cards which would have allowed them to exit, but skipper Harry Borthwick picked up and lost the ball in contact, putting the pressure back on. A couple of minutes later a Jones penalty made it 10-0.

Knights needed to score next before Fenton returned – and they did. After a bit of ‘kick-tennis’ the ball was loose in midfield, 30 or so metres short of the home try line. Knights stand-off Harris Rutherford did well to scoop up and offload to Ferrie and the openside did the rest. Grieve converted for 10-7.

Just before the half-time interval Heriot’s, now back to 15 men, scored their second try and it was a carbon copy of their first, Nelson again the beneficiary and the conversion by Jones made it 17-7.

 

Knights fought back three minutes into the second half when, after an attacking line-out 10 metres from the Heriot’s line, Brand fired a lovely pass to centre Robbie Chalmers who powered over, but the conversion was missed so it was 17-12.

Heriot’s third try then came in the 49th minute after a 50-22 kick got them into a good position. From the resultant line-out they created space and Pecqueur held his width to go in at the corner against a narrow defence. Jones converted.

In the 56th minute, Knights got themselves into a good position a few metres from the Heriot’s line. They perhaps should have kept trucking up with the forwards, but they went wide and the opportunity was wasted.

Winger Aidan Cross then had a good jinking run, but too often the Knights attack lacked direction and heading into the last quarter they were still 12 points down.

And that deficit grew in the 66th minute when Heriot’s got on the front foot and Boyle fed a lovely back-of-the-hand pass to back-row Wilson who scored the home team’s bonus-point try out wide. Jones converted.

With four minutes to go, Heriot’s scored try number five, Wilson going over from short range, but there was no conversion this time.

Then, with two minutes to go, Knights got a score from a driving line-out maul, with replacement hooker James Bett going over, and the Borderers showed real heart to score another five pointer 60 seconds later, replacement Kieran Clark, Melville and scorer Grieve combining.

“The players are really disappointed, they are training well and they are desperate for a win, but these things will take time, it is just where we are at the minute,” said Knights head coach Alan Tait. “We are getting done physically in the line-outs and mauls in games and it is hard to win rugby matches when that is happening, but we have to keep the young guys’ heads up.

“There were a number of positives and the way the team battled to get the bonus point at the end shows the spirit within the group.”

 

Teams –

Heriot’s: D King; A Boyle, M Davidson, G Hughes, S Pecqueur; R Jones, E McAra; J Scott, C Fenton, C Ramsay, C Jupp, R Seydak, W Nelson, I Wilson©, C Anderson. Subs: M Liness, A Munro, C Keen, E McVie, C Cobbett, F Campbell, M Russell, J Couper.

Southern Knights: C Grieve; A Cross, M Wilson, R Chalmers, O Melville; H Rutherford, R Brand; J Dobie, B McLean, C Bachurzewski, C Skeldon, E Demirel, C Thompson, A Ferrie, H Borthwick©. Subs: F Barry, J Bett, B Fotheringham, E Harrison, S Derrick, A Hall, K Clark, C Davidson.

Referee: Ross Mabon.

 

Scorers –

Heriot’s: Tries: Nelson 2, Pecqueur, Wilson 2; Pen: Jones; Cons: Jones 4.

Southern Knights: Tries: Ferrie, Chalmers, Bett, Grieve; Con: Grieve.

Scoring Sequence (Heriot’s first): 5-0; 7-0; 10-0; 10-5; 10-7; 15-7; 17-7 (ht); 17-12; 22-12; 24-12; 29-12; 31-12; 36-12; 36-17; 36-22.

 

Yellow card –

Heriot’s: Fenton (25mins)

 

Man-of-the-Match: For the visitors Allan Ferrie in the back-row produced another solid performance at this level, but it was the hosts who were on top in the main here and their own back-rower Wallace Nelson gets the nod for his two tries in the first half.

Talking point: Knights are working hard, there were some definite positives here and improvements from seven days before, but their squad depth is being tested already. Next Saturday evening they welcome Edinburgh Rugby A to The Greenyards  a near fully pro outfit  and that could be a tough 80 minutes for them.


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About Gary Heatly 463 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

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