Boroughmuir Bears 25
GARY HEATLY @ Goldenacre
BOROUGHMUIR BEARS fought back from 17-0 down and held Heriot’s up over the try-line during the last play of the game to secure a thrilling 25-22 win at Goldenacre.
When Heriot’s led by two converted tries and a penalty to nothing – with the Bears not firing a shot – after 31 minutes of this lunchtime contest, there only looked like being only one winner.
However, a mixture of the Bears hitting their straps and Heriot’s set-piece starting to struggle got the men from Meggetland back into the contest. They were just seven points behind at the break and then led 25-22 heading into the final minute.
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Heriot’s look like they might have grabbed the win at the end, but referee Jonny Perriam adjudged the ball had been held up as a sea of bodies piled over the try line.
It was a dramatic end to a game which ebbed and flowed, with the Bears eventually taking four points and Heriot’s just one as they both continue to fight it out for play-off semi-final spots.
“We didn’t impose ourselves in the early part of the game, our warm-up had been a bit ‘off’ perhaps and we maybe took that into the opening period,” Bears head coach Graham Shiel said. “Heriot’s were allowed to get on the front foot and we let them play the game they wanted, but things started to click towards half-time
“We had a good chat at the break and we always felt if we got the ball moving and played the game we wanted then there were points out there for us.
“When we went ahead with a couple of minutes to go I thought we had done enough, but Heriot’s came back at us and to hold them up late on shows the spirit that we have in the group.”
The visitors should have taken the lead in the seventh minute when they won a kickable penalty which stand-off Jack Bergin took, but his trusty right boot let him down and he sliced it wide of the uprights.
Five minutes later and it was the home side who did get the first points on the board. A good penalty kick to touch earned them a line-out within yards of the Bears line and, after it was taken safely and they went through a few phases, back-row Iain Wilson went over from short range. Skipper Bruce Houston converted and it was 7-0.
When they had possession, Heriot’s were looking after the ball better than their visitors and in the 19th minute that paid off again. Winger Sam Pecqueur went close out on the left, but was stopped just short of the try line by some scrambling defence, but a penalty was conceded meaning Heriot’s had a ‘free ball’, so stand-off Houston sent up cross-field kick which evaded Bears winger Rufus McLean and was caught perfectly by Heriot’s number 14 Nyle Godsmark, who scored the try. Houston converted from out wide and it was 14-0.
Four minutes later Bergin had another chance to get his side’s first points of the day, but his long range penalty effort fell short and was then cleared, then just after the half hour mark Houston managed to extend his side’s advantage to 17 points with a penalty.
Bears began to get Glasgow full-back Josh McKay on the ball for the first time as half-time approached and a couple of slaloming runs showed his danger, helping build toward a crucial score a couple of minutes before the break, scored by scrum-half Ruairidh Swan from short range.
Bergin kicked the conversion then added a penalty from in front of the posts on the stroke of half0time to close the gap to seven points.
Just before the hour mark, a long spell of possession and pressure for the Bears paid off when second-row Callum Atkinson managed to get over for a try. Bergin, not having his best day with the boot, could not convert from just to the right of the posts though and Heriot’s still led 17-15.
The visitors kept the pressure on, however, and with 15 minutes to go a Bergin penalty made it 18-17 in their favour.
That seemed to spark Heriot’s back into life and they began running better angles with replacement props Struan Cessford and Euan McLaren leading from the front. Indeed, from an attacking line-out it was Cessford thought he he had scored, but the referee and his assistant could not see a clear grounding.
The Heriot’s charge kept coming and from the next attacking line-out on the other side of the pitch teenage hooker Elliot Young went over for a try with the help of his pack mates. Houston missed the conversion from out wide and it was 22-18 to the hosts with five minutes to play.
The game certainly was not over though, with No 8 Gregor Brown scoring a try for the Bears in the 78th minute which was converted by Bergin, before that 80th minute drama.
“To be 17-0 up after 30 odd minutes and then snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at the end is a sore one to take, we are all bitterly disappointed and shaking our heads,” said Fin Gillies, the Heriot’s co-coach. “It would have been great to have got the try at the end, but if I am being honest it would have papered over some cracks.
“The penalty count against us was a disaster – and a lot of them were silly penalties too that were needlessly given away by us – while our set-piece was poor and it meant that we could not launch our strike plays as we would have liked.
“Still, after being so far ahead in the first half we should have managed things better and played the game in the right areas. It was certainly one that got away from us.”
Heriot’s: D King; N Godsmark, M Davidson, C Hutchison, S Pecqueur; B Houston©, J Gelderbloom; J Scott, M Liness, D Gamble, F Hastie, R Seydak, C Anderson, I Wilson, J Mann. Subs: E Young, S Cessford, E McLaren, R Hart, S Wallace, E McAra, K Browne, B Kay.
Boroughmuir Bears: J McKay; C Ramm, R Kerr, D Munn, R McLean; J Bergin, R Swan; C McFeat Smith, I Carmichael, M McGinley, J Fisher, C Atkinson, E Ferrie, C Keddie©, G Brown. Subs: J Blyth Lafferty, M Jones, L Alessandri, L McConnell, P Bogie, M Johnstone, A Scott, K Johnstone.
Referee: Jonny Perriam.
Heriot’s: Tries: Wilson, Godsmark, Young; Pen: Houston; Cons: Houston 2.
Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Swan, Atkinson, Brown; Pens: Bergin 2; Cons: Bergin 2.
Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 17-0; 17-5; 17-7; 17-10 (h-t); 17-15; 17-18; 22-18; 22-23; 22-25.
Man-of-the-Match: When they were 17-0 down, the Bears needed their big men up front to step up to the mark and they did just that. Front-rower Callum McFeat Smith played well as did skipper Craig Keddie in the back-row, but second-row Callum Atkinson gets the nod here.
Talking point: How good is it to have nearly all of the Scotland under-20 players back from their extended break after the Summer Series? Players like Bears centre Duncan Munn are a joy to watch and supporters want to see the best young talent playing in this competition regularly.
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I’m sure this proves that having faith in the young talent available bodes well for the future. hooker JBL comes on he’s ferocious LM ferocious what are they feeding them up at Meggetland and before you say it Bmuir fan yes, Liam And Jerry fan yes, followed the club for years and we have not had exciting players this young for a good while hopefully we can keep these two
This was indeed an exciting game to watch. Again, at the end, it was the strength and resilience of the Bears forwards that proved to be the decisive factor that led to the Bears victory. These Bears can fly!