Boroughmuir Bears 21
GARY HEATLY @ Goldenacre
BOROUGHMUIR BEARS put in one of their best performances of the season to defeat Heriot’s at Goldenacre and finish fifth in the FOSROC Super6 for 2021.
The visitors had lost at the same ground seven days before, but played with energy from the start here in the fifth-place play-off, coming back from 5-0 behind to triumph 21-15.
Scrum-half Kaleem Barreto was again the catalyst, the livewire playmaker bagging two tries and being named Man-of-the-Match. It will be interesting to see if a professional deal comes his way soon. Glasgow Warriors Academy duo Rhys Tait, in the back-row, and Robbie McCallum, at centre, also showed their quality and defensively the whole team was hard to break down.
For Heriot’s, this defeat means they finish sixth in the competition and they were frustrated with their execution with ball in hand on a day when not much went right for them.
“The result is important of course, but what pleased me most was the performance,” Bears head coach Graham Shiel said. “We dominated large parts of the game and we attacked with real power and venom at times to score three good tries. Our game management was much better than last week. There was some moments of ill-discipline, but I am really chuffed for the boys and the management because it has been an up-and-down season and they have stuck in and given it everything.”
The home side took the lead after 11 minutes when good interplay between winger James Couper and centre Rory McMichael eventually saw the latter going over on the right, the ex-Scotland under-20 cap juggling with the ball before fully getting it under control and dotting down. Stand-off Bruce Houston missed the conversion.
Two moments in the 20th minute and the 26th minute summed up the way the Bears season has gone at times. In the earlier incident they had a number of phases of attacking play before knocking the ball on while in the Heriot’s 22, and six minutes later Tait popped a lovely ball up off the deck with the home try line in sight, and Barreto looked to have collected it, but the ball just went forward once again.
They did not let those errors inhibit them though and they went ahead in the 29th minute. Barreto weaved his way in over the try line – leaving a couple of defenders in his wake – and stand-off Martin Cimprich converted for a 7-5 advantage.
More was to follow just five minutes later, centre Duncan Munn breaking through the middle to set-up Barreto for his second try, this time under the sticks, after a lovely inside pass from the teenager. Cimprich converted and it was 14-5 to the Meggetland men.
Just before the interval, Heriot’s lost McMichael to what looked like a cut head and the experienced Stuart Edwards replaced him.
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After four minutes into of the second period a quick tap and run by Bears winger Jordan Edmunds nearly set-up Munn and then full-back Tom Brown for a try in the left-hand corner, but Heriot’s scrambling defence kept them out.
Hooker Finlay Scott and tighthead prop Martin McGinley were the next two to go close for the visitors who were on the front foot, however the hour mark came with a number of substitutions having been made by both sides and no more points on the board.
Heriot’s needed some inspiration – and quickly – and it came from skipper Iain Wilson. After a good line-out drive, the back-rower broke away from the pack and powered over the line. Houston could not convert and it was 14-10.
‘Muir did not panic though and with 14 minutes to go replacement Tom Banatvala, the Durham University loosehead prop who played for Scotland under-20 in the summer, went over for try number three from short range. Cimprich converted and it was 21-10.
Heriot’s full-back Ross Jones did score an unconverted try just before the end, but it was the Bears who came out on top.
Heriot’s head coach Andy Kelly said: “It was a frustrating game and not the way we wanted to end things. It was the story of our season all over again, really, creating chances, but not taking them.
“Credit to the Bears, they kept at us and in Kaleem Barreto they have a very dangerous nine. We gave away two penalties in the whole first half and he took advantage.
“I think this season has been a learning curve for some of our players, the league has moved on in quality from season one and it is very competitive, you are punished if you are off your game.”
Heriot’s: R Jones; J Couper (R Chalmers 71), R McMichael (S Edwards 39), R Kay, C Young; B Houston, A Ball (L Wheeldon 53); M Jones (C Keen 53), M Liness (C Fenton 53), D Gamble (J Scott 48), R Seydak, F Hastie (J McLean 71), R Leishman, I Wilson (captain), J Hill (C Marshall 65).
Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown (G Cannie 75); C Ramm, D Munn (R Kerr 78), R McCallum, J Edmunds; M Cimprich, K Barreto; C Lamberton (T Banatvala 53), F Scott (C McKenzie 53), M McGinley (J Drummond 59), J Fisher, E Ferrie, M Mncube (T Andrews 48), R Tait, C Keddie (captain, (S McGinley 67). Sub not used: K McGhie.
Referee: David Sutherland.
Heriot’s: Tries: McMichael, Wilson, R Jones.
Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Barreto 2, Banatvala. Cons: Cimprich 3.
Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 5-12; 5-14 (h-t), 10-14; 10-19; 10-21; 15-21.
Man of the Match: Bears scrum-half Kaleem Barreto has been the star of the season for the Bears, in fact he has been one of the best players in the tournament full stop, and his energy and skill led the visitors through this game.
Talking point: Just where will Barreto end up? He has been in the Scottish Rugby Academy set-up before, but with Ali Price, George Horne, Jamie Dobie and Sean Kennedy at Glasgow Warriors and Ben Vellacott, Henry Pyrgos and Charlie Shiel at Edinburgh Rugby as the senior nines, squad spots are at a real premium. Space should be found for his talent somewhere though, perhaps as one of the Scotland Sevens leaders when that squad is revamped in the coming weeks.