Boroughmuir Bears 26
COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
BOROUGHMUIR BEARS took a significant step towards securing a top three spot in the FOSROC Super6 Championship with a performance that was at times scintillating. It was a big disappointment for the visitors, whose recent upturn in form was halted, although they could take heart from the fact that they remained in the game until the closing stages and looked set to take at least a narrow defeat bonus until Jack Bergin landed a late penalty.
However, the night belonged to Bears, whose coach Graham Shiel was understandably delighted. “We have come a long way in a very short time”, he said. “That performance, regardless of the result, was impressive and that was probably the most pleasing part for us. Against Ayr we got completely overwhelmed and we struggled and we learned from that. Tonight against really good opposition we were composed and accurate in a lot of the areas where we wanted to be.”
Both sides went into the fixture in upbeat mood after free-scoring wins in their most recent fixtures. And the confidence generated by those results was evident as Heriot’s flung the ball around in the opening minutes without threatening the home line, before a rampaging run by Callum Smith and a bristling effort by Joe Jenkins showed the Bears’ intent. It was frantic stuff and great to watch, although it inevitably led to handling errors.
Bergin opened the scoring with a 40-metre penalty after Smith collared Dan King, who failed to release the ball. Heriot’s resumed their earlier ascendancy, but again failed to capitalise on a renewed spell of pressure.
Meanwhile, in the week that he signed a partnership contract with Edinburgh, Bruce Houston was pulling the strings for the visitors. He had a chance to square matters after 26 minutes but opted to go for touch with close range penalty. That decision paid off when the Heriot’s pack launched a powerful line-out drive that ended with Michael Liness touching down. Houston’s touchline conversion rattled back off the post.
A similar move five minutes later was foiled by the home defence, before Jed Gelderbloom almost wriggled over with the recycled ball. The hosts ended the half with another flurry of attacks. Tom Brown carried play into opposition territory, but a knock-on as Bears attempted to prise open the Heriot’s defence and they reverted to Bergin’s boot to edge into a single-point lead as the players went off for a hard-earned half time refreshment.
Bears were back on the attack in the early part of the second half, but an overthrow at a close range prevented them from converting pressure into points. However, the momentum remained with the hosts and it took a gutsy defensive effort by the visitors to ensure the score remained unchanged as the clock ticked past 50 minutes.
A score looked inevitable, and so it proved when the home side’s patience paid off as another multi-phase effort ended with Marcus Goodwin hammering his way over the whitewash. Bergin’s conversion left Heriot’s needing two scores. And the visitors’ hopes took another dent after 63 minutes when Josh King followed Goodwin’s example and powered over, with Bergin again adding the extras.
However, Heriot’s were not yet ready to concede and Callum Anderson capped a rare foray into home territory with a determined finish. Houston’s conversion meant the visitors were still in the game.
Bergin responded with another penalty, but the visitors refused to buckle and teenager Elliot Young raced in for a debut try that meant the game was still alive, before Bergin banged over another penalty to leave the Goldenacre side empty handed.
“What we’re trying to do as a squad … that wasn’t in the script”, said a disappointed Heriot’s coach Fin Gillies. “We got sucked in. They sprang the trap and we got caught in it. They were playing that fast-flowing type of game and we just got sucked in. That defeat hurts more than the defeats against Watsons and Ayr. It’s not a linear path that we’re on, so maybe we are taking a step back to take a lot of strides forward.”
Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown (A Scott 69); C Ramm, R Kerr, S Robeson, J Jenkins; J Bergin, R Swan; C Smith (B Sweet 74), I Carmichael (J Blyth Lafferty 57), M Goodwin (M McGinley 57), J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King, S McGinley, C Keddie©.
Heriot’s: D King (R Jones 52); F Jones, N Godsmark, K Browne (B Kay 52), S Pecqueur; B Houston, J Gelderbloom (M McAndrew 52); J Scott (C Keen 46), M Liness (E Young 57), E McLaren (S Cessford 57), F Hastie, R Seydak, R Leishman©, I Wilson (J Britton 29), L Govenlock (C Anderson 23).
Referee: Ross Mabon.
Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Goodwin, King; Cons: Bergin 2; Pens: Bergin 4.
Heriot’s: Tries: Liness, Anderson, Young; Con: Houston.
Scoring sequence (Bears first): 3-0; 3-5; 6-5 (h-t) 11-5; 13-5; 18-5; 20-5; 20-10; 20-12; 23-12; 23-17; 26-17.
Man-of-the-Match: In addition to his routine prop duties, Callum Smith caught the eye with thundering runs and deft handling to earn the nod over a host of others in the home camp.
Talking point: Boroughmuir continue to thrive with a style of rugby that is great to watch and difficult for opponents to handle. Confidence is building in the squad. Who knows where it may lead?