Edinburgh Accies 12
COLIN RENTON @ Raeburn Place
AN 11-TRY tally that included a personal haul of six for winger Craig Robertson enabled Heriot’s to maintain their unblemished start to the campaign. And the Goldenacre side showed that they have several weapons in their armoury – the previous week’s win had been large built on forward power while this success featured a display of the pace that resides behind the scrum.
For Robertson it was a personal triumph but there were also impressive contributions from several of his colleagues, notably Rob Kay, whose powerful running yielded two tries before he left the field after half an hour.
“I thought they were fantastic and they came here with a real hunger to do as well as they could. They obviously surpassed that. It just sets them up nicely,” said Heriot’s coach Phil Smith, whose only minor gripe was that his side had started the second half slowly. ‘But when you are 45 points up at half time it’s difficult to keep motivated. How can I complain?”
Accies are clearly finding it tough to adjust to life at the higher level but they offered glimpses of their capabilities, although they will need to do so more consistently if they are to break their duck.
Assistant coach Mark Appleson was clear. “The big thing for us is that we can’t let this define our season. We are new to the league and we know that we are learning. We’ve got to learn a bit quicker and there are major things that we need to improve, but we can’t be too down on the guys,” he said.
He acknowledged that his men had conceded several soft tries in the opening quarter but remains upbeat. “We are going onto the pitch not quite believing that we deserve to be in the league. Everything we do at the moment is just a little bit more tentative than it was last year. I am certain it will come once we put in a full performance.”
Heriot’s were impressive throughout and within two minutes illustrated their forward power. A catch-and-drive from a close-range lineout ended with Jason Hill applying the final touch.
Accies, whose stand-out performer was Edinburgh prop Rory Sutherland, tested the visitors with some daring, unstructured rugby but it was Heriot’s who carried the greater threat and they doubled their tally in nine minutes when a sniping run by Andrew Simmers created the space for Robertson to exchange passes with Michael Liness and dart in at the corner for the first of his collection.
And he made it a double within a couple of minutes, this time freed by Robert Kay. Ross Jones found his range to add the extra two points. The visitors sealed the bonus point after only 14 minutes when Jamie Loomes failed to control a kick ahead and Kay pounced to gather ad race in between the posts, leaving Jones a simple conversion.
The same duo took the tally past 30 points when the centre intercepted in his own half and raced clear while Jones again added the extras.
Robertson completed his hat trick when he took a pass from Charlie Simpson and rounded the final defender to dot down. Jones banged over the conversion. After a 15 minute scoring lull, the visitors ended the half with try number seven. Ruaridh Leishman was held up over the line, the ensuing scrum provided the platform and the ball was flipped inside where Jones gathered and crosssed for a touchdown which he also converted.
So far in the campaign, Accies have made a habit of performing better in the second half of their matches, and they restarted with intent when Belgian international James Pearse – on as a sub at half-time – shunted aside an attempted tackle and thundered over the whitewash.
And, building on that breakthrough, they clawed back a further seven points when a renewed spell of pressure ended with Callum Ramm slicing through for a score which Loomes converted.
Heriot’s stemmed the tide and enjoyed another spell of pressure that ended with Robertson squeezing in for his fourth try of the afternoon to bring up the half century. Then, on a day when he could do little wrong, the winger made it five when he crashed through two tackles and went in at the corner – Jones converting.
And he wasn’t quite finished, crashing over for number six before Hill topped and tailed the scoring when he barged past the last man before diving over to leave Jones a simple conversion.
Edinburgh Accies: J Loomes; R Chalmers, C Gray, N Armstrong, C Ramm; R Mill, M Love; R Sutherland, C Black©, C Lacour, R Lovett, M Badenhorst, A Inwood, S Hegarty, R Campbell. Subs: N Hall, J Pearse, A Wood, R Davis, W Stephen.
Heriot’s: C Simpson; J Blain, R Jones, R Kay, C Robertson; D Martin, A Simmers; M Bouab, M Liness, S Cessford, C Jupp, A Sinclair, R Leishman, I Wilson©, J Hill. Subs: A Johnstone, J Scott, J McLean, A Ball, S Edwards.
Referee: Ian Kenny
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Pearse, Ramm ; Con: Loomes
Heriot’s: Tries: Hill 2, Robertson 6, Kay 2, Jones; Cons: Jones 8.
Scoring sequence: (Edinburgh Accies first): 0-5, 0-10, 0-15, 0-17, 0-22, 0-24, 029, 0-31, 0-36, 0-38, 0-43, 0-45 (h-t) 5-45, 10-45, 12-45, 12-50, 12-55, 12-57, 12-62, 12-64, 12-69, 12-71
Man-of-the-match: It has to be Craig Robertson although it is worth noting that he worked hard off the ball as well as making a telling contribution to the try haul.
Talking point: Heriot’s will have tougher days over the course of the season, but they have shown over the opening weeks that they can win in different ways and are shaping up as title contenders.