Heriot’s captain Jack Turley has pointed to the growing belief in the Goldenacre ranks as a crucial factor in his team’s progress this season. Turley and his colleagues have moved up to second place in the RBS Premiership table after taking all five league points from a 30-17 win at home to Edinburgh Accies.
Heriot’s were rarely threatened in a match, billed as a ‘fill the terrace’ promotion, that drew a crowd of around 2000, building an early lead that proved too much even for comeback specialists Accies to overcome.
The hosts played as a cohesive unit and capitalised on the opportunities that came their way, ultimately running in five tries. And Turley believes that their winning rugby is a product of the burgeoning belief among his colleagues.
“In the past when our backs have been against wall, we have tended to shy away but this year we have made an effort to really step up to it and rise to the challenge. Everyone is just buying into it,” said the Kiwi for whom the win was particularly sweet as it atoned for last year’s narrow loss in the same fixture – his only defeat in Heriot’s colours.
And Saturday’s win against near neighbours who failed to reproduce the sparkling performance they delivered in the victory over Melrose seven days earlier has emphasised the Goldenacre men’s status as contenders for a top-four finish and potential title challenge if they can sustain current form.
“That’s kind of made a statement and we have to take every week as it comes. It’s about collecting points and that’s all we can ask for from the boys – just get out there and take the four points each week, hopefully five,” added Turley, whose enthusiasm for the role of skipper has evidently been heightened by his eagerness to make up for lost time after missing much of last season through injury. “I think we’ve shown that we can mix it with the big players in the Premiership. I hope we can keep it going.”
The pattern of Saturday’s encounter was established inside the opening quarter when tries from Murray Douglas and Harry Boisseau, plus a penalty by Graham Wilson, were just reward for the home side’s superiority.
Accies eventually gained a foothold in the game but they were twice held up over the line – something that occurred for a third time later in the match – before Jamie Sole darted in for a try. However, Heriot’s had the final word in the first half when Russell Nimmo touched down.
Boisseau bagged the bonus-point try early in the second half. However, Accies were thrown an opportunity to battle back when a red card for George Turner left the hosts with 14 men for the final quarter.
Nyle Godsmark raced over to claim a second Accies try and for the first time the hosts looked shaky. However, the pace of Colin Goudie saw the winger race in from 60 metres for the decisive score and, although Andrew Findlater dotted down for a try, converted by Stuart Evans, that left the visitors with six minutes to secure a try that would have yielded two bonus points, they failed to add to their tally.
There was no complaint from Accies coach Jonny Else, who said: “Heriot’s were the better team. The first half performance wasn’t good enough from us. They were clinical and they took their chances.”
And, he was equally succinct in his analysis of the shortcomings of his team, adding: “We weren’t at the races first half. Second half I was a wee bit happier. We can’t afford to give teams, especially teams like Heriot’s, chances like that – even in the second half when they were down to 14 men.”
And, in attempting to explain why his side had failed to reproduce the outstanding performance that had seen off Melrose, he stated: “It just highlights how tight and strong the league is. Heriot’s were quick out of the traps and they were clinical. It’s one of the days. – it’s a bad day at the office, but Heriot’s were worth their win. We came back in the second half, we looked strong but we just weren’t clinical enough.”
Scorers: Heriot’s: Tries: Douglas, Boisseau (2), Nimmo, Goudie. Conversion: Wilson. Penalty: Wilson. Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Sole, Godsmark, Findlater. Con: Evans.
Heriot’s: L Steele, C Goudie, K Buchan, C Ferguson, H Boisseau, M Nimmo, G Wilson, C Owenson, K Bryce, S Mustard, R Nimmo, M Douglas, J Turley, A Henderson, J Hill. Subs Used: G Turner, M MacDonald, C Mulligan, M Learmonth, O Brown.
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, N Godsmark, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, S Pecqueur, A Blair, R Bonner, A Allan, M Liness, P Cringle, G Campbell, A Findlater, R Snape, H Watson, N Aitken. Subs Used: D Morrison, S Strudwick, T Stuart, M Coupar, S Evans.
Referee: D Changleng.