Heriot’s captain Graham Wilson was pleased his side got their RBS Premier B campaign off to a good start on Saturday – but he knows there is more to come from his charges.
The 20-3 victory at Myreside against Watsonians was not one for the purists with both sides making basic errors following the festive break, but the large crowd could not fault either side for effort.
With only two teams gaining a top flight place for 2012/13 from this section – which also contains Stewart’s Melville, Edinburgh Accies, Hawick, Jed, Glasgow Hawks and Hamilton – each match is like a cup final and it should make for some exciting tussles in the coming weeks.
In this Capital derby the hosts took an early lead, but Heriot’s were 7-3 up at the break and were in charge for the majority of the second period when they scored two further tries.
Scrum-half Wilson, who scored ten points on the day, said: “We have been planning for this match since we knew we were going to be in Premier B and we knew how crucial it was to get started with a win.
“We are obviously pleased to get that, but there is still a lot to work on and if we can be more clinical in the matches coming up then we feel we can challenge for a top two spot.
“We managed to play three friendlies in recent weeks while training has been a bit disjointed as a few of the boys were away for Christmas and such like, but we are all back now and focused on the job in hand.”
It was the Heriot’s pack that laid the foundations for this opening day win, the front-row of Alan Dymock, Kevin Bryce and Struan Cessford putting in a good shift, while Fraser Brown was impressive in the back-row until he had to leave the field with an ankle injury after just 28 minutes.
“The forwards gave us a good foundation and we had a lot of possession. We could have done with taking a few more of our chances to make things a bit more comfortable, but the pleasing thing is that we are getting into those positions regularly,” Wilson added.
The Heriot’s backline had an assured look to it with Wilson and centre Cameron Ferguson stand-outs and there is certainly competition for places with the likes of Scotland Sevens man Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Max Nimmo currently in the second XV.
Watsonians were dealt a blow in the run-up to kick-off when stand-off Ben Di Rollo had to return home suffering from a severe migraine.
It meant Dougie Brown, normally a centre or winger, starting in the pivotal position and while he did a good job the backline never quite clicked when it had the opportunity to attack.
The hosts took the lead after nine minutes when scrum-half Brian Walls kicked a penalty, but it was the visitors who led 7-3 at the interval.
Their converted try came in the 24th minute from former Scotland age-grade man Ferguson, the centre being the beneficiary of a neat inside pass from Wilson to score under the posts.
They should really have added a second try in the 34th minute only for centre Max Learmonth, back at his old club, to be tap tackled and knock the ball on with the try line only yards away.
After the break Wilson kicked a penalty in the 48th minute before winger Jamie Niven excited the home crowd with a blistering run up the left wing before it was ended by a good tackle by opposite number Colin Goudie.
Heriot’s extended the lead to 12 points just after the hour mark thanks to a try from back-row Robin Cessford and with nine minutes left Wilson ran in from 20 yards to seal victory. In the last few minutes referee Wayne Falla yellow carded replacement Stewart Mustard and stand-off OJ Brown for the visitors, but Watsonians could not break down the 13-men.
Watsonians player/coach Marcus Di Rollo will have been pleased with his side’s effort against a team who have been playing at a higher level than themselves over recent months, but knows they face another tough test against Glasgow Hawks in a fortnight.
Scorers: Watsonians: Pen – Walls. Heriot’s – Tries: Ferguson, R Cessford, G Wilson. Pens: G Wilson. Cons: G Wilson.
Watsonians: M Di Rollo; M Henderson, T Hart, R Aitken, J Niven; D Brown, B Walls; K Coertze, D Moussa, D Brass, M Rennie, C Harvey, C Scott, P Tuala, H Grant. Subs used: A Ross, E Hunter, C Martin.
Heriot’s: G Lawson; A Scott, M Learmonth, C Ferguson, C Goudie; OJ Brown, G Wilson; A Dymock. K Bryce, S Cessford, M Reid, R Martin, R Cessford, J Hill, F Brown. Subs used: G Cameron S Mustard, R Wilson, R Carmichael.
Referee: W Falla.