Beaming Heriot’s skipper Graham Wilson could not disguise his joy after leading the Goldenacre men to a gutsy 15-12 success in Saturday’s RBS Premiership clash at home to Boroughmuir.
Wilson was instrumental in a second-half performance brimming with character that brought rewards in the dying minutes of a hard-fought encounter. However, while the win has halted a losing run stretching back to the third weekend of the season, it was not sufficient to prolong the home side’s hopes of competing in the top eight after the split.
“We are just absolutely delighted to get a win. Obviously it’s been a tough period,” said Wilson. “We’ve got the players and we’ve been competing with teams, there’s just been a real lack of belief and confidence. It’s hard to get out of a losing rut so we are delighted to pick up a win”
The scrum-half admitted that confidence had been drained by the string of defeats, and it showed as the Meggetland side opened the scoring on their first sortie of note when Steve Wilson delivered a perfectly weighted pass to Iain Moody who raced over untouched.
Heriot’s responded with a another sustained assault on the visitors’ line, but again failed to score, leaving the visitors 7-0 ahead at the interval. However, Wilson insisted that he believed the hosts would be rewarded for their pressure.
“As long as we were playing in the right areas, I was confident that we would get over eventually.”
Wilson resorted to the boot to land a penalty early in the second half, but ’Muir responded with a try from hooker Sean Crombie, who powered through some weak tackling to take his touchdown tally to six for the season and establish a 12-3 advantage which the visitors held entering the final quarter.
Heriot’s continued to press, and eventually earned the payoff for their efforts when Fraser Brown drove over. With victory now within sight, the hosts mounted a strong finish and, after twice being held up over the line, they snatched the win – and with it the Clark Trophy, which is contested by these two sides – when Andy Scott squeezed in at the corner then Wilson steered the conversion between the sticks.
However, the absence of a bonus point condemned them to a slot in the eight-team dogfight for the two remaining places in next season’s ten-team first division. Wilson admitted that the defeat away to Aberdeen Grammar the previous Saturday had eliminated lingering Heriot’s hopes of finishing in the top eight.
“We knew we had to do something special against Aberdeen to keep us in the top eight. Obviously that didn’t happen so we started afresh and looked at the next two games as a chance to build confidence – just a chance to go out with no pressure on, shackles off and have a real go, then reassess and look to hit Premier B.”
While there was delight in the home camp, ’Muir coach Fergus Pringle was left puzzling over the performance of his side, which had displayed such flair when dismantling Glasgow Hawks a week earlier.
“We just weren’t clinical enough. In the first half, we should have used the wind a bit better to put them under pressure. We just didn’t get the platform and didn’t keep ball,” was Pringle’s assessment. “The guys have to realise that if you are not on your game in this league, you are going to struggle.”
Heriot’s: Tries: Brown, Scott. Conversion: G Wilson. Penalty: G Wilson.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Moody, Crombie. Conversion: Warnock.
Heriot’s: G Lawson, M Learmonth, C Ferguson, C Mark, C Goudie, S Hidalgo-Clyne, G Wilson, A Dymock, K Bryce, S Cessford, R Martin, M Reid, R Cessford, F Brown, J Hill. Subs Used: S Mustard, G Cameron, R Wilson, M Nimmo, A Scott.
Boroughmuir: S Visser, R Bradford, S Wilson, M Hare, J Webster, A Warnock, S Johnson, N Fraser, S Crombie, B Blair, G Scott, A Davidson, M Harvey, A Rose, I Mood. Subs Used: C MacKintosh, J Latta, J Swanson.
Referee: A Ireland (Grangemouth)