Triumphant Edinburgh Accies coach Derek O’Riordan has urged his men to move on from Saturday’s impressive 29-24 BT Cup victory at home to Heriot’s and refocus on the task of earning promotion to the top flight.
Despite starting as underdogs, O’Riordan’s side remained composed as they bounced back from being 14-3 in arrears early in the second period to bag four tries then hold off a late Heriot’s rally and secure a place in the last eight. But there will be little time to savour the moment, with two key league matches before the Christmas break.
“It was a one-off game that doesn’t really factor in to what we are about this season. Our focus now is just on going back and putting in those performances in the league to try and get where we want to be next year which is in the Premiership,” said O’Riordan, who was delighted at the spirit his men had shown to overhaul opponents who have shown good league form over recent weeks.
“What we said at half time was just about being comfortable with the fact that we had to work and not go inside our shells and give that extra 10 per cent which is what it was going to take to win.”
Accies were well served by several of their young guns throughout a fine contest. But it was two key interventions by the experienced Sam Johnson that proved pivotal.
The visitors led 7-3 at the break after Jack Turley dotted down and Ross Jones converted before Richard Mill responded with a penalty. The gap grew when former Accies man Michael Liness crossed the whitewash shortly after the restart and Jones again added the extras.
However, the home side clawed back five points when Shaun Gunn plunged over. And they edged ahead when Conor Hirini finished off after a break by Matt Coupar and Callum Ramm converted.
Johnson’s first contribution was a try-saving tackle on Charlie Simpson. Accies capitalised on that escape with a 60 metre interception score by Neil Armstrong, converted by Ramm, who also booted the additional points after Johnson pounced following a crunching tackle on Craig Robertson and scampered down the flank.
Heriot’s were not finished. Robertson sprinted in and Jones converted then added a penalty to set up a fraught finale. But the Accies defence held firm to clinch victory and leave Heriot’s coach Phil Smith fuming.
“It was absolutely disgusting. The first half was like a defensive exercise. We had the ball for five minutes and scored a try and we defended for 35. In the second half it went to 14-3 and we went into cruise control. They got a bit of a sniff, and we didn’t react,” he said.
Elsewhere, Watsonians ousted Glasgow Hawks at Old Anniesland. Mark Bertram claimed three of the Myreside men’s five tries, with Andrew Chalmers and Mike Allen also touching down as Sonians emerged as 34-19 winners.
Boroughmuir fell behind to an early penalty against Gala but responded in some style, crossing the whitewash 11 times including doubles for Greg Cannie, Ronan Kerr and Jordan Edmunds, to chalk up a 67-3 result.
However, there was disappointment for Curie Chieftains, who suffered an agonising 26-22 loss under the lights at Ayr on Friday night. Chieftains led 15-0 through tries by Thomas Gordan and Ruaraidh Smith plus a penalty and a conversion by Jamie Forbes and still had a three-point advantage at the break. After falling behind, a penalty try restored the Chieftain’s led but a converted injury time score by the hosts sent the Malleny Park out of the competition.