Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright acknowledges that there is still work to do before the Meggetland men can consider themselves safe in the BT Premiership.
However, few who witnessed Saturday’s 55-17 demolition of near-neighbours Watsonians will see Muir as relegation candidates, provided they can reproduce the controlled combination of aggression, pace and skill that contributed to a five-point haul to move them from the foot of the table.
“We played pretty well,” was Wright’s assessment of the hosts’ performance. “They had a few injuries so they weren’t as strong as they could be, but you only play the team that’s in front of you.”
“I thought we were more clinical at times around the breakdown and I thought our accuracy was a bit better, a bit more aggressive. That’s what we asked the guys to do and that’s what they have done, so from that point of view the game plan that we prepared during the week worked.
“It always pleasing as a coach when things you want to do happen. There is still loads to work on, but far more positives than negatives.”
By contrast, the visitors now sit in the bottom four and must battle to rediscover the buoyant wining mood that was evident at the start of the campaign.
With coach Marcus Di Rollo banished from the touchline for three weeks, assistant coach Simon Taylor was calling the shots on Saturday.
He was unflinching in his summation, saying: “We got an absolute lesson. We weren’t at the races. We weren’t good enough, we weren’t physical enough and we were lacking in a few areas. We just didn’t have the ammunition to come back in any meaningful way. We were just beaten by a better team.”
Matches against Glasgow Hawks and Currie before Christmas will be a test of character for the Myreside men, but Taylor is look forward to those encounters. “It’s a good challenge. Every team in the world gets a hammering at some point. So the challenge is to find ways to come back,” he added.
His side led 9-6 after 20 minutes on Saturday, with Andrew Chalmers kicking three penalties and Chris Laidlaw booting two for Muir. Laidlaw was listed in the Scottish Club XV squad last week and produced a solid performance that will have done his selection hopes no harm.
Another player who advanced his claims was winger Jordan Edmunds. His strong work ethic, strength and speed were all on show and he had two first half tries, while Aubrey Mncube had one, all converted by Laidlaw, while Chalmers landed another penalty for a 27-12 half time score line.
Edmunds completed his hat-trick then was joined on the score sheet by Grant McConnell and Ronan Kerr before Keith Young bagged a consolation for Watsonians and Dale Robertson ensured the hosts had the last word when he dotted down for try number seven to bring up the half-century of points.
Next up for Muir is a trip to face Heriot’s, whose play-off challenge stuttered with a 15-15 draw at Hawick. A penalty try, converted by Alex Hagart, saw Heriot’s reach the break tied at 7-7 and they appeared to be heading for the win when they pulled clear after Charlie Simpson touched down and Hagart booted a penalty. However, the hosts cut the deficit with a penalty then snatched a share of the spoils with a try by Darcy Graham five minutes from full time. The result means that Heriot’s have lost ground against the teams above them in the table, all of whom recorded wins. But, in the race for fourth spot, they gained a point over Currie, who took only a narrow defeat bonus from a 27-24 loss at home to league leaders Melrose.
First-half tries by Harvey Elms and Ross Weston were both converted by Jamie Forbes, who also landed a penalty to hand the Malleny Park side a 17-13 half time advantage. After falling behind, the hosts reclaimed the lead with a converted score from Jarrod Firth. However, the Borderers regained the initiative and held off a late charge from Currie, who remain fifth in the table but now trail Heriot’s by two points.