Currie Chieftains stand-off Gregor Hunter starred as the Malleny Park men tightened their grip on third spot in the Tennent’s Premiership with an impressive home victory over Watsonians.
Of Saturday’s 34-17 success, Hunter – the league’s highest-scoring kicker – said: “It was a good win. We knew it was going to be a really tough game. Watsonians are a strong team and the conditions were unfavourable. So, to come out with a win like that, we’re really pleased.”
The 27-year-old, who had a spell in the professional ranks that was marred by recurring injuries, has brought a steadying influence to Chieftains as well as a desire to operate at pace, something he and his colleagues achieved in some style on Saturday.
Hunter is enjoying his role at the club, adding: “There’s a really good bunch of boys and a really good coach as well. We feel like we are getting better and better as the season is going on, and pushing for that top four to get in the play-offs.”
However, despite that week-on-week improvement, there is no complacency in the Chieftains ranks.
“We are not looking too far ahead, but the play-offs are the end goal. To do that we need to focus on winning most of our games, particularly home games, which we’ve done pretty well so far,” he pointed out. “But we have Melrose next and that will be another tough game.”
Hunter opened the Chieftains account with the first of the home side’s five tries in response to a penalty for Watsonians by Lee Millar. By half-time, Chieftains had a 19-10 lead after Jamie Forbes claimed two converted tries and Josh Rowland had one for the visitors.
Scott McGinley secured the bonus-point try for Chieftains and Hunter booted a penalty to make the game safe. And although Rowland scored his second try to give Watsonians hope, Chieftains ended the game well and Campbell Wilson added gloss to the score line when he forced his way over.
It was a disappointing afternoon for Sonians, who offered only glimpses of the pace that they possess.
And that was the point made by their coach Steve Lawrie, who said: “We lacked tempo in attack. We are disappointed but we’ve got to be realistic – ultimately they were the better side. And, if you play poorly against teams that are good then you will lose games of rugby. I’m disappointed because I thought we were more mature than that.”
Elsewhere, it was a day of tight finishes for the Capital sides. Heriot’s and Melrose shared the spoils in a 17-17 draw at Goldenacre. Unfortunately, the spotlight fell not on the players, but on the English exchange referee Calum Howard. The official awarded three penalty tries – two for the visitors – including one in injury time that handed the Borderers the equalising score.
Heriot’s led through a penalty try and a Stuart Edwards drop goal but were pegged back by half-time. And although Rob Kay grabbed a touchdown and Ross Jones converted, the referee had the final say.
Edinburgh Accies suffered another agonising home defeat, this time against fellow strugglers Glasgow Hawks.
George Davis and Robbie Chalmers had a try apiece, and Vincent Hart kicked the other points to give Accies an 18-5 lead and they were still ahead with ten minutes to play. But a late try and a penalty handed Hawks the win that leaves the Accies at the foot of the table.
Boroughmuir were also on the wrong end of a tight finish at Stirling County.
Having trailed for much of the game they rallied to lead 27-21 before a late converted try gave County the win.
The visitors had to console themselves with two bonus points, with Johnny Matthews bagging two tries while there was one apiece for Will Wardlaw and Jordan Edmunds.