Heriot’s lock Jack Turley has pointed to the club’s shock BT Cup exit as the catalyst for successive bonus-point wins that have moved the Goldenacre side up to second in the BT Premiership.
Saturday’s 31-22 victory delivered a rare double of home and away successes against Glasgow Hawks, and was another substantial step towards achieving an objective for the season that was revised after defeat against Edinburgh Accies in the knockout competition.
“When something like that happens, it forces you to take a close look,” said Turley. “We sat down and refocused and set new goals for the rest of the season. One of those goals was to take 15 points from the three games going into Christmas. That’s two out of the three hurdles and a tough one down at Hawick to come.”
The postponement of Ayr’s match at Melrose – Currie Chieftains versus Boroughmuir also fell foul of the weather – allowed Heriot’s to claim second spot, a position that they hope not to relinquish.
“You have to set high attainable goals and that is to come in the top two and get a home semi-final,” added Turley.
Heriot’s rallied from conceding an early converted try by Hawks back rower Jake Eaglesham to lead at the interval after Charlie Simpson and Adam Sinclair crossed the whitewash and Ross Jones added both conversions.
Ross Thomson and Jones traded penalties before Robbie Mulvena bagged a try and Jones added the extras, as he did after Turley crashed over for the bonus point score – his 12th league touchdown of the campaign – with almost an hour on the clock.
Hawks finished strongly and chalked up tries by Jack Steele and Grant Stewart, the first of which was converted, but Turley and his colleagues held out to take the honours.
Watsonians edged closer to securing a play-off berth after staging a second-half fight back brimming with character to take all five points from a 31-26 win away to Stirling County.
Trailing 14-3 at half-time with only a penalty by Ali Harris to their credit, Sonians conceded another try before notching scores from Gregor Nelson, Ross Graham, Jamie Hodgson and Michael Allen, all converted by Harris to ensure they took the scoring bonus. And, although County bagged two bonus points with a late converted score, it was not enough to prevent the Capital side moving up to fifth in the league.