Heriot’s slip behind Melrose in title race

Joe Helps was Heriot's tormentor-in-chief
Joe Helps was Heriot's tormentor-in-chief
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Heriot’s slipped to third spot in the BT Premiership table after succumbing 18-14 against Melrose at Goldenacre in a keenly contested re-run of last season’s play-off final.

Joe Helps had a try, a penalty and a conversion, while Fraser Thomson also touched down for Melrose as the Borderers reached the break 15-7 ahead – a self-converted try by Graham Wilson accounting for the home side’s points.

The wind played havoc with the kickers and even the reliable Wilson recorded three penalty misses. However, the Capital men cut the deficit to a single point when Max Learmonth dotted down and Wilson converted. But the Borderers were not to be denied and another penalty by Helps clinched the win that sees his side move into second place in the table.

Watsonians enter the Christmas break with a ten-point advantage in BT National Division One after taking the spoils with a 29-17 derby win away to Stewarts Melville. Tries by Scott McKean, Matt Coles, Mark Bertram – his 13th of the campaign – and Rory Steele, plus a nine-point kicking contribution by Andrew Chalmers saw ‘Sonians home to a success that leaves the Myreside men ten points clear at the summit and on track for a return to the top flight. Mel Rapstadt and MacDonald Michael touched down for Stew Mel whose other points came from kicks.

Musselburgh produced an impressive second-half effort to take all five points in a 38-20 win over Aberdeen Grammar at Stoneyhill. Two tries by Michael Maltman plus a Danny Owenson conversion left ‘Burgh 13-12 in arrears at the interval. The hosts fell further behind after conceding a converted score before turning on the style to claim tries by Rory Watt, Geoff Berry, Luke Hutson and Owenson, who also landed three conversions.

Edinburgh Accies paid the price for indiscipline as they suffered a 17-14 defeat at Jed-forest. The Raeburn Place men reached the break 11-7 ahead but by that stage had only 14 men after Tom Stuart was red carded. Accies had opportunities to seal the win but a late penalty struck the post and the hosts raced the length of the field to score the winning try.

In Division Two, Preston Lodge were outmuscled by leaders Hamilton Bulls, eventually going down 31-15, a result that appears to rule the East Lothian men out of the race for the promotion spots.

Lasswade garnered a precious point from their fixture at home to Aberdeenshire.

However, it was only a narrow defeat bonus for the Hawthornden men who suffered a 24-17 loss that means they remain in the bottom two and facing a battle to survive.

Haddington’s challenge for promotion from Division Three remains intact after the Neilson Park men offered a further glimpse of their battling qualities to emerge with a win in another tight encounter. The 10-6 result, combined with the fact that the match between RHC Cougars and Dumfries Saints was postponed, means that Haddington sit two points behind second-placed Dumfries who have a game in hand.