Heriot’s flanker Iain Wilson is relishing the remainder of his club’s BT Premiership campaign after making an outstanding contribution to Saturday’s hard-fought 13-10 win at home to Ayr.
The 29-year-old was out of action for 18 months after suffering a cruciate ligament injury during the 2016 BT Cup final. But he proved in his latest outing as part of a dominant Heriot’s pack that he is back to full strength.
“I have played a couple of games now and I am happy with the knee – it’s feeling good. I am just trying to get some game time and get back up to speed. I was 18 months out so to come back into first fifteen rugby is quite difficult,” he explained.
Of Saturday’s victory, he added: “It was a hard one – a bit of a dog fight. We had said all week that it was a must-win for us. We know what we’ve got to do now. We are in a fight for top four so every game is a must win for us.”
Wilson’s vision and pace were evident and he combined with fellow backrowers Jack Turley and Jack McClean to make life tough for Ayr at the lineout and in open play against a defence that held firm until late in the game.
Two Ross Jones penalties were countered by a Scott Lyle three pointer as Heriot’s led 6-3 at the interval. And it looked as if Ayr would take the honours when Craig Gossman dotted down in the corner and Lyle booted the conversion.
However, knowing that anything less than a win would probably signal the end of their challenge, the Goldenacre men raised the pace once more and snatched the win with a late penalty try.
Heriot’s remain in the five-way race for the four play-off berths with a trip to Melrose next on the agenda.
Wilson insists they will travel with confidence, saying: “It’s a tough league and any team on their day is good enough to beat any other one so you’ve got be on it every Saturday. We’ve had a few lapses and lost a few tight games which we shouldn’t have so we’ve put ourselves in the position and now it’s up to us to work hard and get out of it.”
Despite the result, Heriot’s lost ground on fourth-placed Watsonians who took a bonus point from their 36-0 win over Glasgow Hawks at Myreside. Michael Fedo was the star man for the hosts with three of their six tries, with Andrew Chalmers, DJ Innes and Willie Thomson bagging the others.
It was also a successful afternoon for Currie Chieftains who reclaimed second spot in the table with a 35-12 win at Stirling County. Charlie Shiel and Matt Hooks had a try apiece, both converted by Jamie Forbes, as Chieftains reached half-time with a 14-12 lead. And they dominated the scoring in the second period with further scores by Robbie Nelson, Hamish Bain and Glen Faulds, with Forbes converting all three.
It was a tough afternoon for strugglers Boroughmuir who were beaten 27-20 by Hawick. A Dale Robertson touchdown and a Chris Laidlaw penalty saw Muir trail 17-8 at the interval, with Hawick awarded two penalty tries. Jordan Edmunds dotted down in the second half and a score by Rob Ure deep into injury time was converted by Kieran Whyte to snatch a narrow-defeat bonus that could prove vital to Muir’s survival bid. Edinburgh flanker John Hardie suffered a cut mouth after only 13 minutes on his return from a three-month suspension and his Hawick debut.