Heriot’s coach Phil Smith earned the bragging rights over his former assistant Steve Lawrie as the Goldenacre men took the honours with a 22-10 win in a fiercely contested BT Premiership encounter under the lights at Myreside tonight.
However, Lawrie’s players again confirmed that they are making a progress, delivering a solid defensive effort that was at odds with the display in the opening two weeks when Sonians leaked 99 points.
For Heriot’s, it was a performance lacking the swashbuckling style of six days earlier, but it was proof that they too are evolving into a squad ready to compete for a play-off spot.
After an opening that was scarred by handling errors on both sides as a result of the wet ball, the match sparked into life with 12 minutes on the clock.
Watsonians’ Rory Hutton drifted past two defenders and offloaded to Michael Fedo, who dived over for the opening score. Andrew Chalmers, who had missed with an early penalty attempt, added the extras.
There was little evidence of the flair that had seen Heriot’s harvest a dozen tries against Hawick the previous Saturday. And Sonians deservedly took their tally into double figures when Chalmers banged over a long-range penalty after 20 minutes.
Against the run of play, Heriot’s clawed their way back into the match just before the break. Robbie Mulvena kicked ahead and was impeded in the chase by Willie Thomson. The referee awarded a penalty try and sent the home scrum-half to the sin bin, trimming the home side’s lead to just three points at the break.
Heriot’s saw more of the ball in the opening minutes of the second half, but failed to penetrate a solid home defence. However, there was a feeling that the tide was turning.
And that proved to be the case as the visitors gradually raised the pressure and a multi-phase effort ended when Jack Turley crashed over from close range. Ross Jones booted the conversion.
And the gap widened to seven points when Stuart Edwards was on target with a sweetly struck drop goal from fully 40 metres as the match entered the closing ten minutes.
Then, deep into injury time, Sonians saw the losing bonus point their efforts had merited snatched away when a fumbled lineout take five metres from the home line allowed alert Heriot’s scrum half Tom Wilson to pounce for his side’s third try.
Watsonians: Try: Fedo. Con: Chalmers. Pen: Chalmers
Heriot’s: Tries: Penalty (7 pts), Turley, Wilson. Con: Jones
Drop Goal: Edwards
Watsonians: J Harrison, M Bertram, R Hutton, DJ Innes, S McLeod, A Chalmers, W Thomson, N Fraser, D Miller, K Whyte, J Hodgson, C Borthwick, M Fedo, J Miller, E Dods. Subs: A Johnston, N Borel, R Drummond, E McKirdy, A Davidson
Heriot’s: R Jones, C Simpson, R Mulvena, R Carmichael, C Robertson, S Edwards, T Wilson, M Bouab, M Liness, S Cessford, C Marshall, A Sinclair, M Hughes, L McLean, J Turley. Subs: S Mustard, JP Ward, C Smith, A Ball, R Kay
Referee: G Wells