HERIOT’S edged into the final of the RBS Scottish Cup, but were pushed all the way by a gutsy Aberdeen side who lacked the necessary muscle to upset the Goldenacre outfit.
Phil Smith, the Heriot’s coach, was delighted to be in a final, compensating for coming close in the Premiership, but said: “This was a very nervy performance from us, I expected more, though in fairness Aberdeen defended well, but hey ho, we are going to Broadwood on 19 April.”
The big Edinburgh pack were ultimately too much for the home side, but the irony of former Grammar player Murray Douglas being a stand-out was not lost on the appreciative big crowd, many of whom had made the trip from Edinburgh.
The big, skilful lock was in great form, attacking and defending in equal measure, capping his day with a try in the first half when his side were trailing 10-6.
Heriot’s had started the game with the greater purpose, and looked like giving the home defence a torrid time, only to be stunned in eight minutes when centre Byron McGuigan intercepted a loose pass before running in the first score of the day from all of 75 metres. Stand-off Rob Aloe kicked the conversion to put Grammar on course for a possible shock.
Penalties in 11 and 18 minutes brought the Edinburgh side back in contention, but Aloe eased Grammar further ahead at 10-6 on the half hour mark, but with the home pack unable to secure its own ball in the lineout it was a lead that was not destined to last.
In 35 minutes Douglas exposed home frailties, crashing through a lineout to score, and with Wilson adding the conversion it was 13-10 for the visitors at half time.
Grammar upped the pace in the second half, taking the game to Heriot’s, enabling Aloe to add his second penalty to tie up the scores.
A sustained spell of pressure led to a second try for Heriot’s replacement Ben Toolis in 58 minutes. Wilson added the extras to make it 20-13, and apparently game set and match, though Grammar had other ideas, managing to close the gap with a late Aloe penalty. And had home skipper Greig Ryan found his man with his pass it might well have been Aberdeen who were Cumbernauld-bound.
It was not to be, though Heriot’s will need to raise their game if they are to collect silverware on 19 April.