Heriot’s 23 - 17 Boroughmuir: Capital derby a close call

Boroughmuir players come off the pitch dejected after the defeat
Boroughmuir players come off the pitch dejected after the defeat
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Heriot’s took the honours in a keenly contested Edinburgh derby between two sides desperate for a win. Ultimately, the champions owed the win that keeps them in the play-off places to the fact that they made fewer errors at key moments.

The hosts led 13-0 at the interval with Alex Hagart kicking two penalties then adding the conversion after Clarke Smith had applied the final touch following a driven lineout in 14 minutes.

Neither side took full control and, although Boroughmuir ended the half in the ascendancy, several handling errors meant that they were unable to capitalise on their pressure.

The visitors eventually made the breakthrough eight minutes into the second half when hooker Tristan King forced his way over from close range following a tap penalty.

The title holders responded eight minutes later. A lineout catch and drive created the foundation for a string of attacks that ended with Tom Wilson popping up a perfectly judged pass for Callum Marshall, who crashed over.

The visitors showed their battling qualities and fought their way back into the contest when another quickly taken penalty ended with Callum Atkinson muscling his way over between the posts and Chris Laidlaw converting to cut the deficit to six points.

Heriot’s appeared to have struck the killer blow in 74 minutes when Marshall took clean lineout ball and fed Michael Maltman who completed the job.

Boroughmuir were not finished, however, and Grant McConnell found the space to show his finishing power, leaving the game finely poised.

But, despite a final flourish, Boroughmuir were unable to add to their tally and had to settle for a losing bonus point that could yet prove crucial to the bid for top-flight survival.

“We need to defend this title for as long as we can and if we had been beaten it would have been really tough,” said Heriot’s coach Phil Smith.

“The first half was strong – that was a really good half of rugby and we should maybe have had more points. The second half turned into the derby you might expect.”

His Boroughmuir counterpart Peter Wright saw it as a missed opportunity, saying: “You’ve got to take your chances and you can’t afford to give away soft tries.

“We battled for every single point we got and they seemed to score their points with some ease. We got a point out of it but we’re disappointed.”