Heriot’s upset the Premiership odds in the west of Edinburgh with a single point victory over third-placed Currie Chieftains.
In a game largely dictated by the blustery wind, the Heriot’s defence was impervious to everything Currie could throw at it, although the home side did manage to rescue a bonus point with a try in the dying minutes.
Currie kicked off with a strong wind in their backs and monopolised possession inside the Heriot’s 22, battering at the line but being held out by a steadfast defence for more than ten minutes of relentless pressure.
Heriot’s eventually broke out, the charge upfield led by blindside Michael Maltman, and put together some phases of their own and it was the Chieftains’ turn to have their defence tested.
A move that started with visiting winger Charlie Simpson making ground up the right then horizontally across the pitch and back again led to lock Callum Marshall crashing over for the try.
Heriot’s were looking dangerous with hands on the ball and Currie looked strangely passive and disjointed until captain Robbie Nelson, pictured, attempted to inject some motivation by smashing into tackles in midfield, matched by Heriot’s centre Robbie Mulvena putting in some big hits of his own. Heriot’s rolled a lineout maul all the way from the halfway line into the Currie 22 and when the inevitable penalty came, Mike Vernel went to the sin bin and full back Ross Jones took the points.
But 14-man Currie hit back immediately when scrum-half Matt O’Neil chipped over the advancing line and winger Cammy Gray picked up for the score. Stand-off Jamie Forbes converted to make it a single point difference at half-time.
After the break Heriot’s used the swirling wind to kick deep into the Currie 22 and stay there until Jack Turley, who scored a hat-trick against Melrose last weekend, went over from short range for his team’s second try. Jones converted.
Currie made intermittent progress against a Heriot’s defence that was answering all the questions asked of it before turning defence into attack as the wind strengthened and play ranged up and down the pitch.
Currie went through more than a dozen phases and 60 metres before being penalised for going in at the side. Heriot’s managed half a dozen before fumbling the ball but time was running out fast for the home side.
They won a penalty in the Currie 22, choreographed the lineout perfectly and, after three thwarted attempts, No.8 Rhys Davies was over for the losing bonus point try. Forbes converted to bring Currie within a single point but there was no time left to do any more.