THIS was the result that neither side was happy about. Heriot’s needed the points to maintain their championship challenge and Currie needed them to help them climb out of the relegation zone, so the drawn match was a bad result for everyone.
Heriots can be wonderfully combative but perhaps all those office parties have undermined morale, because their first-up tackling was a little porous in open play, although they defended their try line against Currie’s pick-and-drive as if their lives depended upon it.
Currie’s hooker David Cherry scored the opening try of the match after 25 minutes, after running right over the top of two hooped shirts.
Heriots had the better of the set scrums, while the visitor’s giant Romanian signing Petre Neascu dominated the sidelines, as you’d expect from someone standing 6ft 7in tall. He showed up well in the loose as well. Neither side looked after the ball well in contact, with regular stoppages for dropped passes and knocks-on.
With the first half wind at their backs, Currie spent almost the entire first 40 minutes camped deep inside Heriots’ territory and ended up with a ten point lead at half time. It should have been more, as the visitors spurned several open goals, most obviously when winger Malcolm Peacock held on to the ball with men unmarked outside him.
Two of Scotland’s bright young backs were pitched against each other, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne starting at full-back for Heriots, with Currie fielding George Horne in the same position. Horne played well, scoring a second-half try, but even he was powerless to stop the best try of the afternoon from Hidalgo-Clyne that closed out the first half and gave Heriots a timely boost. The full-back took the ball at pace and made a classic outside break before rounding Currie’s last man for a 50-yard try. It was the stand-out moment of the match.
Currie’s five-point lead didn’t look nearly enough into the second half wind and Heriots should have drawn level immediately after the restart, but Sean Kennedy somehow dropped the ball on the try line. The home team re-jigged their back line at half time with Graham Wilson coming off the bench to play stand off and Hidalgo-Clyne swapping places with scrum-half Kennedy, and the changes eventually helped the home side snatch a late draw.
The second half was the exact opposite of the first, with Heriots launching waves of attacks and Currie unable to get out of their own half, not helped by some wayward kicking, but the one time they made a sortie into Heriots’ territory Horne extended their lead with a try after good approach work from his forward pack.
Cammy Ferguson’s dancing feet saw Heriots respond in kind not five minutes later and Currie were defending a seven point lead with 15 minutes left on the clock.
The match was frantic, as were the vocal home supporters. Currie centre Ruaridh Smith made a sublime break but no one was on hand to finish off. Heriots’ Ruaraidh Carmichael hoofed long for the corner and his pack inched towards the Currie line, only to concede a penalty, then Kennedy spilled a pass fired somewhere behind his head.
Eventually Heriots won a penalty, kicked to the corner and after battering against the brick wall defence, inside centre Carmichael skipped through a half gap under the posts with one minute left on the clock. Wilson’s conversion ensured that the points were shared.