A FLURRY of snow ahead of kick off meant that Meggetland had a decent covering of the stuff ahead of yesterday’s game. Not much but enough to ensure that a man with a broom had to clear the various lines on the field before the match kicked off five minutes late.
It is not obvious why the match was played at all given the conditions. This is amateur rugby where the game is played for pleasure but not many players on either side looked to be having much fun yesterday at Boroughmuir and who can blame them.
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Heriot’s came here as league leaders, while Muir are one off the bottom so both teams needed a win, albeit for very different reasons, and it was the visitors who underlined their position as kings of the castle. This loss, combined with Edinburgh Accies’ win over Ayr, leaves Muir holding up the rest of the table, level on points with Accies but running a significantly poorer points difference.
Heriot’s scored four tries to grab the bonus point but they left it perilously late. Only with the last play of the game did a driving maul muscle its way over the Muir try line with the help of most of the back line, who lent their weight to the task. The trusty boot of Graham Wilson did the rest of the damage, the scrum-half kicking four penalties in all and adding one touchline conversion.
Despite the presence of four Edinburgh Rugby professionals in their ranks, two in the forwards, two in the backs, Muir were badly out-muscled in pretty much every department.
The visiting half-backs, Wilson and Stuart Edwards, kept the host team on the back foot, peppering the corner with kicks and making Muir work overtime just to get out of their own half.
Heriot’s drove one lineout for 40 metres and they bossed the set scrums relentlessly. The visitors earned a five-metre scrum in the first half after Chris Laidlaw’s clearance kick had been closed down and the Heriot’s No.8 Jason Hill will wake up this morning wondering how he failed to score as his pack marched slowly over the Muir try line.
At least Hill’s quick thinking resulted in the first try of the match, to Heriot’s midway through the first 40. The Heriot’s scrum was flexing its muscles yet again when the referee awarded a penalty and the big breakaway took a quick tap penalty, with Wilson acting as the link to send winger Charlie Simpson over in the corner.
Wilson kicked three penalties in addition to that tricky conversion to just one response from Laidlaw for Muir to give the visitors a handy 16-3 lead at the break and, when the scrum-half added another three just minutes into the second half, Muir faced a mountain.
They never got out of base camp as almost the whole of the second half was played deep inside their own half. Prop Robbie Wilson didn’t help matters by getting himself a yellow card for punching so, when Heriot’s won another five-metre scrum in the shadow of the Boroughmuir posts, following a superb touch-finder by full-back Keith Buchan, the outcome was inevitable and this time Hill made no mistakes.
The best move of the match saw substitute Gregor McNeish start and finish a textbook backs’ move where the stand-off looped around behind his backline and took the scoring pass from the left winger Harry Boisseau before diving over in the corner.
With three tries scored, the real drama started. Muir finally found some defensive backbone and Heriot’s butchered umpteen chances before a 15-man maul finally ground its way over the line.
Scorers: Boroughmuir: Pen: Laidlaw. Heriot’s: Tries: Simpson, Hill, McNeish, Nimmo. Cons: Wilson (2). Pens: Wilson (4)
Boroughmuir: McLennan; McConnell, Edwards, Beard, Visser; Laidlaw, Adams; Wilson, McInally, Latta, Best, Moody, Rose, Entwhistle, Bradbury.
Subs from: Davies, Wallace, Sutton, Johnston, Marshall
Heriot’s: Buchan; Simpson, Steele, Carmichael, Bryce; Edwards, Wilson; Borel, Mustard, Cessford, Nimmo, MacKenzie, Turley, McLean, Hill
Subs from: Couper, Ward, Becroft, McNeish, Boisseau.
Referee: Keith Allen.
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