Heriot’s pour cold water on Currie’s burning ambition

The harsh lessons of two previous defeats to the Chieftains this season were translated into a performance that propelled Heriot’s into the Premiership grand final against Ayr next month.

Heriots Mark Bennett is tackled by Robbie Nelson. Picture: SNS/SRU.
Heriots Mark Bennett is tackled by Robbie Nelson. Picture: SNS/SRU.

The home team ran in five tries, including a first half double by winger Charlie Simpson, and conceded only two in a match they controlled from start to finish.

But coach Phil Smith was not completely happy.

“This was our third semi-final against them and it’s always been within a score,” he said. “Today I felt we were in control. I thought we defended really well but our attack was a bit stop-start, but you’re going to lose a bit of momentum after three weeks off. We’ve got a run of fixtures now – Hawick here next in the Scottish Cup semi-final – and maybe that will help us nail a few things. Our restarts were disgusting – they were rubbish – so we’ll fix that, and some of our set plays just need to be a bit tighter.”

Currie, the only non Super 6 club to reach the play-offs, saw Heriot’s get off to a flying start and were playing catch-up for the rest of the game but couldn’t build the necessary momentum. They were not helped by a succession of injuries which saw their entire front row limp off the field in the first half, the damage done by a dominant and ruthless Heriot’s pack. At one stage in midfield with Heriot’s 13-5 ahead, Currie winger Ben Robbins got his fingertips to an interception but could not hold on to give him a clear run to the line that would have put them into the lead at the break.

Instead, Heriot’s were home free, more or less, when a few minutes into the second half replacement back row Jason Hill picked and went from the rear of a scrum for a third try that stretched the advantage.

Full back Ross Jones kicked a long range penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Glasgow pro Tom Gordon went over for a second Currie try before Heriot’s got up to full speed again and opened up the space with a sweeping passing move that carried inside centre Bobby Kay up the pitch to dive over with a big grin on his face.

There were smiles all round as a fifth and last try was scored when a loose ball bounced into the hands of replacement scrum half Alex Ball and he sprinted half the length of the pitch to score.

Currie coach Mark Cairns bemoaned the internationalist allocation system which allowed Heriot’s to add three professionals to their starting line up.

He said: “As a club we’ve had to be pretty resilient the whole season. It’s a shame that on the last outing for this team together that we’ve had all those things impede what could have been a much closer game. We’ve been competitive with the top four teams for the last five years. We’re bitterly disappointed not to make the final.”