Hawick avenged a crushing defeat early in the season at Goldenacre in a dramatic game at Mansfield Park where Heriot’s flanker Michael Maltman was red-carded close to half-time and the hosts scored the winning points with the last kick of the game.
Darcy Graham scored the vital try in the third minute of injury time for Hawick and Lee Armstrong added the goal points.
Hawick dominated the early stages after flanker Ian Wilson was yellow-carded in the first minute for a hefty challenge on Gary Munro, and it was no surprise when Shawn Muir was driven over after Munro was held up.
Wilson returned to the field in time to see Munro race over in the left-hand corner for a second try. Armstrong missed both conversions.
Heriot’s stepped up a gear, but with Graham at full-back, the defence stood firm against a visiting side which had rarely threatened the home line.
Ross Jones cut the deficit with a penalty as Heriot’s gained control for a time before Maltman was shown a red card, and from a scrum, Bruce McNeil drove over for Armstrong to convert and a 17-3 half-time lead.
On the restart, Graham was yellow-carded and Jones kicked his second penalty as Heriot’s fought to get back into the contest. With a man fewer, Heriot’s scored a try from Martin Hughes and Stuart Edwards converted.
Hawick were on the back foot as Heriot’s pressed for more scores and with Keith Davies yellow-carded, Ross Carmichael scored and Edwards, who also kicked a penalty, converted.
McNeil led a final charge to be stopped only when he knocked on. But they were not to be denied and the winning score may yet rescue their Premiership place for next season.