Having already secured their place in the play-offs, Heriot’s gave themselves a further confidence lift by achieving a bonus-point win over Hawick in difficult overhead conditions that made those balmy days of February a distant memory.
It was the concluding match in the BT Premiership and it might also be the last league meeting between these two famous Scottish clubs in the immediate future given the launch of Super Six next season. Heavy rain and a strong wind, however, made what might have been a historic match a less attractive game than the occasion deserved.
In the event, a determined second half performance by Heriot’s forward pack made sure that the Goldenacre men snuffed out Hawick’s hopes of harnessing the elements after the break, with powerful scrummaging and mauling that brought its rewards in tries.
“That was the best second half performance in such conditions that we’ve produced all season,” said Phil Smith, the Heriot’s coach, pictured.
But even for most of the first half, Heriot’s looked to be in control, albeit their return for dominant play was a meagre three point lead at half-time. Much of this was down to Hawick’s tenacious tackling, put to the test in the opening minutes with multiple phase play from the visitors.
Heriot’s were limited to only one try in the first half, despite dominating possession and territory. It came from an overthrow by Hawick at a line-out, and quick transfer of the ball by Heriot’s that ended with winger Craig Robertson thundering in for an unconverted try.
Thereafter, Heriot’s only further reward in the first half was a penalty goal by centre Ross Jones from the ten metre line. Then, just before the break, Heriot’s hooker Michael Liness was sent to the sin-bin and in his absence Hawick struck to score arguably the best try of the match.
From a line-out, Hawick mauled before releasing the ball to the backs, and from a half break by Lee Armstrong, winger Kirk Ford scored in the corner.
Hawick’s hopes of overtaking the visitors in the second half, however, were quickly shattered as Heriot’s took a grip of the forward battle, scoring through a short range try by Jack McLean and the conversion by Jones.
Heriot’s scrum looked immensely strong in the second half and, when Hawick attempted to halt the shove illegally, the visitors were awarded a penalty try six minutes before full-time. There was time for further points and again the Heriot’s scrum did the damage with a pushover try attributed to McLean, Jones’ conversion sealing the bonus-point win.