Heriot’s crowned high kings of club rugby scene
Heriot’s 31-10 Glasgow Hawks
Scorers: Hawks – Try: Cullinane. Con: Lowe. Pen: J Steele. Heriot’s – Tries: Boisseau, Turley, L Steele. Cons: Wilson (2). Pens: Wilson (4).
Hawks had come back from a first half deficit of 13-0 to get within three points in the third quarter, but they could do no more as Heriot’s stayed calm and carried on with the conviction that tries would come eventually, as they duly did, getting the most out of the artificial pitch and Cumbernauld’s benign evening sunshine.
The result mirrored the teams’ league form where, although placed fourth and fifth, the gap between them was actually 21 points, with Heriot’s winning a dozen matches to Hawks’ six. Heriot’s had the experience, too, with front row forward Stewart Mustard playing in his fourth final, Colin Goudie and scrum-half Graham Wilson in their third.
Hawks, three-time Cup winners themselves, had youth on their side but were hardly in the game in the first half and barely out of their own half. Heriot’s scored with the first of what would be four Wilson penalties and, after 15 minutes, Harry Boisseau was released by Goudie’s perfectly timed pass to sprint in from 60 metres for the best and most spectacular try of the game.
He had Keith Buchan inside him calling for the ball all the way but didn’t need him. Hawks full-back Dan Smart got across but his despairing ankle tap was not enough to prevent the winger diving over the line.
“I just pinned my ears back and went hell for leather for the corner,” said Boisseau, who was later named man of the match. “The surface was really quick underfoot and that suited us. I’ve scored a few tries this season and that has to be up there with the best of them. One for the showreel.”
An unseen drama was played out minutes before kick-off when referee Graeme Wells had to withdraw after suffering a migraine during his warm-up, to be replaced by Gary Gordon. Once the game was underway Hawks had some success in disrupting the scrums but created little else over the first 40 minutes, as Heriot’s proved dominant at the breakdown and just about every other area of play.
Winger Haddon McPherson had one line break at speed but he was stopped in his tracks by Heriot’s No 8 Jason Hill. Two long range penalty attempts by Hawks centre Jack Steele fell short and Hawks remained scoreless.
But Heriot’s could not afford to be complacent. When Wilson missed a late penalty chance that would have meant a bigger cushion, there was more shouting and swearing in the dressing room at half-time than is normally the case with a 13-0 lead.
Hawks turned up the aggression level after the break, bringing on Polish international Mateusz Bartoszek to add edge to their pack, and they got an immediate return with a scrum penalty in front of the posts, converted by Steele, to give a bit of momentum that led to a try for tighthead prop Brendan Cullinane as he barrelled over.
But Hawks’ momentum stopped there. Heriot’s sent on Craig Owenson to shore up their faltering scrum. Lock Murray Douglas began to smash things up in the loose and his carries gained valuable territory. On 65 minutes, Owenson thought he had got over Hawks’ line but after long consultation with the Television Match Official the try was denied and it remained a three-point game.
Two minutes later, however, Wilson’s reliable boot made it six points, and then a minute later nine points. Heriot’s effectively kettled Hawks into their own 22 and although Neil Herron led one breakout charge up the middle of the pitch it came to nothing and Heriot’s went straight back down, Rory Carmichael’s kick travelling fully 80 metres to apply pressure once more on the stretched Hawks.
There was a sense of inevitability when, with five minutes to go, skipper Jack Turley was bundled over the line and touched down for Heriot’s second try. Liam Steele got the third try as the clock flipped to red.
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith said: “The pitch was always going to speed the game up and that was in our favour. The conditions were perfect to run the ball and our plan was to go tight-wide, tight-wide and it worked. Hawks had their ten minutes after halftime, but the boys stayed calm and people stepped up.”
Hawks coach Jamie Dempsey said: “I thought my guys tried hard but showed their youth and Heriot’s capitalised with a good start. In the second half it was better but we couldn’t get the field position or the points to put them under pressure. I am proud of my guys for the effort they put in and we will now use this as a benchmark to learn from and improve.”
Glasgow Hawks: D Smart; T Steven, A McClay, J Steele, H McPherson; G Lowe, P Boyer; S Findlay, F Gillies, B Cullinane, A Linton, A Hamilton, T Holmes, S Leckie, A Kirkland. Replacements: J McFarlane, C Williamson, J Lohoar, M Bartosek, K Beattie, D Milne, N Herron.
Heriot’s: C Goudie; M Nimmo, K Buchan, C Ferguson, H Boisseau; R Carmichael, G Wilson; N Borrell, K Bryce, S Mustard, M Douglas, R Nimmo, J Turley, G Turner, J Hill. Replacements: C Owenson, C Mulligan, OJ Brown, L Steele, G Cameron, M Maltman, M Learmonth.