Heriot’s made it two from two by snatching a late, late win in this Edinburgh derby with a penalty try from a set scrum seven minutes into time added on.
Watsonians will feel they had their pocket picked but they paid the price for a flat opening half in which they allowed the hosts to race into a 21-0 lead. Watsonians showed great character, spirit and no little skill to fight back from 21-0 to 21-17 with a quarter of the match left to play.
The momentum looked to have swung decisively behind the visitors when Heriot’s full-back Charlie Simpson was carded for a deliberate knock on 12 minutes from time. Watsonians kicked to touch and the forwards muscled the ball over the line for Jack Stanley to grab what looked like the winning score, but there was still time for another twist in this tale.
Heriot’s held on to the ball and, aided by string of penalties, they worked their way into the visitors’ red zone where Watsonians skipper Craig Borthwick was carded for illegally dropping a driving maul. It took several phases of play but eventually Heriot’s marched a set scrum backwards to earn their second penalty try of the afternoon, a bonus point and a win.
Teenage winger Jack Blain had put Heriot’s ahead after popping up on the “wrong” wing to finish off a flowing move in the left-hand corner, which proved fertile territory as their second score came in exactly the same place.
This time Blain linked with full-back Simpson on the right before stand-off Dom Martin dinked a beautifully-judged kick-pass to the opposite flank where Craig Robertson caught it without breaking stride.
Having shown their superiority with the ball in hand Heriot’s then rubbed salt in Watsonian wounds by marching a set scrum backwards. French prop Nathan Borel was shown yellow and it took several attempts but eventually the home side’s efforts were rewarded with a penalty try, no kick needed after Ross Jones had expertly converted the first two tries.
Going 21-0 down galvanised the visitors and they duly chalked up 24 unanswered points. Stand-off Lee Millar found Josh Rowland with a long pass for Sonians’ Kiwi full-back to get his team off the mark. Further pressure at the start of the second half allowed Millar to add another three off the tee. At 21-10 the Heriot’s fans were getting restless.
Both sides had their chances but after a pause in the scoring the visitors struck again when leggy winger Angus Guthrie finished off a long attack with a show of power and pace.
Watsonians took the lead for the first time with the home team reduced to 14 men but Heriot’s fought back, their scrum earning the late victory they just deserved.