Edinburgh Accies were on a hiding to nothing as they travelled the short distance to the north of the city to take on fourth-place Heriot’s in what turned out to be a pretty dour struggle.
The home side was ready and waiting for the team without a win to its name in almost a dozen outings and, although the tries did not flow smoothly, Heriot’s forward power laid the foundations for a convincing victory, a third this season over their local rivals, that moved them into third position in the Tennent’s Premiership.
Coach Phil Smith, pictured, said: “We got ourselves built up to really go at them which we did, but we didn’t get the reward. There was a little bit of frustration in there so it wasn’t how we wanted to win – we had to go workmanlike because we couldn’t get the shackles off them, which is fair play to their defence.”
Accies coach Derek O’Riordan had to be satisfied with the performance of his defence, which was playing to the team’s strengths and effectively kept the score down.
“From our perspective, with injuries and unavailability, it was a challenging week trying to get things organised,” he said. “I think we played pretty well. We just lacked the power game they relied on to get them over the try line.”
It took Heriot’s less than 10 minutes to open the scoring with a lineout and maul that carried flanker Jack McLean over the line, Captain Ross Jones converting.
Heriot’s were all over the visitors and the second try came from another lineout and maul, scrum-half Andrew Simmers following the heels of his pack to touch down at the posts. Jones converted.
It took Accies more than 20 minutes to escape from their own half in a short-lived attacking phase that gave Heriot’s a taste of their own medicine. But it could not be sustained and they eventually came away with nothing.
Heriot’s took the game up to the other end, sticking to a basic gameplan with their forward pack battering away at the visiting defence and looking certain to score until they moved the ball wide to the left where one pass too many enabled Accies winger Cammy Gray to intercept, pin his ears back and sprint 95 metres to get his team on the scoreboard at half-time.
After the break Heriot’s were handed an immediate advantage when Accies replacement Angus Inwood was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, the first of a sprinkling of cards that were to disrupt the play.
A lineout and rolling maul led to McLean’s second try. The bonus point try was claimed by replacement lock Callum Marshall as the game got scrappy and fractious. And a fifth try by winger Craig Robertson sealed a comfortable win.