Heriot’s, occupying fourth place in the keenly contested Tennent’s Premiership, maintained their position with a unspectacular but workmanlike victory over a hapless Edinburgh Accies who have yet to win a game.
The two teams had met twice so far this season in league and cup with Heriot’s winning both – the first encounter resulting in a 71 point humping and the second a closer affair that gave Accies at least the hope of reversing the trend.
It was not to be. Heriot’s, notoriously slow starters, were at Accies throats from the kick off and pinned back the defence for eight minutes before a maul crossed the line and flanker Jack McLean came up with the ball. Captain Ross Jones converted from wide on the left. There was no respite for the visitors. Contained within their own 22, the pressure from Heriot’s was relentless and after stand-off Stuart Edwards set up a five-metre lineout the maul rolled towards the posts and scrum-half Andrew Simmers scored the try. Jones converted.
The first quarter was over by the time Accies ventured into the Heriot’s half. When the subsequent passing phase was cancelled out a grubber kick by fly half Vincent Hart beat everybody to the dead ball line but the referee had spotted an earlier infringement and Accies tried again, tapping and going full tilt at a very solid home defence and eventually coming away with nothing to show for their efforts.
At the other end Heriot’s had the patience to turn the screw, choosing a scrum in preference to a simple penalty as they tried to control play and play at their own pace. Accies managed to frustrate the home team several times but Heriot’s stuck to their game plan and carried on attacking until one pass too many gave Accies winger Cammy Gray the chance to snaffle an interception and gallop the length of the pitch for the try that kept his side in contention at 14-5 at half-time.
The second half commenced with Heriot’s once more on the attack and it was only a matter of minutes before Angus Inwood was singled out from the Accies pack and sin-binned. The next time Heriot’s set up a rolling maul it crossed the line and McLean got his second try. The conversion slid past on the wrong side of the post but Heriot’s were again two scores clear.
The bonus point try should have been scored minutes later by replacement Struan Dewar but he dropped the pass with the line gaping. Another replacement, Callum Marshall, did get the try after Accies prop Cole Imrie was yellow-carded.
The game got scrappy as the clock wound down. Heriot’s replacement Josh Scott went to the sin bin for some unnecessary aggression but there was time for a fifth try from Craig Robertson. Jones converted.