Heriot’s blunted the challenge of a resilient Stirling County with eight tries in the bone-chilling cold of a winter’s afternoon.
The bonus point was wrapped up by half-time and Heriot’s were home and dry long before the darkness descended at the close.
Heriot’s came into the match on the back of a convincing away win at Ayr the previous weekend while Stirling were pretty comprehensively beaten by Currie Chieftains.
And it was a lively Heriot’s who almost opened the scoring in the first few minutes when a midfield break by centre Richard Kay stretched the visiting defence and only a careless knock-on as the ball was passed wide prevented the try.
The home side kept up the pressure with lineout and maul tactics carrying the ball to the line. On the second series of pick and goes lock Adam Sinclair crossed the line and got the touch down. Ross Jones added the extras. Stirling got as far as the home 22 after 15 minutes but a dangerous tackle by blindside flanker George Arnott cost them field position and earned him ten minutes on the sidelines.
The Heriot’s pack had the edge on their opposite numbers but Stirling’s tackling, even with 14 men, was watertight until the relentless battering meant they sprung a leak and scrum half Andrew Simmers crashed over for a second try. Jones missed the conversion.
On the half hour County had a spell of useful possession that ended with prop Adam Nichol diving between the posts and stand off Andrew Gaudie converting.
Heriot’s immediately hit back and it was Robert Kay diving between the posts at the other end and Jones converting. Stirling hit back in true rat-a-tat fashion when winger Logan Trotter emerged from a crowd of players to score on the right wing.
On the stroke of half-time Heriot’s grabbed the bonus point through a try claimed by prop Stuart Cessford after another forwards surge that stretched their lead to 26-12.
The second half started in the midst of a sudden hail storm. Heriot’s quickly carved a way past the Stirling defence and loosehead prop Martin Bouab got the try. Jones converted.
Stirling No.8 Ali Mackie found himself running in open space but with no support the move petered out and Heriot’s took the play back into the 22 in another period of sustained pressure.
Stirling had to work hard to escape and their territorial gains ended at the halfway line when an interception by Ball gave him a clear run in. Jones converted.
Stirling played on, as much to stay warm as to launch an impossible comeback, but Heriot’s slapped them down with another couple of tries by replacement Josh Scott and full back Charlie Simpson, both converted by Jones.