Heriot’s won the Edinburgh derby with something to spare, scoring five tries and lifting themselves into second spot in the Premiership, a single point behind Melrose.
Heriot’s 30-17 Edinburgh Accies
Scorers: Heriot’s: Tries: Douglas, R Nimmo, Boisseau 2, Goudie. Con: Wilson. Pen: Wilson. Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Sole, Godsmark, Findlater. Con: Evans.
Not even a red card for hooker George Turner with more than 20 minutes of the game to go could knock the home team off their stride as they dispatched a disappointing Accies side in front of a crowd of 1,800 in the autumn sunshine.
Accies weren’t all bad. They showed enough to justify their league position, although they have now slipped out of the top four and been overtaken by Ayr, but they squandered a lot of good possession and couldn’t match the clinical finishing of the home side.
“That is the best we have played all season,” Heriot’s coach Phil Smith said. “I thought we were outstanding. Five tries and control over large parts of the game. We have been building to this week after week. The first half-hour we were superb and I don’t think anybody would have stopped us today.”
Last week against their other city neighbours Currie, it was the Heriot’s front row who claimed a try each. This week it was the turn of the locks to do the double. Murray Douglas went over in the left corner after ten minutes and Russell Nimmo squeezed into the other corner on the stroke of half-time. In between, scrum-half Graham Wilson kicked a lone penalty and winger Harry Boisseau got another try at the end of a sweeping move that travelled the width of the pitch.
Both sides tended to make a mess of their place kicking despite near-perfect conditions; only two of the eight tries were converted and one of five penalty attempts was successful.
The first 30 minutes was a non-stop Heriot’s attack, phase after phase, with the pack dominant and No 8 Jason Hill relishing the chance to display his talents and outshine his back row opposite number, Edinburgh professional Hamish Watson, with an impressive man-of-the-match performance.
It took Accies that length of time to get off the back foot and into the home side’s 22. Once there, they were twice held up as they forced their way over the line before full-back Jamie Sole found enough space to go in for their first try.
Heriot’s gradually regained control and closed out the half with Nimmo’s try and were soon back in the groove in the second 40 with Boisseau ghosting through the Accies defence for a fourth try that brought with it the bonus point.
Tempers frayed at the restart and a multiple-player stramash well away from the ball didn’t look too serious at first but, after consulting his touch judge and being told there had been a deliberate stamp, the referee shuffled his cards and went for red to confine Turner, an elite development player, to the sidelines for the duration.
It left Heriot’s with 14 men and 22 minutes to defend an 18-point lead. A bit of nervousness crept into the team when Nyle Godsmark finally went the distance on his wing and got his try for Accies. But Heriot’s settled their nerves when their forwards seized on a ball lost in contact and slipped it to the reliable speedster Colin Goudie, who outpaced everybody to run it in from 70 metres and put the game beyond the visitors.
Accies had the spirit and the energy to create one more converted try, lock Andrew Findlater getting the touchdown after a forward surge. It sealed a losing bonus point and another try would have doubled that, but it wasn’t going to happen with the clock running down.
Ultimately, Accies were well beaten and the final flourish was all too little and much too late to prevent Heriot’s waltzing away with the victory and the precious points.
“No complaints from me,” Accies coach Jonny Else said. “Heriot’s were the better team. They were clinical with the opportunities they created and made it hard for us to get the ball.
“Our first half performance wasn’t good enough. We were better in the second half but never really at the races.”
Heriot’s: L Steele; C Goudie, K Buchan, C Ferguson, H Boisseau; M Nimmo, G Wilson; C Owenson, K Bryce, S Mustard, M Douglas, R Nimmo, J Turley, A Henderson, J Hill. Replacements: G Turner, M McDonald, C Mulligan, OJ Brown, M Learmonth.
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole; N Godsmark, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, S Pequeur; A Blair, R Bonner; A Allan, M Liness, P Cringle, G Campbell, A Findlater, R Snape, N Aitken, H Watson. Replacements: D Morrison, S Strudwick, T Stuart, M Coupar, S Evans.
Referee: D Changleng.