Rugby: Wilson privileged to have reached 1500-point mark

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Heriot’s captain Graham Wilson has become the first player from the Goldenacre club to top 1500 points in all competitive games.

Following in distinguished footsteps – which include ex-international goal-kickers Ken Scotland, Andy Irvine, Peter Steven and Gordon Ross – the 26-year-old utility back took his tally to 1518 with a try and conversion in last weekend’s Premiership clash with Melrose.

A week earlier, in the runaway 107-0 cup rout of Lasswade, Graham, son of former Boroughmuir and Scotland B stand off Duncan Wilson, racked up a 29-point haul.

“Being aware of the quality of players who have kicked goals for Heriot’s down the years does make me feel even more pleased to have reached 1500 and after passing Gordon Ross, who scored 1200 points.

“I suppose the next target has to be 2000 points,” said Wilson, who has played 178 games for the club he joined from Dollar Academy where he appeared in two Brewin Dolphin Schools Cup final wins.

Entering the senior ranks, Wilson, right, returned to Murrayfield twice with Heriot’s on cup final day and gained legendary club status in 2009 with a long-range penalty in the dying moments to defeat Melrose 21-19 and lift the trophy.

“Of all the points I have scored, that kick is undoubtedly the most memorable,” said Wilson, whose tally comprises 29 tries, 352 conversions, 223 penalties and 18 drop goals. “That final win also helped make up for losing to Melrose [24-31] the previous year.”

Entering the club as a full back, Wilson quickly switched to scrum half where he operated exclusively until this season.

“Coach Phil Smith had the idea of moving me to stand off to have a look at young Sam Hidalgo-Clyne as a scrum half and I feel the switch has helped to broaden my outlook.

“You get a different impression of how a game is unfolding which is hopefully making me a better player.”

An obvious target is a Scottish clubs’ international cap having been an unused substitute on one occasion, and even when Hidalgo-Clyne, one of Scotland’s top teenage prospects, was moved to full back last weekend and OJ Brown stepped up, Wilson remained at stand off for a match which saw the tables turned on Heriot’s by Melrose.

In losing to a last-minute try there was an element of symmetry in the fact they had done exactly that to trump the reigning champions on their own pitch earlier in the season.

“I suppose we really couldn’t complain too much about how things turned out given what we had done to Melrose, but it was a blow in our quest to reach the top four and qualify for the British and Irish Cup again,” said Wilson, who captained 
Heriot’s for the fourth time.

Heriot’s helped pioneer Scottish involvement three years ago and Wilson, a sports co-ordinator in Falkirk who lives in the Capital, recalls: “Matches against Nottingham, Bristol, Munster A and Neath were a great experience and the B&I Cup is an enormous incentive for us.

“We’ve reached a critical part of the season where things could go two ways. Either we kick on now and contest the top four places, or we got drawn into a relegation battle because the league is proving extremely tight.

“Our next Premiership match against Dundee on Saturday week will give a clear indication of the direction we are heading and Saturday’s visit to Murrayfield Wanderers in the Edinburgh Regional Cup promises to provide opportunities to give players a chance to stake claims for the Dundee fixture.”

Heriot’s have two wins out of two in the cup, while Wanderers will be keen to break their duck having suffered three defeats by a single score, to Musselburgh, Watsonians and Biggar.

At Malleny Park, Currie will unveil Kiwi signing Caleb Van der Westerlo for their clash with Watsonian opponents who put a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions on the line.

James Johnstone is on sevens duty and Dougie Fife travels with Edinburgh to Racing Metro, while Johnny Gray guests 
for Melrose in the B&I Cup, and Fergus Scott is injured.