A dominant second-half performance which brought 20 unanswered points secured a second consecutive win on the road to establish Watsonians as the early-season pace-setters in this inaugural Super6 season.
They host Stirling County, who are second in the table after Saturday’s tense draw with Southern Knights, at Myreside next Sunday and will go into the match buoyed by the knowledge that they have established a winning habit without yet fully hitting their straps.
“It was a game of two halves,” said victorious head coach Fergus Pringle. “We gave away some soft penalties in the first half, so that meant we couldn’t keep any pressure on them, then we were a bit more disciplined on the second half which allowed our gameplan to come to fruition a bit more.
“There’s things that we know we need to get better at, so we’ll bank the points and start thinking about next week because we know that Stirling will be a massive challenge”
Watsonians had taken an early lead when full-back Jamie Forbes collected a clearance kick and ran it back with real purpose, sucking in two defenders before releasing Lomond MacPherson with an excellent pass out of contact. The winger still had plenty to do but made it look easy as he stepped inside last man Rory McMichael on his way to the line.
Heriot’s struck back when Jack Blain came off his wing for a set lineout move and sent McMichael in for the score, but the pendulum soon swung back Watsonians’ way when a wonderful bit of opportunism and execution by man-of-the-match Joe Reynolds saw the Kiwi midfielder scoop up a loose ball then gather his own dainty chip ahead for a fine individualist try.
Heriot’s ended the see-saw first half in the driving seat with Alex Ball nailing a 40-yard penalty following an off-the-ball tackle by Morgan Inness and then Scott Riddell getting the downward pressure after a trademark line-out drive marched the Watsonians pack back over their own line.
Heriot’s had an opportunity to build their momentum straight from kick-off at the start of the second half, but Scott Robeson chose contact when he had men free outside him, and from then on Watsonians took control.
Angus Guthrie did brilliantly to burst past Blain to score in the corner, Roan Frostwick sent MacPherson in for his second in the other corner – claiming the bonus point in the process – and then, while Heriot’s replacement hooker Michael Liness was in the sin-bin for an off-the-ball shoulder to Inness, Watsonians kicked a penalty through Lee Millar and scored their fifth try of the afternoon through hooker Cal Davies.
“At half-time it felt like we had dominated the game and had gifted them two scores, but then from the 41st minute we struggled to do the simple things: we missed penalties to touch, we had a four-on-one right at the start of the second half and carried it into contact instead of putting it through the hands, and so on,” said beaten head coach Phil Smith, inset.
“So, it was just poor decision making and I suppose that’s the whole point of the competition, to expose guys so that they are better when it is harder.
“It is frustrating because they scored five tries in the end, and it wasn’t a five-try performance. We didn’t put them under pressure in the right areas of the field.”
Heriot’s must regroup now ahead of another Edinburgh derby against Boroughmuir Bears at Meggetland next Friday night.