Southern Knights 12-19 Heriot’s: Melrose men still seeking first win

Heriot's centre Cameron Hutchison stops Ciaran Whyte of the Southern Knights.  Photograph: John Devlin
Heriot's centre Cameron Hutchison stops Ciaran Whyte of the Southern Knights. Photograph: John Devlin
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Heriot’s claimed their second victory in the FOSROC Super 6 series after overcoming a Southern Knights side that is still without a win and which struggled to show fluency against the Goldenacre men.

It was a dark night in Melrose by the time the full-time hooter sounded at the Greenyards and it is probably true to say that the collective mood in the Knights’ dressing room was equally dark as the home team reflected on a fourth successive defeat.

Of course, with no relegation to worry about and Super6 still evolving, it is early days for the Southern Knights but even so there must now be some concern within the Melrose franchise that results remain elusive.

The Knights did manage to extract a losing bonus point with a late try by Jason Baggott, but by then Heriot’s already knew they had victory secured. And a deserved victory it was. Throughout the match Heriot’s played with ambition, moving the ball wide and in the second half especially injected considerable pace into their game.

“I felt we were the team trying to play with width in the game and on another day we would have scored a number of tries,” said the Heriot’s coach, Phil Smith, who praised the contributions of his replacements.

Yet it was ambition that cost Heriot’s in the first half after a dropped pass allowed the Knights’ outside centre Patrick Anderson to hoof the ball up field and then using clever soccer skills to direct the ball in the direction of the supporting wing Joe Jenkins who finished the breakaway move with a try converted by Baggott.

Prior to this score Heriot’s had been under assault on their own line as the Knights repeatedly tried to batter their way over from close range in a ten-minute spell that included four penalty awards to the Greenyards men.

The Knights’ 7-0 half time lead was soon wiped out when, at the beginning of the second half, pressure on the home team’s line and repeated penalties eventually resulted in a yellow card, Russell Anderson taking it for the team. Shortly afterwards Heriot’s used their man advantage to win a penalty to level the scores.

Heriot’s then took the lead when replacement Jack Blain raced in at the corner after exemplary handling from the inside backs. The gap widened when Michael Liness took a short pass from man-of-the-match, Stuart Edwards, to score under the posts, leaving Ross Jones with a simple conversion kick.

Baggott’s unconverted try lightened the gloom at the Greenyards but it will need more than a consolation score to really lift the spirits for the struggling southern franchise.