Watsonians moved into the top four of the Tennent’s Premiership after outmuscling their capital rivals in a hard-fought affair under the lights at Myreside last night. Both sides tried to play their hallmark running rugby, but ultimately it was the quality of the home defence in an extended spell on the back foot in the first half that proved the key to their success.
The hosts opened the scoring in five minutes when Lee Millar, pictured, slotted a straightforward penalty before the Watsonians defence showed their defensive grit. Heriot’s battered relentlessly for more than 20 minutes and spurned two kickable penalties in favour of booting the ball into touch. But they were unable to capitalise on their territorial supremacy and fell further behind when Millar sent over a sweetly struck drop goal.
Millar doesn’t often miss but the Watsonians stand-off registered a rare failure with 30 minutes on the clock, albeit from a long way out. The home side ended the first half in the ascendancy and this time it was the turn of the visitors to show their mettle in defence.
They did so impressively, holding firm as the hosts inched ever closer. And in the final play of the opening 40 minutes, Ruaridh Leishman nabbed a vital turnover to leave the gap at six points.
Watsonians restarted well and finally found a way through the opposition in 54 minutes when Jack Stanley applied the final touch after the home pack drove over.
Millar converted, then missed his second penalty of the night to offer the visitors some hope.
However, he was back on track with his next effort, ensuring there was no way back for Heriot’s, although they had the consolation of finally breaking down a seemingly watertight defence when Craig Robertson dotted down with the final play.