GARY HEATLY @ Meggetland
BOROUGHMUIR cannot now be automatically relegated after a last gasp try earned them two bonus points in a narrow loss to Heriot’s at Meggetland in the BT Premiership on Friday night.
Peter Wright’s men are on 30 points and in seventh place after this defeat, but they could still finish in the relegation play-off spot that goes to a last day battle. But they cannot now be caught by bottom placed Marr.
At 33-17 down Boroughmuir were staring down the barrel, but a converted try by winger Jordan Edmunds came with 15 minutes to go gave them a lifeline, and then in the dying seconds Heriot’s had second-row Jack Turley yellow-carded and replacement Adam Sinclair red-carded.
Turley was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle while it looked as if Sinclair punched Boroughmuir full-back Grant McConnell.
After the fracas, the hosts knew they needed a try desperately and it came through hooker Johnny Matthews, his second of the night, to get two vital points.
“We started well, but then Heriot’s realised that they could dominate us up front with their physicality and with them going in at half-time up it made it hard for us,” said Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright.
“We then had about three touches of the ball in the second half and the game could have been out of sight, but Jordan Edmunds does what he does and scores a great solo try and then there is the incident where they lose two men and we kept battling for our lives.
“In a way, I am happy with the two points given where we were with 15 or so minutes to go, but on the other hand we know we could have maybe sneaked it.
“My players showed great resilience though and we have to regroup and take that to Hawks next week.”
For the home side, Matthews led the way well and Edmunds always comes up with a bit of magic, but collectively they will be annoyed with how they let Heriot’s bully them. The visitors finish fifth and are left to wonder what might have been.
“I am pleased to finish with a win given the start we had,” said their coach Phil Smith. “To be 17-5 down and have our scrum-half and Callum Marshall off injured was not ideal, but the guys scored some good tries.”
“Credit to Boroughmuir, they are fighting for their lives and kept coming at us when we tired late on.”
For the visitors, centre Robbie Mulvena finished his impressive campaign with two tries, while Turley led the pack well – until the late card.
Heriot’s got off to a terrible start, knocking on from the kick-off and then conceding two penalties. The hosts took full advantage of their sleepy visitors and scored a try in the third minute through Matthews. Captain Chris Laidlaw converted.
A minute later, Heriot’s lost influential scrum-half Tom Wilson through injury meaning a re-jig of their backline with full-back Charlie Simpson moving to nine.
Heriot’s did wake up and in the 16th minute winger Liam Steele’s run down the right got them 10 metres from the home line. A penalty was then conceded by the defence and winger Ciaran Whyte was yellow carded. With the man advantage Heriot’s scored a try through second-row Callum Marshall after a good forward drive.
In the 21st minute, the 14-men of Boroughmuir extended the lead to 10-5 after a Laidlaw penalty. And after they had returned to a full complement, they extended their lead in the 29th minute when Laidlaw ran in from 30 metres and then converted his own try to make it 17-5.
Heriot’s closed the gap to five points when they scored another forwards’ try through hooker Michael Liness and Ross Jones converted.
On the stroke of half-time, the men from Goldenacre bagged a third try to take the lead of 19-17 after back-row Iain Wilson went over and Jones converted.
Those two scores seemed to give the visitors confidence and they went in for their bonus point try in the 45th minute after a mix-up in the home defence. Replacement Stuart Edwards’ neat grubber through was not dealt with and centre Robbie Mulvena pounced for the converted try.
Mulvena then added another and at 33-17 Heriot’s were in control.
They began to tire, though, and Edmunds’ try seemed to breathe life into the hosts, who found an extra gear when they had previously looked out on their feet.
Then came the flare-up near the end, but Boroughmuir stayed composed and the Matthews try and Laidlaw conversion could be very important in the final reckoning in eight days’ time.
Boroughmuir: G McConnell; C Whyte, R Kerr, G Cannie, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw, J Adams; R Montgomery, J Matthews, T Gracie, J Ure, F Field, A Mncube, R Ure, C Keddie. Subs: D Marek, T Drennan, R Young, E McKirdy, M Brown.
Heriot’s: C Simpson; L Steele, R Jones, R Mulvena, R Kay; R Carmichael, T Wilson; M Bouab, M Liness, S Cessford, J Turley, C Marshall, M Maltman, I Wilson, S Dewar. Subs: A Johnstone, C Anderson , A Sinclair, D Martin, S Edwards.
Referee: R Mabon.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Matthews 2, Laidlaw, Edmunds; Pen: Laidlaw; Cons: Laidlaw 4.
Heriot’s: Tries: Marshall, Liness, I Wilson, Mulvena 2; Cons: Jones 4.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 10-5; 17-5; 17-10; 17-12; 17-17; 17-19 (h-t) 17-24; 17-26; 17-31; 17-33; 22-33; 24-33; 29-33; 31-33.
Yellow cards –
Red card –
Heriot’s: Adam Sinclair
Man-of-the-Match: Heriot’s won the match, but for the way he kept his side going with sheer desire and honest endeavour it goes to Booughmuir two-try hooker Johnny Matthews.
Talking point: Why do both these sides blow so hot and cold? They are both great attacking outfits, but lapses in concentration cost them and this 80-minutes was like both their seasons wrapped up in one game. Both sides will surely look back on 2017-18, shake their heads and wonder what might have been.