A somewhat unusual start to the BT Premiership got underway with the 2014/15 league leaders Heriots kicking off under blue skies to the men from Meggatland. Some scrappy early exchanges eventually led to a penalty just inside the Muir 22 yard line for Heriots which was duly slotted by John Semple to give the nails an early advantage (0-3).
Within a minute of the restart Muir levelled things with a neat kick from Chris Laidlaw (3-3 – Grieg’s cousin, Roy’s youngest son – fact fans). Some direct running from Boroughmuir centre and Scotland Sevens player Alex Cox led to an infringement at the tackle area and that man Laidlaw was just short (3-3) on the ten minute mark. Defences were very much on top during the opening quarter with the intensity from both teams high and both set-pieces cancelling each other out.
Eventually some torrid yet attritional midfield battling from both sides led to a penalty to the Goldenacre men which Semple put through the uprights. (3-6) With the bit between their teeth Heriots began to turn the screw and on 22 minutes following a successful scrum on the right hand side of the pitch, they moved the ball through hands to put winger Liam Steele in on the far side corner, although Semple failed with the extras (3-11). With Heriots looking in the mood, Boroughmuir had to respond and a neat backs move down their left took them insight of the line. A knock on by Zimbabwean International flanker Andy Rose spurned the opportunity and the Nails were able to clear from the base of the resultant scrum. Muir again attacked from the set piece an a unsuccessful drop at goal by Laidlaw was called back for a penalty advantage. Muir kicked for touch and again went through hands, ultimately leading to a score from Jordan Edmunds in the corner. Laidlaw was again off target with his conversion (8-11). With ten minutes to go the boys in blue and green attacked again through a driving maul inside the opposition 22 but Heriots forced a penalty and were able to clear their lines through some impressive phase play. Without further incident half-time broke on a late-blossoming first act of an intriguing game which promised much for the second half.
Half-time: Boroughmuir 8 – 11 Heriots
Three changes for both sides at half-time saw some fresh impetuous and Heriots struck straight away with a push over try, eventually dotted down and credited as a ‘team try’ although Jack Turley took eventual credit for it. Semple missed the extras and from the restart Muir immediately went up the other end and scored under the posts through returning hero (and former Pro player) Sean Crombie, Laidlaw converted and it was game on (15-16) with only 10 minutes of the second half expired. With Crombie increasingly making his prescence felt Muir grew in confidence eventually excerpting enough pressure in midfield to put Jordan Edmunds in for a second score which Laidlaw couldn’t add to with the conversion kick. (20-16). Unfortunately for Edmunds, who was having a barnstorming game, he missed an interception attempt which put Heriots winger Charlie Simpson in for a routine score and this time substitute Stuart Taylor nailed the kick to swing things back in the favour of the Nails (20-23). Ten minutes later and Taylor missed a penalty chance from the twenty two. However, the game was beginning to open up and within two minutes Heriots had scored another try, this time through substitute Iain Wilson who barrelled over following a back move down the right, Taylors luck was out with the kick but going into the last ten minutes Heriots now held a solid lead. (20-28). Boroughmuir had other plans however and their two key players Edmunds and Crombie combined to give the latter his second of the game. Laidlaw’s erratic form with the boot continued and the kick was once again missed. (25-28). Two minutes to go and Muir bravely sought the line with a kick to touch instead of a penalty pop at goal. They puffed and drove for the line with replacement prop Dale Robertson cruelly spilling the ball over the line. Heriots held out for the win and brought the curtain down on a hugely entertaining advert for the club game in Scotland.
Man of the Match: Murray McCallum (Heriots RFC)
Boroughmuir: Marshall, Bradford, Cox, Cannie, Edmunds, Laidlaw, Adams, Wilson, Davies, Bachurzewski, Gibson, Field, Moody, Reid, Rose © Subs (all used): Crombie, Robertson, Keddie, Cairns, Smith, Davies, Hare
Heriots: Semple, Learmonth, Steele, Laird, Boisseau, Edwards, Wilson, McCallum, Liness, Cessford, Nimmo, Van Heerden, Turley ©, Dear, Mulligan Subs (all used): Mustard, Syme, Smith, Wilson I, Wilson G, Ferguson, Simpson