Heriot's FP............44

Within days of neighbours Boroughmuir's complaints about the loss of a key player, Watsonians coach Andrew Ker was condemning the decision not to let players move in both directions between clubs and superteams.

His criticism followed his side's comprehensive defeat by their great rivals as Heriot's extended their lead at the top of the first division.

How Ker would have loved to have been able to include the likes of Scotland's most-capped player, Scott Hastings, currently out of favour at Edinburgh Reivers, and Glasgow Caledonians' Martin Waite, so eager to play that he was turning out for Watsonians' seconds.

Instead, the pair were debarred from first XV action because of a rule passed by Tennent's Velvet Premiership clubs preventing the selection of superteam players.

''It's an absolutely ludicrous situation,'' said Ker. ''I don't know which clubs agreed it, but it could only have been those that didn't lose many players to super-teams.''

Whether a couple of senior players could have transformed this match is a moot point, but they might have imposed a greater sense of discipline than did their otherwise highly-enterprising young captain, Jamie Weston.

Their coach felt that had much to do with the frustration suffered through bewilderment at the way the game was handled by the Irish referee. Ker believed considerable momentum had been lost when Watsonians should have been awarded a penalty try early in the game.

Heriot's had begun well, both props handling deftly to put

Stuart Walker over in the right corner inside a minute and

Gordon Ross subsequently adding the first of his six penalties.

However, their hosts were coming much more into the game when, after taking a quick tap penalty, Weston had only Gordon Lawrie to beat, chipped the ball neatly over him, then was blatantly obstructed by the full back.

Watsonians were enjoying their best period of the game, but the net result of no more than a penalty being awarded was that, instead of providing a lead as it should have, Marcus Di Rollo's breakaway interception try 12 minutes later merely brought them within a point.

Heriot's coach Donald McDonald was, afterwards, honest enough to admit both that his side were fortunate to have extended their advantage to 15 points at half-time and that Ker was right about the referee's failure to award a penalty try.

Though they took their turn to score within a minute of starting a half, Jamie Osborne claiming the unconverted try, Watsonians were in disarray in the third quarter.

Talking out of turn and a stupid off-the-ball obstruction were among offences that provided Ross with four kickable penalties in a

little over 10 minutes. Though he couldn't quite match his 100% success rate of the previous week, Ross kicked majestically in what was, all round, a commanding performance.

His swiftness in launching a counter-attack after Heriot's were awarded a penalty on their own line, let him release Gregor

Lawson, who made Iain Stent's job of scoring the vital second try an easy one, while his vision

created the opening for Jez Smith to go in for the third on the stroke of half-time, with a lineout, quickly taken by Stent, putting Simon Taylor in for the bonus point securing try.

Watsonians - M Mallinson; A Miller, M Di Rollo, A Garry, F Henderson; P Smith, J Weston; S Paris, G Dickson (M Smith 57 mins), S Lithgow, M McVie (G Hayter 40 mins), E Reed, C Buchanan, ( C Le Clos 3-5 mins), G Hills, J Osborne.

Heriot's FP - G Lawrie (S Dempster 75 mins); S Walker, I Stent, J Smith, G Lawson; G Ross, D Proctor (D Short 61 mins); J Bryce, J Taylor ( A McLean 68 mins), A Binnie, D Boswall, C Powrie, A Strachan, S Taylor (S Gilmour 71 mins)

Referee: S Buggy (Ireland)

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first) - 0-5, 0-8, 7-8, 7-15, 7-22 (half-time); 12-22, 12-25, 12-28, 12-31, 12-34, 12-41, 12-44, 19-44.

Scorers: Watsonians: tries - Di Rollo (22 min), Osborne (41), P Smith (80); cons - P Smith (22, 80). Heriot's: tries - Walker (1), Stent (32) J Smith (40), Taylor (66); cons - Ross (32, 40, 66 ); pens - Ross (4, 44, 47, 49, 55, 71).