Domestic club rugby

Stuart Bathgate

HERIOT’s have the honour of being top of the Super6 table after the new tournament’s opening round of fixtures thanks to a 25-13 win over the Ayrshire Bulls at Millbrae yesterday.

The Goldenacre side won the try count 3-1 as their pack gradually gained control, with all three touchdowns coming courtesy of the forwards – Iain Wilson, Roman Seydak and then a penalty try being the scorers. Ross Jones got the victors’ other points with two conversions and two penalties, producing a margin of victory which takes Heriot’s above Stirling County and Watsonians on points differential.

“That was probably a bit more comfortable than I would have thought, because our last two games against Ayr have been really tough,” Heriot’s coach Phil Smith said.

“I was delighted. We were pretty unclear about how it was going to go or where we were.”

Bulls coach Peter Murchie accepted that his own team had been second best.

“It’s disappointing – felt like we never really got going, to be honest,” he said. “We were under pressure in the scrum, set piece in general was an issue, discipline was poor. They looked like a more cohesive team today.”

Ayr’s points came from a Tyler Beary interception try and a conversion and two penalties from Frazier Climo.

They were only two points down at the break, but failed to score in the second 40.

On Saturday, Watsonians fought back from 13-0 after an hour against the Southern Knights to win 14-13 – and that despite having three men in the sinbin over the course of the game. Any win at the Greenyards is worth celebrating, particularly when it is your team’s first game in a new competition, but Watsonians coach Fergus Pringle was not getting carried away.

“We were lucky today,” he admitted. “We gave away a lot of penalties and you don’t normally give away that many and win. Our defence was outstanding: we only conceded one try and that was when we were down to 14. I think that defence won us the game.”

Knights coach Rob Chrystie accepted that his team had had opportunities to win.

“Credit to Watsonians, I thought they were pretty physical with some big old units in the front five, and they took their chances,” he said. “They rode the storm at the right time and were a bit more accurate when they got into our 22. It is going to be scary from our perspective looking back at the video at how often we got into their 22 and didn’t get over the line, so that’s something for us to work on.”

Stirling County were the other team to win on the opening weekend of Super6, beating Boroughmuir Bears 27-24 at Meggetland on Friday night.

In the Premiership, meanwhile, Marr are still unbeaten at the top of the table, but they left it late before winning 18-17 at Glasgow Hawks. The home team were 14-0 up at one point in the first half, and after a Marr fightback they regained the lead at 17-15 with just a few minutes to play. In the end, though, a penalty by Colin Sturgeon gave the Ayrshire team the win

“We’ve not been playing particularly well, I don’t think,” Marr coach Craig Redpath said. “We had a few changes today, but I’m just happy with the win, and that spirit at the end there.”

Hawks are still second bottom, but, as Redpath pointed out, they look like a much-improved team now they have returned to something like full strength. “They’ve got a good number of their players back - I think people have underestimated them when they get their full team together.”

Currie Chieftains remain just a point behind Marr after winning 23-13 at Jed-Forest. Jed led at the break, but the Currie pack dominated possession in the second 40. With Gregor Hunter marshalling play, the visitors took control of the game, though in an increasingly tight title race it remains to be seen if they will rue missing out on a try bonus.

Third-place Aberdeen Grammar lost 14-31 at home to a resurgent Hawick, whose coach, George Graham, described the result as “a massive win” for the club. Edinburgh Accies won 26-24 at Selkirk, while Musselburgh claimed only their second win of the league campaign, beating GHA 39-35 in the highest-scoring game of the day.