Heriot’s step up in second half

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Title chasers Heriot’s came good at Goldenacre for a second half in which Hawick were swept aside to ensure the city side stay hot on the heels of Ayr at the top of the Premiership.

It was a promising start for the hosts when a lineout steal ended with Glen Bryce cutting inside to score and captain Graham Wilson banged over the conversion from the touchline.

Complacency and carelessness set in however and Hawick seized their chance, led by the aggressive destructiveness of lock Bruce McNeil in the pack and player/coach Nikki Walker out on the right wing. Indeed it was Walker who set up his side’s opening try by breaking through a couple of tackles before sending scrum half Greg Cottrell in to touch down.

Another spell of Hawick pressure opened a gap for stand-off Rory Hutton to slip through for a second try. Lee Armstrong’s conversion and a penalty in front of the posts shunted the visitors into the lead. Half time score: Heriot’s 7 Hawick 15.

Hawick were eight points ahead at half-time – reduced by three when Wilson kicked a simple penalty minutes after the restart.

But then replacement prop Nick McLennan, unable to hold up a scrum that had been under pressure all afternoon, earned a yellow card and before he returned from the sin-bin Heriot’s had struck twice.

Flanker Jack Turley brought the scores level with a try at the end of a rolling maul. Then Charlie Simpson’s lightning break over the gain line set up loosehead prop Nathan Borel to do exactly the same.

Hawick’s pack was back to full strength but tiring rapidly and they had no answer to an eight-man drive at a five-metre scrum except to collapse it. The penalty try was awarded and with it the bonus point.

Walker said: “I am not too disappointed. There were some good bits in that performance out there.

“We broke through a few times and if we had just taken those opportunities it could have been a very different result. Heriot’s were clinical and took their chances.”