Hawick were left to rue missed opportunities as a late second-half rally saw Heriot’s edge victory at Mansfield Park on Saturday.
Their win was the capital side’s first in the current BT Premiership and also marked the first time they have tasted victory over Hawick in 12 months after the Greens managed to record home and away successes last season.
Hawick started the 2013/14 campaign lethargically and seem to repeating that again this term with Heriot’s controlling proceedings with much more fluid passing. Hawick skipper Rory Hutton tried to inspire those around him but such was their inertness that most of what he tried ended up on the floor.
During the opening exchanges, the Teries kept their try-line intact with some ferocious tackling, but when Bruce McNeil was penalised for not rolling away in the tackle, Heriot’s’ Graham Wilson broke the deadlock with an easy penalty on 12 minutes, which was all either side could muster before the break.
The Heriot’s defence held firm until the 50th minute when a short passing sequence between Greg Cottrell and Ali Weir fed Hutton, who kicked a low ball into the corner that split the Heriot’s defence for winger Scott McLeod to pounce on and score. Lee Armstrong missed the extra points to leave Hawick trailing 5-6.
Edinburgh pro Joaquin Domingues then engineered Hawick’s second try minutes after the restart. The big centre breaking some tackles before playing in Hutton who streaked away to touch down under the posts. Armstrong made no mistake this time to put Hawick 12-6 in front.
The two-score five-minute blitz proved a confidence-boosting effort for Hawick, but the game began to stagnate and with the Greens sitting back, deep inside their own 22, things turned sour for the home side.
After a couple of minutes huffing and puffing on Hawick’s 22, Heriot’s replacement Ben Cogley found himself in acres of space and the prop was left with a simple try under the posts when the ball was spread through the hands with Hawick failing to react.
Wilson converted and the scrum-half then extended the visitors’ lead with his third penalty to nudge them 16-12 infront with 10 minutes to go.
Hutton, who had been faultless, was involved in the final Hawick attacks of the game, manufacturing a move from a lineout deep inside the Heriot’s half, which resulted in a motoring Nikki Walker fallijg short of the line after a superb cover tackle from Max Learmonth.
Walker then squandered a second chance, before the game ended in confusion when Armstrong blazed down the tram lines, darting between a tired Heriot’s defence, for what he thought was a try, only for the assistant referee to flag for a foot in touch.
Hawick: L. Armstrong, N. Walker, J. Domingues, R. Hutton, S. McLeod, A. Weir, S. Goodfellow, S. Muir, R. Graham, M. Landles, F. Simpson, K. Willison, B. McNeil, K. Davies, R. Scott. Replacements: L. Gibson, S. Graham, S. Peffers, N. McLennan, G. Cottrell.