Cochrane dou­ble makes dif­fer­ence for He­riot’s in cup fi­nal

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION - STU­ART BATH­GATE

NEIL Cochrane grabbed the lime­light with his two tries, but there was no deny­ing the all-round qual­ity of the He­riot’s per­for­mance as they re­claimed the BT Cup at Mur­ray­field on Satur­day.

The Ed­in­burgh hooker may have been the only full-timer in their ranks, but the whole squad again dis­played the pro­fes­sion­al­ism that has been the hall­mark of their ap­proach to big games.

They won their Premier­ship semi­fi­nal at Cur­rie by re­main­ing com­posed in the last play of the match, they pre­vailed in their cup semi at Glas­gow Hawks by clos­ing the game out for the 10-10 draw that took them through as the away team, and against Mel­rose they again showed calm­ness when it mat­tered. De­fend­ing an eight-point lead with quar­ter of an hour to play, He­riot’s en­sured they kept the struc­ture to their game that had taken them into that lead, and their op­po­nents had no an­swer.

Mel­rose, who had Ge­orge Turner, an­other Ed­in­burgh hooker, in their ranks, were the agents of their own down­fall as three of their play­ers were yel­low-carded. They held on well the first time they were a man down, draw­ing the 10-minute spell 3-3, but on the sec­ond oc­ca­sion they con­ceded those two tries to Cochrane. When they had Jamie Bhatti binned in the clos­ing min­utes for not rolling away, their chance was gone to make what would have been an im­prob­a­ble comeback.

Mel­rose took the lead at the end of an undis­tin­guished first quar­ter, when Nyle Gods­mark col­lected a clever kick ahead from Fraser Thom­son and scored in the cor­ner. Two penal­ties from John Sem­ple put He­riot’s in front just be­fore the break, and Graeme Dodds was sin­binned for a re­peated team of­fence, leav­ing Mel­rose to play the first 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half a man down.

Sem­ple claimed the first score af­ter the restart with his third penalty, only for Ja­son Bag­gott to re­duce the deficit to a sin­gle point again with a drop call. But then Carmichael was shown the yel­low card af­ter a brief flare-up, and this time He­riot’s took im­me­di­ate ad­van­tage.

They kicked the penalty to touch then drove from the li­ne­out, and Cochrane car­ried over then touched down. Min­utes later, Mel­rose were un­able to stop an­other driv­ing maul, and the hooker again fin­ished off the move. Sem­ple con­verted the sec­ond score, and although Murdo McAn­drew soon scored Mel­rose’s own sec­ond try af­ter a good break up the right, the Ed­in­burgh team rarely looked trou­bled in the dy­ing stages of the game.

The He­riot’s squad cel­e­brate with the BT Cup. Pic­ture: SNS

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