Cochrane double makes difference for Heriot’s in cup final
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