Rugby Union: Ross raises game to elevate Heriot's

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The Independent Online
THE HERIOT'S director Fraser Dall heaped praise on Gordon Ross after his side beat Glasgow Hawks 25-17 to take over the lead in the BT Scotland Premiership. The stand-off kicked all but five of the champions' points, but it was his controlling influence in midfield which impressed Dall. "We won because Gordon was able to use our possession properly. Hawks had just as much - if not more - of the ball, but their backs couldn't do anything with it," he said.

Hawks were denied what seemed a valid try midway through the second half, the touch judge John Steel ruling that Andy Plastow's leg had clipped the touchline in the act of scoring. The Hawks coach, Shade Munro, insisted: "There wasn't even a doubt about it being a try - but to be honest, we should have finished them off long before that. Sure, we ended up scoring more touchdowns than them, but we got what we deserved for giving away so many penalties."

Melrose kept up their challenge with a hard-fought 22-20 success against Currie at The Greenyards, much to the delight of their player-coach, Gary Parker. "We have now picked up 13 points out of a possible 15 from the past three matches and I can't moan about that return," he said. "We didn't do much in the first 20 minutes, but once we got a kick up the backside we began to get moving. I think we ended up doing enough to serve notice of a bright future."

Richard Griffith was the prime Melrose player with two touchdowns, while Callum MacRae converted a series of crucial kicks. Steven Reed and Geoff Caldwell went over for the Malleny team, with the rest of their points coming from the boot of Ally Donaldson. Their coach, Bruce Macnaughton, was not too disheartened, insisting: "We competed well and if we keep on playing like that we will get results. We're not thinking in terms of relegation, but the rest of the season is going to be very tough."

Kelso produced a great fightback to beat Jed-Forest 24-17 in the Borders derby at Riverside Park as Graeme Aitchison put over three penalties in quick succession. The assistant Kelso coach, John Jeffrey, said: "We went out with a cup-tie attitude and we are hoping the result will kick-start the season for us. We are now at the foot of the pack, but if we had lost there was a danger our season would have been over already."

The home side's tries came from Andy Wilson, James Henderson and Kevin Liddle, and to compound Jed-Forest's misery, the replacement Ryan Griffiths was sent to the sin bin less than two minutes after replacing Callum Brown. The referee, Chuck Muir, claimed Griffiths had thrown a punch, an allegation he flatly denied.

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