A HARD-FOUGHT home win saw Southern Knights climb to the summit of the Super6 table and leaves them as the only unbeaten team in the competition after four rounds of matches.
The final score-line does not fully reflect the game because the Borderers had to dig deep to find a way past a Bears side who dominated the first half and led up until just after the hour mark.
“Credit to the Bears, they are stuffy, they are really hard to play against, and they’ve got some threat,” said victorious head coach Rob Chrystie. “We know we can play better individually and collectively, but we won and now we’re looking forward to going up to Myreside on Friday night to have a real crack at [second in the table] Watsonians and we’ll see how we get on.”
To not even get a losing bonus-point was a bitter pill for the Bears to swallow, and head coach Graham Shiel spoke forcefully to his team in the post-match huddle, but insisted that his message had been positive.
“I’m incredibly proud of them, to be honest,” he said. “It is more frustration that we worked so hard and did a lot of good things but at the end of the day we let a few key moments slip past us and came away with nothing.
“So, it was about congratulating them for what they did out there because their backs were against the wall this week, and reinforcing that their hard work is paying off because they are moving in the right direction, but also encouraging them to keep demanding more from themselves.”
Bears raced into a fifth minute lead when Tom Brown battled through two tackles to reach the try-line, and that scoreboard advantage was stretched to eight points when Tom Pittman fired home a penalty.
Knights struck back when Craig Jackson went over in the corner, but they then lost their talismanic skipper to a serious leg injury sustained as he unsuccessfully attempted to halt Jordan Edmunds claiming a second Bears try just before the break.
Knights pulled it back to a single-point game with a converted Jason Baggot interception try early in the second period, and took the lead when Euan McLaren thundered home with 16 minutes to go, before a Baggott penalty on the stroke of full-time snatched the losing bonus-point away from the Bears.
Meanwhile, Heriot’s halted Watsonians’ winning streak with a 26-8 success at Goldenacre on Saturday afternoon, and a dramatic injury-time penalty by Craig Robertson secured a 30-28 win for Stirling County over Ayrshire Bulls at Bridgehaugh on Friday night.