10 talking points from round 16 of the Tennent’s Premiership

Hawks move clear of the danger zone, Accies reach the end of the road, Ayr consolidate top spot and the play-off seedings become slightly clearer

Glasgow Hawks V Edinburgh Accies
Glasgow Hawks picked up the win they needed over Edinburgh Accies. Image: John Williamson
  • Ayr won at a canter against Hawick at Mansfield and picked up a bonus point in the process – despite the inconvenience of a nonsensical yellow card to their main man, Frazier Climo, for a perfectly legitimate attempted interception. Undeterred by a series of what appeared to be life threatening injuries, Stevie Longwell found the time to destroy the Hawick scrum – Paddy Dewhirst was a revelation on the wing – and they clearly have an embarrassment of riches in the back row when Alex McGuire starts on the bench.

 

 

  • Another great advert for the Tennent’s Premiership at Myreside where Currie Chieftains won well against Watsonians – notwithstanding concomitant yellow cards to Thomas Gordon and Mike Vernel.   Their centres were strong – Gregor Hunter kicked his goals confidently – Fergus Scott led from the front and charged over for the bonus point try. They now head down to The Greenyards next week with a very real chance of grabbing the second home play-off spot and Mark Cairns profound thoughts no doubt ringing in their years: “You could call it base camp. We’ve still got a lot of climbing to do. We just want to put out a better performance each week. We got that here though our performance against Heriot’s was good. Melrose next week away from home we’ll have to be better than this performance again. If we do that and keep climbing, we’ll be in with a shout at the end of the season’.

 

  • Last week’s disappointment at Malleny shoved Heriots’ match with Melrose firmly into the ‘must-win’ tray – and they duly obliged – with some style – and a bonus point thrown in for good measure. Their attack was sharp – their defence was solid – and their bench was influential. A good all-round team performance – Jack McLean and Iain Wilson were excellent in the back-row – and stand-off Stuart Edwards was very much the man who made it all happen.

 

  • With Heriot’s winning at the Greenyards, defeat against Chieftains effectively killed off Watsonians’ play-off aspirations. DJ Innes was a late call-off and as expected, they missed Jack Stanley at scrum time – but it was a couple of soft tries early doors that did the real damage – all of which was incidental to Steve Lawrie, who ungrudgingly acknowledged that ‘the better team won on the day’.

 

  • There was a feeling abroad this past couple of weeks that Boroughmuir had turned some sort of corner  – but their game against Stirling at Meggetland would suggest that the turn led them into a cul-de-sac. Peter Wright thinks that mental toughness rather than lack of talent is their problem – a hypothesis which might be borne out by their failure to have won against any other Super-6 side all season – and a situation which is unlikely to change with only Heriot’s and Melrose to come – both of whom are desperate for play-off points.

 

  • Stirling County played well against Boroughmuir at Meggetland – and got their just deserts. Their set-piece was strong – their ball retention was good – Ally Mackie carried aggressively and effectively – whilst Craig Robertson and Logan Trotter both looked dangerous, again. They had the bonus point in the bag by half-time – and battled their way assuredly through a sticky patch mid-way through the second half – which they probably would not have done earlier in the season. Good stuff!

 

  • It has been a long hard season for Fin Gillies and Glasgow Hawks, and in the final analysis it came down to strength of character against relegation rivals Edinburgh Accies on a freezing afternoon at Balgray – and they pulled through – just. It was not much of a game but they clung on doggedly to guarantee their place in the top tier for next season – albeit by the narrowest of margins. Gary Strain has been around the block a couple of times with Hawks – so it was fitting  perhaps that he scored one of the crucial tries – and was nominated man-of-the- match.

 

  • Hawick were out-powered and eventually out-played by Ayr at Mansfield. George Graham was not happy – but, in fairness, they showed heaps more conviction and endeavour than they had at Raeburn Place last week. They were simply beaten by a stronger, better-organised side. Their scrum cracked – but Bruce McNeil performed heroics converting bad ball into semi-usable ball. Their line-out was under constant attack – but they still scraped a share. They were frequently out-muscled at the break down – but they did compete. They were, however, perpetually on the back foot – and their kicking game was not good enough to relieve the pressure. Their discipline was much improved – but their reward was a couple of very dubious yellows from a card happy referee.

 

  • Beaten by Glasgow Hawks at Balgray, Edinburgh Accies finally run out of road – but there will be huge sympathy and not a little support from within the game’s grass roots if they are deemed expendable in Mark Dodson’s driven pursuit of his Super-6 master plan.

Spain v Scotland: Hannah Smith shines in narrow loss in Madrid

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article

Support our new, improved coverage this season 2019-20, with Super 6, National 1 and 2 leagues, fixtures and tables, and the small matter of our comprehensive coverage of Scotland at the RWC from Japan.

Invest in our game – you can make a difference by keeping Scottish rugby at all levels in the news.

Subscribe to The offside Line

Big in Japan: The Offside Line at RWC2019