Aberdeen Grammar 14
JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw
HAWICK’s first game in Aberdeen since October 2013 was a winning one, ending a recent run of poor results for the Border side to the relief of head coach George Graham, who would be well justified in regarding the game as one upon which his team can build.
“This was a massive win for us, as coming up here and winning is not easy as I have discovered over the years,” he said. “We were well up for it, and made the best of a good start, based on some good work up front. They came back at us, as was to be expected, although I was very surprised at how little they had to offer.”
Iain Stanger, the Grammar forwards coach, was disappointed in the inconsistency of his side, but said: “We have had a shortage of forwards of late. Losing the services of players of the calibre of Chris Jollands, who has gone to New Zealand, and Greig Ryan, who has just got married, makes it tough, but in fairness their replacements in the back-row stood up well. Jonny Spence and Nat Coe will grow into these roles.”
In truth, Grammar were always chasing the game, having fallen 24 points in arrears after only half an hour played to a Hawick side who were more concise and focussed in all they did, not least in the set-pieces where hooker Matt Carryer and lock Daniel Suddon were the most impressive in the face of a disjointed home pack.
The Aberdeen cause was not helped by some woeful tackling which led to three tries in the opening minutes, attributed to flanker Jae Linton, full-back Kirk Ford and centre Andrew Mitchell, who was marking his return to the Granite City where he played for Aberdeenshire at the time they were in National League 2.
Stand-off Ali Weir heaped more misery on the Rubislaw side with three conversions and a penalty to give the Greens an unassailable 24-point lead at the break. A half-time rollicking from Stanger gave the home support some faint hope, and Grammar staged a partial comeback which resulted in tries from centre Tom Aplin and No 8 Coe, both of which were converted by Aplin.
But Hawick rose to the challenge, and surged back to claim a well-earned try bonus point through Linton – just one of many men in the Hawick side to please the substantial away support.
Aberdeen Grammar: M Somerville; N Brown, M Mitchell, T Aplin, D Russell; S Knudson(c), J Troup. C Reddish, A Cook, M Schosser, A Robertson, R Cessford, B Inglis, J Spence, N Coe. Subs: D Wallen, R Anderson, W Alton, P Ritchie.
Hawick: K Ford; L Ferguson, W Griebenow, A Mitchell, L Gordon-Wooley; A Weir, GWelsh, D Johnston, M Carryer, C Greer, D Suddon, A Piotrowski, J Linton, S Graham, S.Fairbairn. Subs: C Renwick, R Toogood, M Renwick, G Welsh, M Bannerman.
Referee: J Perriam.
Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Aplin, Coe; Cons: Aplin 2.
Hawick: Tries: Linton 2, Ford, Mitchell; Cons: Weir 4; Pen: Weir.
Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-10; 0-15; 0-17; 0-22; 0-24 (h-t) 5-24; 7-24; 12-24; 14-24; 14-29; 14-31.
Yellow card –
Hawick: S Fairburn.
Man of the match: Hawick lock Daniel Suddon served up a near flawless performance in the boiler room of the Green Machine, although he was hard pushed for the honour by hooker Matty Carryer and flanker Jae Linton.
Talking point: The insistence of the system that games in the North East of Scotland start at 2pm, given that by 3.30, when those games end, it is bordering on darkness.