COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
GLASGOW Hawks retained top spot with an impressive performance, scoring seven tries to eventually shrug off a determined Boroughmuir side that contributed handsomely to an engrossing clash that was decided in a four minute spell in the second half.
We showed great character,” said Hawks coach Finlay Gillies, admitting that there were some concerns as the home side led for the first time early in the second half. “I still don’t believe we have shown our hand yet – we are still the best kept secret in this league. Even though we are at the top, I don’t think we’ve hit our straps yet.”
His counterpart Peter Wright was obviously unhappy with the outcome but, like everyone else at Meggetland, had enjoyed witnessing a spectacular encounter.
“First and foremost, what a fantastic game of rugby”, he said. “Obviously we are disappointed with the loss, but I think as an advert for the Premiership, it was a great game. Ultimately we came up short on the physical side.
“Some of the stuff played by both sides was excellent. Five minutes of madness killed the game, but that’s the quality of Hawks.”
Both sides went into the fixture with morale high after impressive wins the previous week. Hawks drew first blood with a penalty by George Horne in two minutes but Chris Laidlaw cancelled that out with a similar effort two minutes later.
That sparked a spell of pressure from the hosts with Jordan Edmunds, Grant McConnell and Matt Walker all close to breaking through. However, the Hawks defence held firm and it was the visitors who were next on the score sheet.
The league’s joint top scorer Junior Bulumakau was shunted backwards by a ferocious tackle. But Hawks kept the ball alive with impressive recycling and worked it out to skipper Tommy Spinks who was held just short but managed to stretch over for the score. Horne added the extra two points to take the Hawks tally into double figures.
Within a couple of minutes parity had been restored once more. Greg Cannie dodged his way into the opposition 22 and offloaded to Dougie Steele who found Matt Walker on his shoulder and the flanker completed the job. Laidlaw stroked over the conversion.
Hawks responded with a renewed spell in the ascendancy and they edged in front once more when Scott Rodgers was the instigator and Horne the creator as he fired out a long pass that found Kerr Gossman in space for a free run to the line.
Again Boroughmuir replied in kind with second phase ball moved out wide where Stuart Clark sent Jordan Edmunds in for an unconverted score.
The breathless end-to-end stuff continued apace and Hawks looked set to score again with another string of pick and drive attempts. The home defence appeared to have stolen the ball but the referee deemed that Alex Cox had done so illegally and yellow carded the centre.
And in the follow up Sean Yacoubian fed Brendan McGroarty who raced in between the posts, leaving Horne a straightforward conversion.
An engrossing first half had one final twist and it came deep into injury time when young prop Ross Dunbar raced onto a pop pass and powered over. Laidlaw converted and had a chance to give his side the lead when the game restarted with a penalty to the hosts on the half way line. However, his effort failed narrowly and the sides went in at the break locked at 22-22.
Two penalties by Laidlaw edged Boroughmuir into the lead but the stand off undid his good work when he threw out a long pass which Robert Beattie intercepted before sprinting in from 50 metres.
Horne again converted then struck a further blow a minute later when he was on hand to finish off another breakout try sparked by McGroarty before slotting the conversion.
The triple blow was completed two minutes later when Bulumakau was thwarted just short of the target but Yacoubian fed Grant Stewart who plunged over. Horne’s conversion handed Hawks a 43-28 advantage entering the final quarter.
And the visitors wrapped up the victory when Spinks powered his way over for a second time in the dying minutes.
Boroughmuir: G Cannie; G McConnell, R Kerr, A Cox, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw, D Steele; R Dunbar, S Clark, D Winning, J Ure, J Scott, J Ritchie, M Walker, C Keddie©. Subs; L Robinson, D Robertson, A Rose, R Cairns, D Reekie.
Hawks: J Steele; J Bulumakau, R Beattie, B McGroarty, K Gossman; G Horne, S Yacoubin; S Findlay, S Rodgers, G Strain, A Linton, A Kirkland, A Redmayne, G Stewart, T Spinks©. Subs: P Cairncross, B Cullinane, S Thompson, D Milne, L Tyley.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Walker, Edmunds, Dunbar, Conversions: Laidlaw (2), Penalties: Laidlaw (3)
Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Spinks (2), Gossman, McGroarty, Beattie, Horne, Stewart, Conversions: Horne (5), Penalty: Horne
Yellow card: Cox (Boroughmuir 40)
Referee: M Adamson
Talking point: Even without the professionals who have helped build momentum over recent weeks, Hawks showed that they have the players in the club to challenge for honours.
Man-of-the-Match: There were many contenders on both sides, but George Horne showed the full gamut of his skills, kicker, creator and finisher.
Scoring sequence; (Boroughmuir first) 0-3,3-3, 3-8, 3-10, 8-10,10-10, 10-15, 15-15, 15-20, 15-22, 20-22, 22-22 (h-t), 25-22, 28-22, 28-27, 28-29, 28-34, 28-36, 28-41, 28-43.
Image: Craig Watson