DOUGIE ROSS @ Old Anniesland
GLASGOW HAWKS made their place in the top four play-offs a mathematical certainty with a victory which also ensures that Boroughmuir’s battle for top flight survival will carry on for at lest one more week.
The match kicked into gear straight away with Boroughmuir stand-off Chris Laidlaw failing to collect a loose pass not far from his own line and conceding the scrums, yes plural, which would lead to Hawks’ first score when second-row Scott Cummings bulldozed over.
It must have felt like déjà vu for the visitors who fell behind in a similarly early fashion last weekend. Lessons had clearly been learned since their trip to Ayr, however, as Boroughmuir immediately pulled their socks up and got themselves back in the game, and a try came for the away side after 16 minutes when winger Jordan Edmunds beat Paddy Boyer on the wing to bring the scores to 7-5 .
The game seemed to be leaning in the visitors’ favour with Hawks having to defend for their lives at some points, but for the most part it was fairly tight with ball handling errors coming thick and fast for both teams in what could only be described as an arm-wrestle in the middle of the park for most of the first half.
Hawks managed to extend their lead in the 30th minute when they finally had an attack in the opposition 22 and centre Brendan McGroarty broke the line, and the centre struck again two minutes later when he was expertly set up in the corner by full-back Josh Henderson, who produced a beautiful fake pass and exhibited salsa-like hips to beat a tackle in the lead up.
Boroughmuir, desperate not to go into the half the same way they did last week, brought the game back with what was undoubtedly the try of the game.
Cannie chipped the ball in behind the on-rushing Hawks defence and it landed perfectly in Grant McConnell’s hands. From there, the winger went on to beat away three attempted tackles before scoring under the posts.
That left Boroughmuir well poised at half-time, but it was Hawks who struck first after the break, taking three points rather than going for the corner from a penalty.
In the 54th minute Hawks put the end result almost past doubt when fly-half Hagan Schulte went round the outside of an overlap and scored the home team’s bonus point try.
Boroughmuir did not stop fighting and managed to get their third try with just over twenty minutes to play, when loosehead prop Dale Robertson rolled past an attempt at a tackle and over the line.
The home side kicked another penalty to make it 34-19.
“That’s us secured top four, which was our goal at the start of the year, so we can tick that box,” said Glasgow Hawks head coach Finlay Gillies. “It was good to score four tries. The most disappointing thing is the tries we conceded were very, very poor. It wasn’t our best performance of the season but we’ll take it.”
“We were in the game at half-time and they came out in the second half and dominated the breakdown, kept the ball for great lengths of time, and when we got the ball back we tried to force too many things to happen, so we got exactly what we deserved which was nothing,” said Peter Wright of Boroughmuir.
Hawks: J Henderson; E Oag, R Beattie, B McGroarty, K Gossman; H Schulte, P Boyer; S Findlay, C Fenton, G Strain, S Cummings, A Kirkland, M Smith, S Leckey, T Spinks (c). Subs: S Rodgers, L Archer, A Linton, R Miller, S Yacoubian.
Boroughmuir: G Cannie; G McConnell, A Cox, M Hare, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw (c ), D Steele; D Robertson, T King, T Gracie, C Atkinson, J Ure, A Mncube, C Keddie, M Tweddle. Subs: S Clark, P Richards, M Henry, S Johnston, R Kerr.
Referee: Kevin White
Hawks: Tries: Cummings, McGroarty 2, Schulte; Cons: Henderson 4; Pens: Henderson 2.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Edmunds, McConnell, Robertson; Cons: Laidlaw 2.
Scoring sequence (Hawks first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 12-5; 14-5; 19-5; 21-5; 21-10; 21-12 (h-t|) 24-12; 31-12; 31-17; 31-19; 34-19.
Man-of-the-Match: Hawks centre Brendan McGroarty’s two tries were crucial, especially because they came in a two minute spell which really changed the game.
Talking point: Gordon McConnell’s try for Boroughmuir was a piece of sublime skill which any neutral spectator would watch again and again.