ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park
HAWICK are still at the foot of the Premiership table but their narrow win over Currie at Mansfield Park suggests that the Greens remain competitive despite their mauling by Glasgow Hawks last weekend.
“Obviously last week was a bad week. I’ve never really seen that before from a Hawick team.” admitted the Hawick head coach, Nikki Walker. “We had an honest chat and put in a lot of hard work and we saw the result today in our performance.”
“I think the boys were hurting from last week. They were a bit embarrassed. In a way we used last week’s horror display to energise us. And it worked. I think they got the result they deserved today,” he added.
For their part Currie will be desperately disappointed to lose to Hawick, after a first half in which they dominated possession and territory and a second half in which they were able to hit back and put themselves into a potential match winning position after Hawick had moved into the ascendancy
Moreover Currie outscored their opponents by four tries to three in a match that ultimately came down to goal kicking and notably an injury time failed conversion attempt which had it succeeded would have given the Malleny Park men victory.
In the end justice was probably seen to be done in a game where the refereeing team had one of its less distinguished days. Two of Currie’s tries followed refereeing blind-spots, the first a missed knock-on and the second an accidental off-side.
This is a young Currie side and one which will grow into a strong team. Outstanding for Currie was full back Harvey Elms, who looked dangerous with ball in hand, and second row Stephen Ainslie, who put in a tireless shift.
After what seemed an interminable period of no scoring it was Currie who made the breakthrough, as Ben Robbins drifted from this blindside wing to take a pass from the line-out to score, stand-off James Bywater converting.
Then former Scotland under-18 cap Cameron Hutchison showed his mettle by taking an inside line to evade the Hawick defence for Currie’s second try, Bywater again adding the extras.
If it had looked one-way traffic with Currie doing the attacking and Hawick the defending then the Greens quickly gave a different view of the game by first winning choice possession and then moving the ball first to the left and then back to the right side of the pitch for Bruce McNeil to battle over for a try, converted by Ali Weir to leave Hawick trailing 7-14 at the break.
Hawick quickly showed both resolve and a bit of nous in the second half, their poor kicking from hand and with it a handing-over of possession to the opposition replaced by a determination to hold on to the ball.
That brought its reward in a penalty by Weir and then when Hawick turned the screw on the Currie line, flanker Tommy Gordon was yellow carded for illegally preventing recycling of the ball.
From the resultant penalty Hawick kicked for touch and then at the ensuing line-out, the Greens worked a move that ended with Edinburgh prop Jack Cosgrove crashing over to give the Greens the lead for the first time in the match.
Weir converted and then added a second penalty goal to give his side a 20-14 lead. The match then exploded into an exciting finale as Currie responded with slick handling that gave Elms a try in the corner, Bywater adding the extras.
The tension increased as Hawick replied with a try by Wesley Hamilton after Michael Robertson had been chopped down just short of the line following a superb pass from Weir. From wide out the reliable Weir made it a seven point score and a 27-21 lead for the Greens.
The game of course could not end without a flourish. Currie piled on the pressure in search of the winning score and were seemingly rewarded when the ball was moved wide to Cameron Gray, giving the wing enough space to cross for his side’s bonus point try,
That left a successful conversion to win the game, but despite having a second chance to kick the winning goal after Hawick had, in an ‘ungentlemanly’ way, accompanied their charge at the kick with tribal shouts, the young stand-off was unable to kick his side to victory, leaving Hawick relieved winners and with a smidgeon of hope for the future.
Hawick: A Weir; D Graham, G Johnstone, J Nayacavou, W Hamilton; L Armstrong, B Campbell; J Cosgrove, F Renwick, C Mackintosh, M Robertson, B McNeil, R Gibson, S Graham, K Davies Subs M Landels, D Harlen, D Redpath, N Renwick, K Brunton.
Currie: H Elms; B Robbins, C Hutchison, R Nelson, C Gray; J Bywater, R Sneddon; J Cox, F Scott, G Carson, H Bain, S Ainslie, R Davies, T Gordon, R Weston Subs AP McWilliam, J Firth, L Crosbie, S McGinley, C Shiel.
Referee: G Wells
Hawick: Tries: McNeil, Cosgrove, Hamilton; Cons: Weir (3); Pens: Weir (2).
Currie: Tries: Robbins, Hutchison, Elms, Gray; Cons: Bywater (3).
Scoring sequence (Hawick first): 0-5, 0-7, 0-12, 0-14, 5-14, 7-14 (HT) 10-14, 15-14, 17-14, 20-14, 20-19, 20-21, 25-21, 27-21, 27-26.
Man-of-the-match: Hawick full-back Ali Weir held his nerve throughout to kick five goals from five and in the end that proved to be the difference.
Talking point: Refereeing could have been much better. Two of Currie’s tries came from the referee/assistant referee missing first a knock on and then an accidental offside. Needs to be better at this level.
Image courtesy: Kenny Baillie