GLASGOW HAWKS 36
DOUGIE ROSS @ New Anniesland
WHEN Hawks finally return to Old Anniesland, they will have to erect a sign at the entrance, warning off any spectators with an underlying heart condition. In going from 21 points ahead to being only two points to the good with nine minutes to go, they ensured that the neutrals at New Anniesland [their base this week] fairly got their money’s worth.
This was a cruel score-line for Watsonians, who showed guts and determination in bouncing back after two quick Hawks tries at the start of the second half seemed to have killed the game off, to set up a thoroughly entertaining end to a hard fought match.
Hawks started well with fly-half Ross Thompson producing a real turn of pace when heading over for a try in the first two minutes. Ill-discipline and daft penalties had Watsonians’ coach Lawrie pulling his hair out early on, whether his touchline dramatics were more aimed at the referee or his players is a moot point.
Watsonians managed to pull three points back when full-back Andrew Chalmers coolly slotted a penalty from 30 yards out. But it was not long before Hawks extended their lead, with a slick midfield move setting up Davie Milne in the corner.
Lack of discipline seemed to be a problem for both sets of players to end the second half with silly penalties pinning Hawks back for 15 minutes.
Despite earlier frustrations, Watsonians did manage to break a strong home defence with a cheeky cross-field kick from Ewan Fox finally reaching Willie Thomson, who scored in the corner.
The second half started with a frustrated Watsonians banging at the door and a solid Hawks line holding shut. It took until the 52nd minute for Brendan McGroaty to break up the wing then feed hooker Grant Stewart coming round his shoulder like speeding bullet. Stewart lost no pace with ball in hand and glided over for Hawks’ third try.
The fourth came almost straight from the kick off, following some dangerous breaks and some other even more dangerous off-loads, scrum-half George Horne got a well deserved try for himself.
Just as Hawks’ long suffering fans were beginning to believe that they could relax into an easy end to a match, Watsonians charged back into it with three big tries.
The first try coming from a prolonged stint spent in Hawks 22 before captain Craig Borthwick bulldozed over for the score. The next was a straight off the training ground, with a maul setting up replacement front row Sean Crombie. Then winger Mark Bertram went over to leave Hawks, Watsonians, and even neutrals on the edge of their seats.
That was until five minutes to play, when the Hawks faithful breathed a sigh of relief as a Callum Kerr secured the points for the home side.
“I thought we were going to experience déjà vu there again. We scored two quick tries and the boys think that’s it – job done – and we coast the last 15 to 20 minutes. We need to get out of that frame of mind that we can coast at any time because it’s killing us,” said Hawks head coach Finlay Gillies.
“George Horne was back on song for us. He defended like a little Trojan, put in a hit on the line, and put in some shift around the park. I’d like to see his GPS results.”
Counterpart Steve Lawrie was disappointed but encouraged by some aspects of his team’s performance.
“The boys did outstanding to get back into it, we just again showed a few defensive frailties. Full credit to Hawks but I feel like we let in a few soft scores,” he said.
“We’ve got a massive week coming up with Boroughmuir next Saturday so we’re going to try to draw on the positives and just fix the bits that have been poor in our game.”
Glasgow Hawks: B Beattie; E Oag, B McGroarty, D Milne, K Rowe; R Thompson, G Horne; S Findlay, G Stewart, G Strain, A Kirkland, S Leckey, C Brodie, C Kerr, J Eaglesham. Subs used: L Skinner, K Beattie, S Yawayawa.
Watsonians: A Chalmers; M Bertram, R Hutton, D Innes, S McLeod; E Fox, A Harris; N Fraser, R Graham, K Whyte, J Hodgson, C Borthwick, R Drummond, J Miller, E Dods. Subs used: S Crombie, F Hobbis, M Fedo, W Thomson, J Harrison.
Hawks: Tries: Thompson, Rowe, Stewart, Horne, Kerr; Cons:Horne 4; Pen: G Horne.
Watsonians: Tries: Thomson, Borthwick, Crombie, Bertram. Cons: Chalmers 2. Pen: Chalmers.
Scoring sequence: 5-0; 7-0; 7-3; 12-3; 15-3; 15-8 (h-t) 20-8; 22-8, 27-8; 29-8; 29-13; 29-15, 29-20; 29-22; 29-27, 34-27; 36-27.
Yellow cards –
Referee: Ian Kenny
Man-of-the-Match: George Horne showed that he is a class act at scrum-half, following up his passes with such speed he was an additional attacker before the defence knew what to do.
Talking point: Hawks’ first try of the second half really put their tails up and probably won them the game in the end but lapses in concentration are still a major problem.
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