Aberdeen Grammar 0
JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw
HAWICK may not be the dominant force they once were in Scottish club rugby, but they are still the team every club in the country likes to beat. Not that there was any danger of an injury-stricken Aberdeen Grammar side achieving this minor miracle.
The Greens were well up for the challenge, taking the opportunity to take advantage of the Rubislaw side’s lack of confidence, not to mention the 13 players missing from the club squad due to injury at a dreadful time for the northerners.
The three-try win keeps the Mansfield side to within touching distance of the top two and they could yet well be considered contenders for the title if they were to adopt a more ruthless streak. Grammar on the other hand must start winning games if they are not to be relegated at the end of the season, having lost their first five games, leaving them the only side in the league not to have won a game, leaking 29 tries in the process.
This weekend’s other Premiership match reports:
Ali O’Connor, the Grammar head coach, was well aware of the implications of losing but said: “Considering the horrendous run of luck we have had, not to mention injuries, we performed better this afternoon than of late.
“We generally made our first-up tackles, and although we did not put any points on the board, we restricted one of the best sides in the league to three tries. I thought one or two of our youngsters put in big shifts, including Glen Robertson and Corey Buchan in the back-row. Tommy Morrison also had a good game at scrum-half, but losing prop Calum Reddish in only 15 minutes with a pulled hamstring was a big blow, but we are getting there.”
A fact confirmed by captain and centre Tom Aplin. “We have improved in each and every game so far, and while it is disappointing to lose and not to score, I have no doubt we shall turn it around, but have a big game at Currie next week,” he said.
Matty Douglas, the Hawick head coach, was delighted about a win on the road and said: “Winning away from home is always a bonus, and while we are disappointed not to get a try bonus point, we are happy with a win.
“A little inexperience came through in our play. We need to show more patience, but it will come as the season progresses. Corey Tait was outstanding in the back-row and centre Kirk Ford had another great game scoring 14 points, including a fine try. We are happy with our day out.”
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The Greens dominated the first half but apart from a penalty on nine minutes from Ford had nothing to show for their time in possession after half an hour. Then two tries in the space of 10 minutes virtually sealed the home side’s fate, especially as Ford added the extras to the tries scored by winger Morgan Tait and captain and hooker Matt Carryer.
Tait’s effort, scored out wide, was the pick of the two as the ball zipped along the visitors’ back line for a try in the corner.
Lifted by the touchdown, the Mansfield Park side pressed forward in best Border style, getting their reward through a forward rush, finished off by the ever-alert Carryer.
A 17-point lead at the break was just about right, giving the visitors a launching pad for an assault on a try-bonus win. That it did not materialise was in part due to stout home tackling and some poor Hawick finishing.
The ‘Green Machine’ had to settle for a lone try from Ford and a cracker it was as he outstripped the home defence and then rubbed salt in home wounds with the conversion to make the final score 24-0 on a soggy, wet outfield – but a good contest for all that.
Grammar had their moments in the second half but never seriously troubled the organised Hawick defence. Replacement full-back Sam Knudson did briefly threaten to get his line moving when he took over from Ali Addy at stand-off late in the game.
Hawick: Tries: M Tait, Carryer, Ford. Cons: Ford 3. Pen: Ford.
Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 0 -3; 0-8; 0-10; 0-15; 0-17 (h-t) 0-22; 0-24.
Aberdeen Grammar: R Cameron; B Renton, D Russell, T Aplin(c) C Shepherd; A Addy, T Morrison. C Reddish, B Inglis, M Schosser, C Walker, J Robertson, G Ryan, G Robertson, C Buchan. Subs: C Robertson, S Renfrew, P Mullholland, S Ryan, S Knudson.
Hawick: B Donaldson; M Tait, K Ford, Glen Welsh, R McKean; K Brunton, Gareth Welsh; T Hope, M Carryer (c), R McLeod, R Smith, S Fairbairn, C Tait, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs : N Little, S Frizzel, S Graham, C Sutherland, D Lightfoot.
Referee: R Campbell.
Man-of-the-Match: Hawick flanker Corey Tait was in everything good in a highly organised pack, while the home heroes were back-rowers Glen Robertson and Corey Buchan.
Talking Point: While accepting their side had been well beaten, home supporters perceived a weakness in the Hawick team in not being able to finish off the game with a try bonus. “Hawick teams of old would have done so,” said one.