Glasgow Hawks 35
Edinburgh Accies 17
ANDY WHITE @ Balgray
GLASGOW HAWKS returned to winning ways with two early tries giving them control in the first half as they fought out a bonus point victory over Edinburgh Accies.
Victorious head coach Andy Hill was proud of the resolve of his team following a late loss to Marr last week. “The boys got a bit of belief when they won down in Hawick, and then the performance against Marr probably deserved a win,” he said. “They’ve had a totally different belief in the last two or three weeks, and you can see that in this performance, with guys going out there expecting to win, and that’s what we spoke about going to do.”
Opposite number Iain Berthinussen lamented the time it took for his Accies side to come into the game. “We were probably about 50 minutes too slow if we’re being honest,” he said. “Hawks threw a lot at us and really capitalised on our sluggishness in that first half. The defence out there didn’t allow us to get away with that at all, and to be fair to Hawks they really capitalised on a lot of our errors.”
Hawks built on their early penalty kick by stand-off Liam Brims by getting over the whitewash twice by the 15th minute. The opening try was scored by man-of-the-match Max Priestly at the end of a move started inside the home team’s half by Brims, and carried on by full-back Yousif Alagilly, who drew the final defender to before releasing the scoring pass.The second came from fello winger Kerr Gossman when a promising spell spell of pressure from the visitors came unstuck by knock-on from lock Angus Inwood and talented Hawks hooker Jack Gemmell hacked upfield for Kerr Gossman to finish in the corner. Brims converted the first but failed with the second, and Hawks firmly in the driving seat.
From then on, Accies struggled to get a foothold in the game, despite strong carrying from captain Jamie Sole and his back-row colleagues Patrick O’Sullivan and Ruairi Campbell, however this was met well with aggressive Hawks defence preventing Accies gaining front-foot ball for long periods of the first half.
Accies enjoyed a promising patch of possession just shy of half time, fly-half Ruairidh Bonner working well with his centres Neil Armstrong and Robert Wilson to punch holes in the Hawks defence, before sitting deep and releasing his back three to try and turn the tide in their favour, but they couldn’t make the breakthrough.
As the clock went red it was Hawks attacking again, but Accies absorbed four hard attacking scrums well and then forced the knock-on from Hawks lock Rory Jackson to end the half.
In contrast to the large periods of stalemate in the first half, the second half started well, with Hawks building on their lead when obstruction in the line-out gave Brims the chance to knock another penalty over, before appearing again to punish a slow release by an Accies ball-carrier for another three points.
Hawks came close again, with the ubiquitous Brims and centre Erland Oag linking well to release Priestly, who beat three defenders before being hauled down inside the Accies 22.
It may have taken 50 minutes, but Accies finally awoke and their pack marshalled by Sole marched deep into Hawks 22, before hooker Sean Crombie peeled away well to take his team to ten metres out. Hawks were penalised for infringement at the ruck, Sole signalled the scrum, and the away pack managed to earn three penalties before referee George Pounder’s patience snapped, and he ran under the posts to award a penalty try.
Regaining possession from the kick-off, Accies found their way up the pitch again, with Campbell contributing well through two marauding runs which created space on the other side of the pitch for Bonner to release O’Sullivan for a try which made it 21-12 with a quarter of an hour to go.
Hawks needed to regain their composure, and were afforded an opportunity to do so when Accies spilled the ball at the restart. Scrum-half Patrick Boyer had made way for young talent Sandy Greig, who, with his first touch, drew the man and created what seemed like an acre of space for Matthew Stewart to sail through, showing a clean set of heels to step past replacement Accies full-back Richard Mill on his way to the line.
With ten minutes to go, Hawks were now back in control, with Brims keeping Accies pinned in their own half with a selection of smart kicks, aided by the committed chasing from Priestly in particular which nullified any counter-attacking threat.
The bonus point looked likely, and with six minutes to go replacement prop Paul Henderson charged over to secure it, showing great pace to keep Mill from bringing him down.
From there, the job was done for Hawks, and despite weathering a late storm which saw Accies cross on 77 minutes they were never really in danger of missing out on the win which sees them leap-wrong Accies in to mid-table.
Glasgow Hawks: Y Alagilly; K Gossman, E Oag, C Harrison, M Priestly; L Brims, P Boyer; L Archer, J Gemmell, G Strain, R Jackson, G Brown, S Leckey, S Dow, R Sweeney. Subs: P Henderson, E Rintoul, S Greig, M Stewart, N Moffat.
Edinburgh Accies: J Loomes; J Pecqueur, R Wilson, N Armstrong, R Campbell; R Bonner, M Love; D Anderson, S Crombie, C Labour, A Inwood, C Bain, P O’Sullivan, J Sole, R Campbell. Subs: R Gregor, C Lamberton, J Bruce, M Sinclair, R Mill.
Referee: G Pounder
Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Priestly, Gossman, Stewart, Henderson; Cons: Brims 3; Pens: Brims 3.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Penalty Try, O’Sullivan, Lacour.
Scoring sequence (Hawks first): 3-0; 8-0; 10-0; 15-0 (h-t) 18-0; 21-0; 21-7; 21-12; 26-12; 28-12; 33-12; 25-12; 35-17.
Man of the Match: Hawks’ flyer Max Priestly scored the opener, and used his pace and physicality well to be a thorn in the side of Accies for the full 80 minutes.
Talking point: The vision from both stand-offs to identify space on the pitch with a variety of well placed and nicely finessed kicks behind the defence provided plenty of counter attacking opportunities for both sides, keeping the game as open as possible.