Glasgow Hawks 10
ATHOLL INNES @ Mansfield Park
HAWICK were left wondering how they only gained a losing bonus point when sustained pressure after the interval deserved more than a penalty kick. But it was credit to the Hawks’ defence that the visitors defied the hosts and the elements to hold for a much-needed win.
Both sides were desperate for points in a Premiership challenge at Mansfield Park that beat the rain, but failed to produce a lot of excitement for the home support, who sheltered in the stand as others felt the need for umbrellas, until the second half.
It was another set-back for the Greens who failed to hold on to the ball when it mattered while Hawks were delighted to get the points. “The boys put in a top performance and the fact they never scored a try,” said forwards coach Steven Findlay. “We spoke about our defence and keeping a clean sheet, and I am not sure the last time we did that. It was never going to be champagne rugby, but we can take credit for the way we played”
Hawick head coach George Graham was left frustrated. “I thought that Hawks were very average. Our basic skills were poor, but we cannot blame the weather as it was the same for them. We have a lot of young boys, but we do not have anyone else. It was a bitter pill to swallow as we could not convert possession and territory,” he said.
The early pressure from the hosts, who were missing stalwart Bruce McNeil, who was attending a wedding, might have produced a score. Hawick showed early ambition when they took a quick penalty close to the Hawks line before knocking the ball on in front of the posts and losing that scoring opportunity. The ball was slippery, and after Struan Dow won a line-out, it was Hawks’ turn to knock the ball forward.
A series of scrums put Hawks in the driving seat as Hawick conceded a number of penalties before referee Ross Mabon, who had earlier spoken to Greens captain Ali Weir, awarded the visitors a penalty try for a 7-0 lead after 16 minutes.
Hawick established field position with a penalty to the corner and came close when the ball was fed out, only for it to be lost close to the line. But in 28 minutes, Weir cut the deficit with a penalty after Hawks collapsed the maul.
The game was evenly matched, but stop-and-start at times, and Hawks increased their lead when Liam Brims banged over a penalty five minutes from the interval.
There was little enterprising rugby as both sides battled to master the wet conditions and the game needed a spark to lighten up the action as Hawks held on comfortably for the break.
Hawick produced more aggression after half-time and a charge down the right flank by hooker Cammy Renwick and Andrew Mitchell opened up the Hawks defence, but the visitors retrieved the situation. Gareth Welsh hobbled off with a leg injury to be replaced at scrum-half by Mully Bannerman as Hawick stepped up the pressure.
Scrum followed scrum close to the Hawks line as the visitors defended with intent, and Hawick just could not find a way through to score. However, in 55 minutes, Weir scored his second penalty which was just reward for their possession.
Hawks stormed back and a chip from Paddy Boyer to the corner was well defended by Weir. Overall, however, it was the Greens had the better of the second half but they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. A charge through the midfield almost produced an opening, but knock-ons proved the host team’s downfall, and a losing bonus point was poor reward for the players.
Hawick: A Weir; K Ford, A Mitchell, Glen Welsh, L Gordon-Wooley; B Donaldson, Gareth Welsh; M Carryer, C Renwick, C Greer, D Suddon, K McNeil, S Graham, J Linton, S Fairbairn. Subs: R Macleod, M Renwick, J Rowley, B McNeil, M Bannerman.
Glasgow Hawks: N Moffat; K Gossman, E Oag, C Harrison, Y Alagilly; L Brimms, P Boyer; G Strain, P Cairncross, E Rintoul, A Kirkland, L Archer, S Leckey, S Dow, R Sweeney. Subs: T McTeir, K Hughes, M Priestly, S Greig, M Stewart.
Referee: R Mabon.
Hawick: Pens, Weir 2.
Glasgow Hawks: Tries Penalty Try; Pen Brims..
Scoring sequence (Hawick first): 0-7; 3-7; 3-10 (h-t) 6-10.
Yellow card –
Hawick: Matt Carryer
Man of the Match: Hawks defence was outstanding in difficult conditions led by captain Stephen Leckey and his colleagues rallied round him.
Talking point: The character and defiance of the Hawks defence was evident. Most felt that it was a game that escaped Hawick clutches due to the tacking and solidity to the opposition, especially in the second half when the hosts threw everything at the them barring the proverbial kitchen sink without getting across the line.