Hawick v Aberdeen Grammar: Greens blow away lacklustre visitors

Both sides were missing key men but Hawick showed their strength in depth and used home advantage to secure an emphatic victory

Andrew Mitchell carries for Hawick versus Aberdeen Grammar. Image: Kenny Baillie
Andrew Mitchell carries for Hawick versus Aberdeen Grammar. Image: Kenny Baillie

Hawick 53

Aberdeen Grammar 7

ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park

HAWICK confirmed their  place in the top four after running in nine tries against an out-of-sorts Aberdeen Grammar side at a storm-blasted Mansfield Park, and in the process ensured that the Bill McLaren Shield will remain through the off-season in the town which produced the great commentator.

While Hawick were obviously pleased to put on a try fest in front of their own crowd, their celebrations were tempered by the fact that Aberdeen were missing a number of key players resulting in a poor performance from the Rubislaw men.

“We had a few guys unavailable. We struggle for the away trips. There’s a lot of boys who work in oil and with shift patterns that creates unavailability.” explained Ali O’Conor, the Aberdeen Grammar coach. He added: “Even so, for 28 mins we showed what we could do and then we got a yellow card. That was the turning point in the game for us.”


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Aberdeen may have played below par but that did not take away from some of the excellent play by a Hawick side that defied the best efforts of Storm Jorge to ruin the possibility of open rugby. Indeed some of the Hawick tries were top drawer, albeit aided by Grammar’s propensity to fall off tackles.

Hawick too were missing a several front-line players but in the event a number of youngsters performed admirably, suggesting that the future for Hawick looks … green.  Among the tyro players to show up well were back-rows Callum Renwick and Billy McNeil, lock forward Murray Renwick, replacement full-back Mully Bannerman, who injected genuine pace into the Hawick attack, and replacement scrum-half Declan Lightfoot.

“I thought the boys who came in did very well.” said Hawick’s coach George Graham. “I was disappointed that we conceded the score. We’re happy but we’ve still got a few things to work on. We play Jed next week. They’re going well just now and we’ll need to make sure that we’ve got boys back.”

Hawick, playing with the forceful elements provided by Jorge opened the scoring with a try by Kirk Ford that set the tone for the Greens, from a back move engineered by Ali Weir, who then added the conversion.

Aberdeen were reduced to 14 men after the departure of Jordan Robertson to the sin-bin and in his absence Hawick took immediate advantage by producing a score round the front of a line-out for Callum Renwick.

 

Andrew Mitchell then sailed through a scattered Aberdeen defence after a surge by Shawn Muir for a try under the posts, leaving Weir with an easy conversion kick. Within minutes, Hawick had secured the bonus point with a try by scrum-half Gareth Welsh from a ruck, and before half-time the Greens were able to add a further score, this time by centre Wiaan Griebenow from a perceptive cross kick by Weir for a 29-0 interval lead.

Playing into the fierce wind, Hawick were quickly back into scoring mode and nailed try number six when skipper Muir finished off a spell of good work by the forwards. Then Callum Renwick grabbed his second try after galloping through a gap in the Aberdeen defence, with Weir adding the extras.

The visitors , having been on the receiving end of what in technical terms is described as a ‘pounding’, finally got reward for their long journey south with a close range try by Nat Coe converted by stand-off Tom Aplin.

Hawick quickly bounced back and finished strongly with a try by substitute Reece Hartegen, after a searing run by Bannerman, and then a final score by winger Ronan McKean converted by replacement stand-off Bailey Donaldson rounded off a profitable afternoon.

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Teams –

Hawick: K Ford; R McKean, W Griebenow, A Mitchell, L Gordon-Wooley; A Weir, G Welsh; S Muir©, M Carryer, D Johnstone, M Renwick, J Rowley, C Renwick, J Linton, B McNeil. Subs: R Hartegen, R MacLeod, R Toogood, B Donaldson, M Bannerman.

Aberdeen Grammar: N Brown; C Shepherd, J Troup,, M Mitchell, C Ruston; T Aplin, T Morrison; J Robertson, A Cook, R Cessford, S Renfrew, A Robertson, D Wallen, B Inglis, G Ryan. Subs: Y Almanache, L Buchan, N Coe, J Spence, M Running.

Referee: S O’Neil

 

Scorers –

Hawick: Tries: Ford, C Renwick 2, Mitchell, Welsh, Griebenow, Muir, Hartegen, McKean; Cons: Weir 3, Donaldson.

Aberdeen Grammar: Try: Coe; Con: Aplin.

Scoring Sequence (Hawick first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 17-0; 19-0; 24-0; 29-0 (h-t) 34-0; 39-0; 41-0, 41-5; 41-7; 46-7; 51-7; 53-7

 

Yellow cards –

Aberdeen Grammar: J Robertson

Man-of-the-Match: He is normally a hooker, but Callum Renwick was drafted into the Hawick back-row after the Greens were forced to alter their originally selected forward pack and posted a fine performance, showing pace, good hands and alertness, and fittingly finished the match with two tries to his credit.

Talking point: Hawick showed that they are now building depth in their squad that should bode well for next season. Moreover, with their under-18s and under-16s having reached Youth Cup semi-finals, the development machine would seem to be in good working order.


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About Alan Lorimer 238 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.