Glasgow Hawks 33
ALAN LORIMER @ Riverside Park
JED-FOREST achieved their first Premiership result this season with a six-try victory over a Glasgow Hawks side that hit back late in the game to grab a couple of vital bonus points.
An absence of key forwards meant the Riverside men struggled in their first two matches, but with Gregor Law back from injury and Garry Young and Dom Buckley returning after missing last week’s game against Edinburgh Accies, Jed were much stronger.
“We’re still having to fill holes but today it was better because we had one or two guys back. I thought today we looked composed in the first half but lost our way a bit in the middle part of the second half,” conceded Jed’s coach, Gavin Kerr.
“It was frustrating that when we got to 38-19 we let them come back. We managed to show a late surge against Edinburgh Accies last week an almost achieved a result. We’ve got to find that extra consistently. But today was a win and bonus point win and I’m happy with that.”
Even with their forward pack reinforced, Jed still felt the pressure of Hawks’ set piece, the Borderers’ scrum shunted backwards on several occasions inevitably leading to penalties, and exploited by a Hawks pack that never throw up the chance of scoring from a driven line-out.
As a result Jed once again had to live off scraps, albeit more generous against Hawks, but when their backs were in possession they always looked dangerous, no more so when the Young brothers, Callum and Lewis combined in attack.
For Hawks, credit is due for the way they fought back after trailing 38-19 deep into the second half but other than driving mauls from penalty-created line outs Hawks were never really an attacking threat. Rather than use their backline Hawks deployed their big ball carriers to try to break down the Jed defence, playing one-pass rugby that would have earned plaudits from Ireland’s coach, Joe Schmidt.
Hawks’ coach, Andy Hill, however, put defeat down to basics. He said: “It was a lot of simple errors that cost us. Defence that should be second nature was faulty. But we haven’t been able to field a settled team.”
The Glasgow men showed their strength early on in the game with a try by their strongly-built No 8 Ryan Sweeney who finished off a line-out drive after a penalty kick to the corner.
But barely had Hawks had time to draw breath than Jed had levelled the scores. Back row Dom Buckley did the damage in midfield , before quick hands gave Lewis Young room to race in for a try.
Then it was a repeat of Hawks’ first try, this time hooker Paul Cairncross benefitting from the moving maul, Liam Brims adding the conversion points.
Again Jed replied decisively, this time Buckley peeling off the back of a five-metre scrum to crash over for his side’s second try, converted by Robbie Yourston.
Having watched Hawks work the driving maul, Jed showed their own skill in this department as Donald Grieve piled over for try number three, again converted by Yourston to give the Riverside men a 19-12 half-time lead.
After the break Jed were on fire resulting in two consecutive tries, one of them converted, for the talented Callum Young and a 31-12 advantage. On this form it looked as though Jed would pull away but instead Hawks’ more muscular approach earned the visitors a penalty try from a five-metre scrum.
Jed, having used their replacement from row, then reverted to their original props, to produce another driving maul try, this time second row Garry Young the scorer, and Yourston providing the extras. But after Garry Law had been sent to the bin for a lineout offence, Hawks opted for a quickly taken tap penalty move that ended with Sweeney barrelling over for his second try and Hawks’ fourth and Brims converting. Could Hawks salvage another bonus point. Well yes. In injury time Hawks scrum-half Sandy Greig broke clear before sending replacement Ker Gossman in for a try under the posts leaving Brims with an easy kick and Hawks with a sense both of achievement and frustration.
Jed-Forest: L Young; C Young, R Marshall, R Yourston, G Munro; M Mitchell, N Stingl; G Paxton, F Campbell, H Meadows,G Young, G Law, D Grieve, M Weekley, D Buckley. Subs: K Lamont, A Keeler, C Lothian, K Amos, R Hogg.
Glasgow Hawks: C Harrison; C McCarron, M Stewart, D Milne, M Priestly; L Brims, S Greig; L Archer, P Cairncross, G Strain, S Halafihi, A Kirkland, S Leckey, S Dow, R Sweeney. Subs: J Gemmell, G Armstrong, K Kay, K Gossman, N Moffat.
Referee: F Brown.
Scorers – Jed-Forest: Tries: L Young, Buckley, Grieve, C Young 2, G Young. Cons: Yourston 4.
Glasgow Hawks: Tries Sweeney 2, Cairncross, penalty try, Gossman. Cons: Brims 3.
Scoring sequence (Jed first) 0-5, 5-5, 5-10, 5-12, 10-12, 12-12, 17-12, 19-12 half-time, 24-12, 26-12, 31-12, 31-19, 36-19, 38-19, 38-24, 28-26, 38-31 38-33.
Yellow card: Jed: Gregor Law.
Man of the Match: Having played centre for Hawick before shifting to the back row at Jed-Forest, Dom Buckley provides the Riverside club with savvy ball playing artistry. Against Hawks the Jed No 8 offered both attacking and defensive skills but it was his eye for the gap and adroit handling that made him man of the match at Riverside.
Talking point: Why is it that the side whose scrum retreats generally ends up being penalised? Ask referees and they will tell you that it is because the retreating scrum usually wheels, but which side is doing the wheeling? It’s almost impossible to tell. Rugby is penalising the weaker contestant. In which other sport does this happen? Surely much better to replace the penalty sanction with a free kick. This would rid the game of dodgy penalties, speed up the game and avoid the inevitable kick to touch and the (illegal???) driving maul. And it would stop front rows from milking game-deciding penalties.