ATHOLL INNES @ Riverside Park
HAWICK swept to their tenth Premiership win on the trot, and Jed-Forest escaped the threat of relegation as results elsewhere went their way, to keep three Border flags flying in the Premiership.
The visitors raced in for six tries against a young, brave Jed side, who battled to the end to score in the final minute at Riverside Park. But while it was the pack that set the platform, it was the form of centre Andrew Mitchell, who scored a hat-trick of tries as Hawick’s rich vein of form continued, that won the praise of the support.
“We were delighted with our game,” said captain Shawn Muir. “To win 10 games is a superb achievement for the team and not been done at the club for a long time. The boys are really confident and got stuck in. Borders derbies are never easy.”
On the day that development coach Kevin Barrie stepped back from the role after 10 years, Jed’s coach Gavin Kerr admitted disappointment in the way his side had started their last league match of the season. “We knew Hawick would bring and we were under pressure,” he said. “We controlled the game much better in the second half.”
It looked promising for Jed when they scored just after half-time to give themselves hope, but Hawick’s response was swift and more decisive, and when Robbie Yourston was yellow-carded the visitors added two tries.
With the wind advantage, Hawick showed their intentions from the start with a series of attacks that pegged Jed deep in their own half and it was no surprise when Ali Weir kicked the opening penalty.
Jed pressed hard for a score, and Yourston’s kick to the corner set a promising platform, but Hawick stole the line-out. They had to make do with a Yourston penalty instead, after Hawick were caught offside.
However, the Hawick forwards started to dominate, and from another line-out close to the Jed line, Muir was driven over and Weir added the goal points.
Both sides were prepared to play open rugby in difficult conditions but Jed suffered a blow when Gregor Law limped off to be replaced by Finlay Scott.
Hawick’s attacking play, with Matty Carryer and Muir prominent, led to a second Weir penalty, then Gareth Welsh’s sniping work at the base of the scrum saw the No. 9 set up Mitchell’s first try and Weir converted for a 20-3 lead.
A charge to the line by prop Paul Ferreira led to a Jed try, converted by Yourston to cut the deficit to 10 points, but Hawick powered back into the driving seat when Wiann Griebenow’s strength took him over under the posts, and Weir converted for a 27-10 half-time lead.
Jed started the second half with conviction, and after winning the line-out on the right the ball was swiftly fed along the line for Lewis Young to coast in at the left-hand corner. Yourston’s conversion came back off the post.
The home team’s joy was short-lived, however, as Yourston was shown a yellow card and Hawick made the extra man count as Mitchell found space to go over and Logan Gordon-Wooley followed with Hawick’s fifth try, Weir converting the first.
Jed continued to make a fist of it, but the Hawick defence stood firm before Mitchell added his third try. In the final minutes, Jed gained some consolation with a late try from Monty Mitchell and Yourston converted.
Jed-Forest: L Young; J Laing, Gregor Young, R Yourston, R Marshall; M Mitchell, N Stingl; P Ferreira, G Paxton, H Meadows, B Sexton, G Law, D Grieve, M Weekley, Garry Young. Subs: F Campbell, F Scott, E Lauder, J McGough, F Harkness.
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 McNeill. Subs: R Hartdegan, C Bachurzewski, A Piotrowski, B Donaldson, M Bannerman.
Referee: R. Campbell.
Jed-Forest: Tries: Ferreira Lewis Young, Mitchell; Cons: Yourston 2; Pen: Yourston.
Hawick: Tries, Mitchell 3, Muir, Griebenow, Gordon-Wooley; Cons: Weir 4; Pens: Weir 2.
Scoring sequence (Jed-Forest first): 0-3; 3-3; 3-8; 3-10; 3-13; 3-18; 3-20; 8-20; 10-20; 10-25; 10-27 (h-t) 15-27; 15-32; 15-34; 15-39; 15-44; 20-44; 22-44.
Yellow cards –
Man-of-the-Match: It is difficult to judge one person in a game where the forwards fought with great intensity to establish the victory, but when the strong-running Andrew Mitchell added scoring prowess to his outfield play on the tacky pitch, he just emerged as the top man on the day.
Talking point: Hawick’s tenth win on the bounce left the mathematicians checking the record books to see when the Greens had reach such a milestone in the past.