Marr v Glasgow Hawks: hosts tough it out but visiting bonus point could be key

Andy Hill's team belied their lowly league position to push the table-toppers all the way, demonstrating that they will not be going down without a fight

Kerr Gossman of Hawks just manages to put Marr's Mackenzie Pearce into touch. Image: Ken Ferguson
Kerr Gossman of Hawks just manages to put Marr's Mackenzie Pearce into touch. Image: Ken Ferguson

Marr 12

Glasgow Hawks 10

MATT VALLANCE @ Fullarton Park

MARR made light of the switch from flooded Fullarton to the 3G surface at the Marr College Playing Fields to scrap home for the victory which keeps them on course to finish the regular season on top of the Tennent’s Premiership. But, immense credit has to go to basement boys Hawks, for, as they did at Balgray earlier this season, giving the title front runners a real battle for the points.

“The fact we won is the important thing,” said Marr’s Craig Redpath at the finish. “But I knew Hawks would make us fight for everything, and I was not surprised at how the game went.

“I felt we were the better team and I was delighted to get the game done, but, we missed a good few great chances to put the game to bed, however, credit to Hawks for their defensive effort.”

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Opposite number Andy Hill said: “After our home game against Marr, we sensed we could use our defence as a weapon today, and we did. We dug deep and while we were under a bit of pressure in the second half, I felt we were unlucky in the final outcome. It came down to fine margins, and we missed out.”

One such fine margin which particularly upset Hill came in the second half, when all three officials missed a clear knock-on on halfway. Play continued and led to Marr winning a five-metres line-out, from which they crashed over for what proved to be the match-winning try.

That’s not to say, had the decision gone correctly, and Hawks been awarded a scrum on half-way, the outcome might have been different. Marr were twice held up over the line, while twice they turned down kickable penalties to go for tries. So, in the end, it could be said, the more-deserving team triumphed.

By common consent, the wind was at least a 14 point one, so Hawks will rue not using it better when they had the advantage in the first half. They twice turned down kickable penalties, and were let down by some poor handling when on top. However, they still went in front in 12 minutes, when slick hands from the backs created the room for Max Priestly to score a try, well converted by Liam Brims.

However, Marr wasted little time in gaining parity. Almost from the restart, skipper Conor Bickerstaff broke the line to set up a ruck in the Hawks 22. Six phases later, Colin Sturgeon sent full back Greg Montgomery through a huge gap to score, with Greg Paxton levelling things with the conversion.

Brims then slotted a penalty to restore the Hawks’ lead, before referee David Young appeared to be playing on until Marr scored. 47 minutes had elapsed in a half of very few stoppages, before Benedict Grant knocked on with the line at his mercy and the official finally called a halt.

The second half was virtually one-way traffic, as Marr threw everything at their visitors, whose defence was up there in the Rorke’s Drift category. Marr perhaps should have scored earlier than they did, before hooker Ollie Rossi eventually charged over from an advancing maul, midway through the second half.

The conversion was missed and thereafter, the Hawks defensive effort was total, while Marr were perhaps guilty of a bit of white-line fever, as no further scores accrued. At least, to the relief of the frozen fans on the sidelines, the second half was much shorter than the first.

Teams –

Marr: G Montgomery, S Bickerstaff, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff, R Dalgleish, C Sturgeon, J Preston; W Farquhar, O Rossi, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, F Grant, M Pearce, R Brown, B Grant. Replacements: C McMillan, B Sweet, J Harvey, J Scott, T Steven.

Glasgow Hawks: L Brims, K Gossman, E Oag, C Harrison, M Priestly, J Strain, P Boyer; G Strain, J Gemmell, E Rintoul, S Halafihi, A Kirkland, S Leckey, F Christie, R Sweeney. Replacements: L Archer, C Holborn, M Stewart, Y Alagilly.

Referee: David Young,


Scorers –

Marr: Tries: Montgomery, Rossi; Cons: Paxton.

Glasgow Hawks: Try: Priestly; Con: Brims; Pen: Birms.

Scoring sequence (Marr first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 7-7; 7-10 (h-t): 12-10.


Man-of-the-Match: With his calm assurance, good use of the ball and eye for an opening, Marr scrum-half Jack Preston again showed what a good choice he made when he exchanged being fourth-choice nine at Ayr for first-choice up the road at Marr. He was crucial in everything good which Marr did here.

Talking point: Sadly, once again, the officiating was not of the standard expected of the Premiership. Referee Young and his two touch judges didn’t appear to be communicating and working as a team. Indeed, as one experienced player who knows what he is talking about said: ‘The big miss in the Premiership this season is not the six teams who have moved up to Super6, it’s the experienced referees who have also moved up’.

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About Matt Vallance 38 Articles
Matt is a former member of Cumnock Rugby Club's 'Mean Machine' - motto: "Well, we won the fight". He has written about some 60 sports in a long career, mainly spent freelancing for, amongst others: The Herald, The Scotsman, The Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, the late-lamented Sunday Standard and just about every national paper. He survived a spell at the Paisley Daily Express, covering St Mirren and the Paisley Pirates every week. He now writes a lot of sporting obituaries, since he saw many of his subjects play. Opinionated, passionate and, as one Bill McMurtire once said: "The only Cumnock member (other than Mark Bennett) who can be let out without an escort". In his 70th year, Matt, known to many as: 'Snuff', still has a few noses to get up. Unfulfilled ambition - to live long enough to see Scotland beat the All Blacks.

1 Comment

  1. Quite happy to single out the Referee but keep the ‘experienced’ loudmouth anonymous. Rather cowardly.

    No wonder noone Referees all over the country are chucking it when they are being publicly flayed whilst trying to gain experience.

    Classless comments.


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