Edinburgh Accies 12
ALAN LORIMER @ Raeburn Place
A TOUCHLINE conversion by Kirk Ford gave Hawick victory over Edinburgh Accies by the slimmest of margins in a match that was a thrilling spectacle even if the skills execution at times was not always top drawer.
Over the piece, Hawick looked the more plausible side. Accies ruled the game for much of the first quarter, but their inaccuracy with ball in hand in the second half and their propensity to give away penalties cost them dear.
Hawick coach Matty Douglas, clearly lifted by his charges’ result, emphasised the change in his side’s performance after half-time. “First half we were held up twice and looked good when we had the ball, but defensively we gave away too many big tackles,” he said. “They’ve got some big boys in their side, especially their two wingers.
“We spoke at half-time about putting our stamp on the game. I thought we were really good after the break and took our chances. It was a good performance and I thought the bench made a big contribution.”
For Accies coach Iain Berthinussen, there was disappointment at his team’s performance. “We didn’t value possession today. But credit to Hawick; they turned the screw on us. We knew it would be a tough game but we didn’t keep a hold of the ball and we gave away too many penalties in key areas. Also, our line-out didn’t function but in saying that we lost by just one point. We had a kickable penalty just before half time. Maybe that would have changed the game.”
Hawick were quick out of the blocks and came within inches of scoring in the opening minutes when Shawn Muir charged at the line only for the prop to be held up.
But immediately Hawick put the pressure back on Accies with a penalty goal from Kirk Ford but thereafter the Greens were on the back foot as Accies’ slicker handling and clever support play brought the home side closer to the Hawick line.
Eventually the dam burst when Accies moved the ball wide to create a chance for Lewis Wells, the winger then showing his pace and strength to touch down for the opening try, converted with an unconventional kick by stand-off Vincent Hart.
Hawick then came back into the match in the second quarter and after moving the ball skilfully should have added points, but again they had to watch helplessly as Muir for a second time in the first half was held up over the line leaving Accies with a 7-3 interval advantage.
Having built up a well of confidence Hawick were the stronger side after the break, their most promising attack coming from a run by their teenage scrum-half Hector Patterson whose pass to Ford almost brought a try.
But after non-stop pressure Hawick had to content themselves with a second penalty goal from Ford. It might have been three points to Hawick but in reality they handed an advantage back to Accies whose attacking play from the restart ended with Robbie Kent racing through a fragmented Greens defence for an unconverted try.
Hawick, however, were not prepared to concede the match at that stage and came back into the game with strong pressure from their forwards and accurate line-out work. The Greens’ cause was helped by Accies giving away a string of penalties and it was from one of these that Hawick struck.
After Ford had found touch five metres out from Accies’ line with his penalty kick Hawick drove the line-out for replacement Matty Carryer to score his side’s only try. That made the score 12-11 leaving Ford to covert from the touchline for victory.
Both sets of supporters held their breath as Ford held his nerve to put over the difficult kick and provide victory for his Hawick side in the most dramatic fashion.
Edinburgh Accies: K Gossman; M Wallace, R Kent, N Armstrong©, L Wells; V Hart, M Love; C Imrie, H Campbell, C Lacour, C Bain, F Simpson, J Sole, T Jones, M Crowther. Subs: G Ratcliff, K Jenkins, J Mills, B Grainger, F Lindsay.
Hawick: K Ford; L Gordon-Woolley, A Mitchell, G Huggan, R McKean; C Riddell, H Patterson; S Muir, R Graham, N Little, D Redpath, H Donaldson, S Graham, C Sutherland, J Linton. Subs: M Carryer©, T Hope, S Frizzel, E Stanger, B Donaldson.
Referee: David Young.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Wells, Kent; Con: Hart.
Hawick: Try: Carryer; Con: Ford; Pens: Ford 2.
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh Accies first): 0-3; 5-3; 7-3 (h-t) 7-6; 12-6; 12-11; 12-13.
Man of the Match: Quite a few candidates for the accolade, but it really comes down to two players, Kirk Ford and Hector Patterson both of Hawick. In the end the precision kicking of Ford and his overall generalship, particularly when he moved to stand-off edges him ahead.
Talking point: A thrilling match indeed but the challenge for both teams and others in the Tennents Premiership is executing skills and making split-second decisions under the huge pressure of a needle match. Hawick will surely receive a lift from winning on the road but for Accies the altitude they reached in the first two rounds has now become less rarefied.