Glasgow Hawks 17
DAVID BARNES @ Balgray
THIS was probably the right result based on the overall balance of play, but if the visitors’ late onslaught had delivered a draw, nobody would have called it an injustice. For Glasgow Hawks, it was important to get back on the horse after being thrown from the saddle by Aberdeen last weekend, while Jed will take some comfort from having picked up a bonus-point on the road as they looks to keep daylight between themselves and that relegation spot.
“I think we just about deserved that, for the amount of pressure we had in the first half,” said Hawks head coach Andy Hill. “The guys fronted up which was the response we were looking for after last week when I think we turned up with a lack of energy and were probably quite disrespectful to Aberdeen.
“It was an important result to keep us in the hunt for the play-offs. We know we’ve made it difficult for ourselves, but if we keep plugging away and picking up results, then hopefully that will leave is with Accies to beat in the final game, and I’m confident we can do that.”
Hawks set the early pace, with Ryan Flett twice opening Jed up with powerful runs, once from a clever cross-field kick by Jamie Thompson and once coming off his wing to take the ball straight from a scrum.
The visitors tested referee Sam O’Neil‘s patience when conceding a succession of penalties, with captain Gregor Young sent the sin-bin for a hand in an opponents face. He didn’t return after 10 minutes due to a rib injury initially sustained during the warm-up, and with Jed naming five forwards on their bench, Finlay Campbell – ordinarily a hooker – played almost all the match on the wing.
The hosts went close again when some slick hands sent Flett on another powerful surge. However, a combination of inaccuracy and impetuosity in the strike zone, not to mention some robust resistance from Jed, meant the opening points remained elusive.
Tight-head Paulo Ferreira became the second Jed man to see yellow, for a high tackle, after almost half an hour of relentless pressure, and Hawks turned the screw, finally making their breakthrough when James Pinkerton scooted over and Matt Stewart added the extras.
Having worked so hard for so long to break the deadlock, Hawks needed to fortify that lead, but Jed had other ideas, and it took them five minutes to level the scores when neat hands up the right sent Lewis Young over, setting up a Gary Munro conversion. The momentum of the match had discernibly shifted.
Pinkerton saw yellow and the Hawks centre was perhaps lucky that it wasn’t red when he chased down his own kick and collided with an airborne Dom Buckley. There was no malice in it, but reckless and potentially dangerous. The sanction given was the correct common-sense decision, even if it wasn’t necessarily in keeping with the letter of the law.
The 14 Hawks left on the field spent most of the final five minutes of the first half defending their own line, and when they did manage to escape their 22, they overthrew a line-out and then dropped a scrum, which allowed Munro to kick the Borderers into a slender half-time lead.
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The break had come at the right time for Hawks and they regrouped well, wasting little time in reclaiming the lead through Fraser Gosse following a powerful maul. Stewart converted, then sent home a long-range plenty home – following another powerful surge by Flett – which made it 17-10.
There was a heart in mouth moment for the home side when a loose off-load by Flett allowed Jed to break up the left, and home props Gary Strain and Mike Downer did exceptionally well to get back and make crucial tackles – although it was academic in the end because play was called back for a no-arms-tackle earlier in the move.
Buckley of Jed and Sione Halafihi of Hawks both saw yellow for high tackles as the two sides slugged it out right to the end. That took the total sin-binnings for the day to five, which didn’t really reflect the general tenor of the match.
Jed spent the final five minutes banging on the door, just as they had in the first half. They won three scrum penalties on their opponents 22, but then the Hawks pack – down to seven men – somehow found way to neutralise that pressure point, and the visitors managed to hold on for a hard-earned win.
“We defended really well for that first half hour then came back to take the lead just before half-time, and I thought we had the ascendancy off only three or four possessions,” said Scott Tomlinson, the Jed head coach. “We deliberately didn’t go in at half-time because there is no space in the changing room, then we just didn’t start the second half well.
“There was decisions from the officials in the middle of the park which cost us, and that’s what is disappointing for me. I’ve been an official myself so I know it is tough, but they’ve got to work well as a team and there was a couple of times today I don’t think that happened.
“I’m frustrated because we were in the fight there at the end, and I thought we had done enough to at least secure a draw.
“We’ve had injury problems but I’m not worried about that because the boys we’ve brought in from the seconds have been going a good job,” he added. “‘There is no lack of endeavour, the boys are sticking in and you see that with the dominant tackles and so on, but it is just about trying to get over that line.
“We’ve been three or four games now where we should have been scoring tries, but they’ve been disallowed or whatever it may be, so once it clicks somebody is going to get an absolute pasting, there is no doubt about that.”
“What I’ve said to the boys today is: ‘Great effort but we have to bounce on again. We need to flush that completely out our system and focus on Aberdeen, which is a massive game for ourselves, the club and the town’.”
Glasgow Hawks: M Stewart; R Flett, J Pinkerton, F Gosse, H Hughes; J Thompson, M Donaldson; M Downer (A Rogers, 71), P Cairncross, G Strain, S Halafihi, I Carmichael, L Stewart, T Brown, L McNamara.
Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young (F Campbell 20), D Buckley, A Bambrick; M Russell, G Munro; G Paxton (A Sweenie 66), F Scott, P Ferreira (H Meadows 66), C Skeldon, G Law, D Gillespie, J Howe (H Meadows 26-36, E Lauder 64, T Jeffrey 74)), C Cowan.
Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Pinkerton, Gosse; Cons: Stewart 2; Pen: Stewart.
Jed-Forest: Tries: L Young; Con: Munro; Pen: Munro.
Scoring sequence (Glasgow Hawks first): 5-0; 7-0 ; 7-5; 7-7; 7-10 (h-t)12-10; 14-10; 17-10.
Yellow cards –
Jed-Forest: G Young (8mins), Ferreira (22mins), Buckley (69mins).
Glasgow Hawks: Pinkerton (34mins), Halafihi (77mins).
Man-of-the-Match: Hawks winger Ryan Flett made good ground on several occasions, while Sione Halafihi and Paul Cairncross were ferocious in contact to slow Jed’s momentum at key moments, but the classy Fraser Gosse in the middle of the park gets the nod.
Talking point: Yellow cards have consequences and five in one game suggests that things have got out of control, but that wasn’t the case here and both sets of coaches were left scratching their heads with some of the decisions.