Premiership: Marr hold on for victory over Glasgow Hawks

Visitors fail to replicate form of previous week's win over Hawick but show plenty of character to get the result they needed

Marr edged past Glasgow Hawks at Balgray. Image: Bob Coats
Marr edged past Glasgow Hawks at Balgray. Image: Bob Coats

Glasgow Hawks 30

Marr 35

LEWIS STUART @ Balgray

TWO teams who looked destined to go places served up a feast of rugby in a game where the lead changed hands half a dozen times and both could make a decent case for saying they deserved the result.

In the end, Marr edged it by even less than the scoreboard suggests, but their city opponents could justifiably argue that it was more a case of getting the rub of the green on referee decisions than any superiority that won the match for them.

“I think in the end, the better team lost,” said Andy Hill, the Hawks coach. “Look at the tries we scored and the tries that Marr scored and there was a clear difference. Some of the scores were almost gifted to them with the bounce of the ball and all that.


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“Our boys went to the well at the end, you couldn’t fault our effort. It was just that we had a poor five minutes at one point and then a few decisions went against us. I don’t mind wrong decisions but there were some that really cost us.”

The big difference in the end was that Marr were simply better at finding a way to win despite what was going on in the game.

Kenny Diffenthal, their coach, admitted he was not completely surprised that his players had failed to reach the heights they managed a week before in inflicting a first defeat in two seasons on Hawick. While there had been a nervous energy in the squad ahead of that game, they were a lot more laid back about travelling into Glasgow and were missing the intensity they had had seven days before.

“The pleasing thing is that last year we wouldn’t have won that,” he said.”It was great to see the last three or four minutes the guys really working hard for each other. Not great for the coach but you have to take that.

“These guys want to play for each other and you can see it there when they out in that bit extra . They were really tired at the end but they kept getting up and doing everything to close out the game. It showed guts and determination, just finding a way to stay ahead.”

It was always a tight encounter, though few could have imagined just how edgy it would be. Both were  on a high after their outings the week before. The counter to that was that both teams had a lot to lose, and that might have been weighing on minds in a cagey opening period when scores were hard to come by.

Both sides collected penalty points on offer, first Calum Inglis for Marr and then Liam Briims for Hawks, but attacking play was thin on the ground in the opening quarter.

The visitors had the first clear-cut chance of a try with wing Jake Jacobson breaking from his own half and kicking ahead only for James Pinkerton, the Hawks centre, to race across field, scooping the ball one-handed and clearing the danger.

Enthused by that, Hawks took the attack to the visitors, won a penalty they kicked to touch and saw Paul Caircross, the hooker, drive over from the inevitable maul.

Marr were happy to keep taking points on offer with Inglis adding two more penalties before they got a stroke of luck as a kick from wing Scott Bickerstaff bounced kindly. He collected it himself and raced in for his side’s first try and the lead.

They were not in front for long as Hawks at last found the cohesion they had been looking for. Another penalty, another line-out maul but this time the ball went out to the backs and centre Wayne Burrows found the perfect offload to put his midfield partner, Pinkerton in for the try that restored their lead at the break.

Hawks increased their advantage early in the second half with Brims adding his second penalty but Marr were soon back in front with Conor Bickerstaff being given the space to dance through a broken defence with the Hawks players distracted by their own success at the scrum just before.

Marr soon added to their lead with Blair Jardine making a huge break from his own half to set up the attacking position. It was a question of patience after that with he forwards recycling until eventually lock David Andrews forced his way over.

Hawks could have had every reason to feel it was not going to be their day but showed remarkable resilience in fighting back yet again. They worked their way upfield, threatened the line on the left through the forwards, swung the ball right and found replacement wing Jamie Blair free on the outside to score.

A third Brims penalty put them back in front but Marr were not going to surrender their challenge as the game started to heat up with off-the-ball incidents mounting. Penalties gave them a way into the home 22 and the pack recycled over and over again until, eventually, prop Ali Rogers managed to burrow over with Inglis converting.

There was still time for Hawks to throw everything at a magnificent final go at rescuing the game, but the visitors defence was made of cast iron and refused to buckle as the phase count grew. Eventually, the home side made a vital handling mistake and Marr could celebrate a nervy win.

 

Teams –

Glasgow Hawks: J Couper; R Darroch, J Pinkerton, W Burrows, J Adamson; L Brims, J Imrie; K Shanahan, P Cairncross, M Goodwin, S Leckey, A Syme, L Stewart, JP Thomson (sin bin: 40-49, T Wright. Subs: A Burgess, D Irvine, M Crumlish, G Cruickshanks, J Blair.

Marr: Jake J Scott; S Bickerstaff, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff, J Jacobson; C Inglis, G Baird; A Rogers, C McMillan, A Apthorpe, D Andrew, C Folan, F Grant, C Young, B Jardine. Subs: S Clelland, G Dick, M Blair, R Baird, J MacKinnon.

Referee: M Todd

 

Scorers –

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Cairncross, Pinkerton, Blair; Cons: Brim 3; Pens: Brims 3.

Marr: Tries: S Bickerstaff, C Bickerstaff, Andrew, Rogers; Cons: Inglis 3; Pens: Inglis 3.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Hawks first): 0-3; 3-3; 10-3; 10-6; 10-9; 10-14; 17-14 (h-t) 20-14; 20-21; 20-28; 27-28; 30-28; 30-35.

 

Player of the Match: Almost impossible choice as almost all the 40 players used had their moments. In the end, Conor Bickerstaff gets it for his solo try, but it really was a game that reminds us rugby is a team sport.

Talking Point: Marr didn’t live up to the standards they set themselves the week before but this is a much better Hawks squad than last season and they could well challenge for a place in the top four at the end of the season. A setback for them, but plenty to build on.


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About Lewis Stuart 77 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.

13 Comments

  1. If it is a SRU employee or contractor denigrating the club game, then surely management will need to take disciplinary action?

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    • Just because someone has a different opinion to the majority doesn’t mean they are an SRU employee, sympathiser or plant. Some of the anti SRU, Mark Dodson, Gregor Townsend, S6 comments need challenged to bring some balance to the discussion. David Barnes has produced an excellent product it is just a shame it has been hi jacked by a group of one eyed antis. I wish there was more constructive criticism and ideas on this site, it is what our game needs to succeed.

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      • Iain
        You are pretty dogmatic on most aspects of our minority sport (in Scotland), frequently closed to alternative opinions and ever-ready to argue the hind legs off a Springbok, old chap!
        Please don’t stop, because your pontificating and lecturing is usually “good box-office” material for stand-up artists the following weekend. However, just remember when next expounding your entrenched pro-establishment views that there might just possibly might every now and again be room for another way forward or an alternative take on life in general!
        Albert

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      • Iain, with respect, AngryGala is not someone with an alternative opinion simply offering his point of view, he is the very definition of an online troll.

        There are indeed many commenters on here who take issue with how the game is being run by those in positions of power. Holding these people to account through justified criticism of some of their policies and decisions is very different from taking pot shots at those involved in the club game who clearly feel marginalised, many of whom are likely to be volunteers giving up their free time and often money to support their clubs, without whom the game dies. Chief Executives are six a penny, dedicated volunteers are priceless.

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      • I am not a ‘troll’

        I was merely highlighting that it is not only super-6 that receives a lack of comments, as had been mentioned multiple times by another commenter.

        Yet no one calls out that behaviour. The double-standards by a select few on here are ridiculous.

        Sadly, anyone with a different opinion to the mob on here gets called names such as a troll, and has lies told about them from the likes of ‘rugby fan’.

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      • What our game needs to succeed is a lot less closed-mind establishment sycophants who are unwilling to accept any other opinion than their own. Add to that a large dose of hypocrisy and you have a real recipe for disaster.

  2. Ah – back home on the morning after the game the previous afternoon, and what a super high-intensity game of Premiership rugby that was at Balgray! Good report by LS, too.

    Rugby skills & commitment in abundance throughout a tightly-contested 80-minutes thriller – the outcome determined more by occasional erratic bounces of the egg-shaped ball in open play than by refereeing decisions….

    Hawks will be feeling justifiably disappointed, and might well have taken the spoils if the see-saw match had continued for a further few minutes. Great entertainment; hopefully the injured players on both sides will be ok for next weekend.

    (AngryGala2 – you should get out more!)

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    • That’s not actually true but even if it had been just grow up. It’s abundantly clear that your in the SRU marketing team from your IP address best to just shut yourself down before get someone sacked….

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