Premiership: Glasgow Hawks secure win over Selkirk despite second-half fightback

A dominant first half performance keeps sets

Hawks v Selkirk
Glasgow Hawks were well in charge at Balgray but Selkirk secured a try bonus with a second-half fightback. Image: Bob Coates.

Glasgow Hawks 40

Selkirk 26


THIS was a funny old game, with Hawks racing into a 33-0 half-time lead and looking immensely impressive while at it. After the break the home players downed tools with the job done and put their feet up on the sofa, allowing Selkirk to crawl their way back into contention with four second-half tries. 

After a forgettable start, the visitors actually won the second half by 26-7, at least partly thanks to enjoying the benefit of the wind and the slope at Balgray. They were also helped by Hawks’ ill discipline, the home side reduced at one point to just 13 bodies.

Even if the visitors were never going to win this one after that atrocious start, they did go home with a four-try bonus point and, with a game against fellow-strugglers Aberdeen next weekend, every point is precious.

Also in the Premiership this weekend:

Premiership: Marr stay top with bonus-point win over Edinburgh Accies

Premiership: Currie Chieftains keep eye on the prize with win at Jed-Forest

Premiership: Hawick rain on Musselburgh’s birthday parade

“We gave them too much of a head start,” moaned Selkirk’s Scott Wight after the final whistle. “I asked for the team to show some character in the second half and I thought we did that.

“It’s an important game next weekend for us and we will get at least four players back before then, maybe more depending on the Super6.”

In the first half Selkirk were unable to put one foot in front of the other without falling on their face. They were woeful and Hawks filled their boots, scoring a total of six tries in all.

At one point it looked like Hawks could score at will and the final tally would break the century mark. Even then they left a couple on the field as centre Brendan McGroarty inexplicably threw a pass over Charlie Kennedy’s head when the winger had the line at his mercy.

The best try of the lot came from a scrum around the Hawks’ own 22. The pacey No 8 Lewis McNamara picked and was halfway to the try line before the Selkirk breakaways reacted. The ball went through umpteen pairs of hands, at pace if not always with great accuracy, before lock Andrew Syme delivered the coup de grace under the posts.

It was a handy day for the boiler house as fellow lock Jack McLean had a field day, generally doing a decent impersonation of the Incredible Hulk with the ball in hand in addition to that brace of tries in the first half.

He had admirable support from flanker Tim Brown, who earned more than one turnover, and hooker Istok Totic, who claimed a try even if the Serbian may want to forget his chip ahead. Winger Ronan Joy also got in on the act with a try during that first half.

Hawks mixed things up well, combining forward carries with their traditional pacey, offloading game which proved unstoppable, at least by this Selkirk defence, which was passive and porous in equal measure before tightening some nuts and bolts at the break.

The visitors’ attack lacked a cutting edge: all four tries came from short range pick and drives, although Callum Marshall proved a willing carrier. Otherwise they were overly reliant upon the effervescent scrum-half Jack Hamilton, who was at least willing to back himself with the ball in hand, which resulted in one try for the little scrummy.


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It wasn’t until the second half was six minutes old before Selkirk registered on the scoreboard as the visitors unearthed their fighting spirit to win the second half by four tries to one. With the wind at their backs, and the game long gone, the visitors enjoyed some pressure on the Hawks’ line that resulted in flanker Robert Cook picking from the base of a ruck and driving over from short range.

Stung by this slap in the face, Hawks responded just minutes later with their sixth score as Brims took a quick tap penalty deep inside the Selkirk 22  and McNamara barrelled over a few phases later. Brims’ conversion proved to be their final points of the game.

Hamilton grabbed his well-worked score for Selkirk, squeezing over in the left-hand corner just before the hour mark, aided by some dozy Hawks’ defence before the visitors struck again from short-range, this one going to hooker Bruce Riddell leaving the Borderers with 15-odd minutes to find the precious bonus-point try.

They were helped by some indiscipline from Hawks’ McNamara, who missed ten of the final 15 minutes for a no-arms shoulder charge. He was joined on the naughty step by replacement prop Ali Rogers for a tip tackle so, for for a few short minutes, Hawks were reduced to 13 players with just six forwards to repel Selkirk’s rejuvenated attack … and they failed.

Selkirk scored their own bonus-point try, through replacement Scott McClymont, with four minutes left on the clock to cap a remarkable comeback and put them in good fettle for next weekend’s big game.

“I don’t believe that we were so different in the second half compared to the first,” said Hawks’ coach Andy Hill, unhappy with the officiating, especially the distribution of penalties.

“There is no way we changed so much in 40 minutes of rugby. I think it was a case of a dominant team being punished for their dominance.”


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Teams –

Glasgow Hawks: J Pinkerton; C Kennedy, B McGroarty, F Grosse, R Joy; L Brims (captain), M Donaldson; M Downer, I Totic, G Strain, A Syme, J McLean, L Stewart, T Brown, L McNamara. Replacements: P Cairncross, A Rogers, R Chisholm, F Burgess, M Stewart.

Selkirk: C McNeill; F Anderson, C Anderson, E MacDougall (captain), A Bulman; S Clark, J Hamilton; L Pettie, B Riddell, J Anderson, T Brown, P Forrest, A McColm, R Cook, C Marshall. Replacements: M Haldane, D Nichol, S McClymont, C Young.

Referee: Ruaridh Campbell.

Scorers –

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Joy, McLean 2, Syme, Totic, McNamara. Cons: Brims 5.

Selkirk: Tries: Cook, Hamilton, Riddell, McClymont. Cons: Clark 3.

Sequence of scoring (Glasgow Hawks first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0; 26-0; 28-0; 33-0 (h-t) 33-5; 33-7; 38-7; 40-7; 40-12; 40-17; 40-19; 40-24; 40-26.


Yellow cards –

Glasgow Hawks: McNamara (65mins), Rogers (73mins).


Man of the match: There were any number of Hawks’ players that put their hand up here. Jack McLean scored two and carried tirelessly, and No 8 Lewis McNamara’s pace from the base of the scrum caused havoc in the Selkirk ranks. But the old soldier that is Brendan McGroarty invariably picked the right option with and without the ball.

Moment of the match: Both teams took several quick tapped penalties and Selkirk even opted for a quick lineout – and to his credit the referee waved play on every time.

Premiership: Hawick rain on Musselburgh’s birthday parade


About Iain Morrison 151 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.


  1. Great to see Andrew Syme and Jack Hamilton going well. Both products of Haddington RFC whose minis were founded more than 50 years ago by the late great rugby nut Bill Hamilton, Jack’s grandad.
    Keep it up guys.

  2. The way it’s worked out I’ve seen four of Hawks first eight games. They look like they’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
    Tough trip for anyone who visits Balgray this season for sure.

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