Premiership: Hawick beat Glasgow Hawks to go top of table

Andrew Mitchell claims a hat-trick of tries for Mansfield Park men

Hawick beat Glasgow Hawks at Mansfield Park. Image: Malcolm Grant
Hawick beat Glasgow Hawks at Mansfield Park. Image: Malcolm Grant

Hawick 29

Glasgow Hawks 12

ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park

HAWICK maintained their unbeaten run in this season’s Tennent’s Premiership with a bonus point victory over Glasgow Hawks that puts the Mansfield Park side on top of the Championship table. 

Following the win over Currie Chieftains last weekend. expectations that Hawick would cut loose against the visiting west of Scotland side were high among the Greens’ supporters but in the event the home side did just enough to eke out a bonus point victory over a Hawks side that was both physical and resistant.

“We said after the game that this was one of the most physical teams we’ve played,” admitted Matty Douglas, the Hawick coach. “They’re a big side and they’re well drilled.”


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Hawick, however, looked comfortable against this level of opposition, more so in the first half at the end of which they effectively had the game won. “First half into the wind we played very well. We played the right areas and took our chances. I thought our defence was pretty good. We’re not leaking many points,” commented Douglas.

After Hawick had scored their bonus point try early in the second half, the game went into a slow burn, a situation attributable to other factors as Douglas suggested, saying: “Injuries [to Kirk Ford and Andrew Mitchell didn’t help. But that’s five points at home after a tough run of fixtures. There’s a bit of a buzz about the club.”

And there will be a further buzz when their new recruit from Australia, a second five eighth, arrives at Mansfield Park. Hawick have kept quiet about the details but the understanding is that he has played top tier rugby in Australia. Certainly Hawick could do with a top class player to add more bite to the Greens’ backline play.

For Glasgow Hawks this was their third consecutive defeat following a stage in the season when they had soared to high altitude. For a club looking to be in the top four at the end of the campaign there is clearly some concern at the current situation.  Coach Andy Hill conceded: “We need to get a win. That’s three defeats on the trot. If we’ve got aspirations of getting into the top four we need to be looking at picking up results and back-to-back results. If not we’ll find ourselves in mid-table.”

Hawks never looked like winning this contest, yet when they did find their mojo they looked strong and capable of breaking down the Hawick defence. But the other side of the coin was that they failed to look after the ball when in possession, particularly in the opening phases when they were in the ascendancy. Like Hawick, Glasgow Hawks were affected by having to make injury-enforced substitutions

Yet, Glasgow Hawks, playing with the stiff breeze at their backs dominated possession and territory for the opening minutes of the game but clever defence by Hawick ensured that the visitors were unable to convert promising movement of the ball into an advantage.

Then, having put the lid on Hawks’ early friskiness, Hawick turned up the power dial with a driven line-out from five metres out. Dalton Redpath was held up but from the restart Hawick resumed their pressure with subtle handling and hard running from the forwards that eventually produced a try for Mitchell, with Ford adding the conversion points.

If the driving maul hadn’t worked on the first occasion then at the second time of asking Hawick’s forward pack duly delivered to produce an unconverted try for Ross Graham.

Hawks had a chance to reclaim lost ground only for a Liam Brims penalty attempt to rebound off the far upright.  The kicker had barely enough time to utter an industrial word than the ball landed in the hands of James Pinkerton who sparked a second effort to register points. The subsequent move, however, resulted in the ball being held up over the Hawick line, providing relief for the home team.

Encouraged by this partial success, Hawks mounted further attacks and from a sweeping backline move they struck with good follow-up work  from the back row and then a decisive drive by skipper Stephen Leckey to claim his side’s first points, Brims adding the conversion.

But just before half time Hawick drove another line-out, before moving the ball wide and then switching direction so that Mitchell had time to choose his crash-over spot for the Greens’ third try, converted by Ford for a 19-7 interval lead.

 

If that was a blow to Glasgow Hawks, then Mitchell’s hat-trick completion, his side’s bonus point try, off a penalty created line-out, and the conversion by Ford was something of a killer moment.

Hawks though soon resuscitated themselves and from a driving maul the visitors released the ball to the backs, the move ending with Brims scoring somewhat unconventionally by rolling over the line for an unconverted try.

Hawick then took control of matters and should have scored after sustained pressure that concluded with the ball being held up over Hawks’ line.

Thereafter the game fizzled out,  the only additional points coming from a Kyle Brunton penalty goal three minutes before full time,  dropping the curtain on a contest that in the second half, anyway, delivered less than it had promised.

 

Teams –

Hawick: K Ford; L Ferguson, L Gordon-Woolley, A Mitchell, R McKean; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir, R Graham, N Little, D Redpath, S Fairbairn, C Sutherland, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: M Carryer, R Macleod, S Graham, H Patterson, G Huggan.

Glasgow Hawks: L Brims; H Mitchell, J Pinkerton, B McGroarty, R Flett, G Cruikshanks, E Davey; M Downer, I Totic, G Strain, M Crumlish, S Leckey, L Stewart, D Sweeney, O Baird. Subs: T McTeir, D Irvine, J Porter, E McAra, E Muirhead.

Referee: John Smith

 

Scorers –

Hawick: Tries Mitchell 3, R Graham; Cons Ford 3; Pen: Brunton.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Leckey, Brims; Con: Brims.

Scoring Sequence (Hawick first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 12-5; 12-7; 17-7; 19-7 (h-t) 24-7; 26-7; 26-12; 29-12.

 

Man-of-the-Match: Hawick had some excellent performances from the less glamorous positions like second-row where both Dalton Redpath and Shaun Fairbairn worked tirelessly to put their side into a winning position. In the Hawks side, Brendan McGroarty marked his return with a solid performance that tested the Hawick defence. But the scoresheet tells a lot and it nominates Andrew Mitchell as man-of-the-match. The big centre’s hat-trick of tries contributed hugely to Hawick’s bonus point win and certainly the way he took them was commendable.

Talking point: Hawick sit atop the Tennent’s Premiership Championship table and now have to defend their lofty position. That will be helped by the arrival of a new recruit who could do much to help a backline attack that falls short of what the players up front can achieve. Like other clubs, Hawick also stand to benefit from Super6 players, who have not committed to further contracts. For Hawks, their immediate task is regrouping and trying to achieve a win next weekend over a rejuvenated Heriot’s Blues side.


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About Alan Lorimer 360 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.

8 Comments

  1. Fortunately Hawick seem to have more class than most of those that have posted on this thread. I imagine the rugby club would be far happier without the “support” of people like them.

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  2. Well done Hawick, another superb win thst further enhances the title credentials.

    I can only assume the plethora of thumbs down to comments are little more than petty, parochial jealousy.

    Mon the Hawick!

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