Edinburgh Accies 0
ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park
HAWICK produced their performance of the season in overwhelming Edinburgh Accies with a seven try demolition that keeps the Greens at the top of the Tennent’s Premiership table and which makes a home semi-final in this season’s play-offs looking like a good bet.
Given the closeness of the result between these two teams at Raeburn Place back in September, the size of Hawick’s winning margin was, to say the least, staggering. For Edinburgh Accies, who don’t forget defeated Currie last week, to not score a single point was also beyond imagining.
In truth, if Hawick were at their best and able to field their strongest team this season, then Edinburgh Accies were embarrassingly woeful, albeit they had one or two personnel problems. But whatever the reason for their ‘no-show’ at Mansfield it was not, according to their head coach, Iain Berthinussen, anything to do with being understrength.
“The guys didn’t really get off the bus today,” said Berthinussen. “As for any missing players, I wouldn’t offer that as an excuse. To be honest this should give other players an opportunity to step up. We’ve got good depth in the club right now. We should not have been 41-0 down at the end of the game. We had a good enough team out there. But credit to Hawick.
He continued: “We started the game well and put them under pressure but we weren’t clinical enough. We probably got bullied off the ball a bit. They got a couple of quick scores. We were 19-0 down at half time and thereafter we never really changed what we were doing. We just need to do a lot of hard work and have a good reflection. We won last week but we’ve got to be able to win away from Raeburn Place.”
Hawick’s coach, Matty Douglas, believes that his side is now playing with a consistency that was missing earlier in the season. “For me, that was a full 80 minutes performance,” he said. “Our attack was good but I thought we built this on defence. Just the effort that went into all the tackles was impressive. Right now the squad is very strong and there are quality players missing out – like Matty Carryer and Shaun Fairbairn playing for the Force [2nd XV] today.
“I thought the pack we had today was very strong especially in the first half but the bench played a massive part as well. Hector Patterson came off the bench and sped the game up,” reflected Douglas, who picked out centre Ethan Reilly for special praise.
“That’s the best game I’ve seen Ethan play. He was spot on defensively and he made several telling line-breaks. I think that helped Kyle Brunton today,” suggested Douglas, clearly pleased at the direction his team is taking. “We’re coming into the last five games of the Premiership and this is when you have to be picking up form.”
Yet, despite the ultimate scoreline, Hawick had to extricate themselves from a calamitous start after committing a knock-on in their own 22 area just after the kick-off. It gave Accies the chance to pummel the Hawick line, only for turnover ball to provide a massive escape corridor for the Greens.
Then, from an Accies line-out inside their own half, Fraser Renwick profited from an overthrow before making ground with an angled run back towards the touchline and then finding Gareth Welsh in support to take the scoring pass for an unconverted try.
Hawick should have made more of a five metrE line-out when they tried to score from a driving maul, only to be met with more resistance than they had reckoned on.
Accies were given the green light to hit back after a yellow card was shown to second-row Dalton Redpath for over-vigorous counter rucking. But in the event Hawick’s seven-man forward pack held firm and moreover put pressure on the visitors from a clever line-out ploy that released Fraser Renwick on another predatory run.
The hooker was stopped just short of the try-line but at the cost of a penalty. From the subsequent five metre line-out the Hawick forwards drove towards the line and when the visitors pulled down the maul referee Sam O’Neill awarded a penalty try.
Hawick threatened again when Redpath cut through midfield before passing to Welsh but this time the classy scrum-half was hunted down. At the following scrum, however, Hawick forced Accies to engage reverse gear and to give away a penalty. It was quickly taken and from five metres out Jae Linton crashed over, Ford converting for a 19-0 half time lead.
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Hawick eager to grab the bonus point wasted little time at the beginning of the second half in realising their objective, the all-important fourth try coming from a skilful backline move that, not for the first time in the game involved Ronan McKean migrating from the blind side wing to appear at outside centre.
Then, when the ball was recycled, Kyle Brunton showed vision with a cut-out pass that sent McKean flying in for the bonus point score. The big wing was quickly into action again with a powerful run that all but took him over the Accies line. In the event he was stopped short but it was quickly converted into a try by efficient work in the contact area by the Hawick forwards and then a dot down from Welsh for the scrum-half to claim his second try.
Hawick , still hungry for more scores, had their appetite satisfied when, from a five metre line-out, the Greens set up a loose maul from which Calum Renwick found a clear route to the line for an all too easy try, Ford adding the conversion goal.
Then a seventh try – and one for the gallery. Ethan Reilly raced through a gap, and replacement Hector Patterson continued the move before putting in a basketball pass to Brunton, who then took a return pass from Andrew Mitchell to score a spectacular try in the corner ending a game Accies might prefer to erase from their communal memory.
Hawick: K Ford; L Ferguson, A Mitchell, E Reilly, R McKean; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir©, F Renwick, N Little, D Redpath, D Suddon, C Sutherland, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: R Graham, T Hope, S Graham, H Patterson, B Donaldson.
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; F Lindsay, M Wallace, N Armstrong, L Wells; J Loomes©, S Broad; C Imrie, F McAslan, C Lacour, C Bain, S Whittaker, J Mills, T Drennan, R Campbell. Subs: M McGinley, H Campbell, R Thompson, M Love, K Gossman.
Referee: S O’Neill
Hawick: Tries Welsh 2, Penalty Try, Linton, McKean, C Renwick, Brunton; Cons: Ford 2.
Edinburgh Accies: No scorers.
Scoring Sequence (Hawick first): 5-0; 10-0; 12-0, 17-0, 19-0 (h0t) 24-0, 29-0, 34-0, 36-0, 41- 0
Yellow cards –
Man-of-the-Match: When it mattered in the first half, Fraser Renwick, gave a stand-out performance that contributed to Hawick’s first two scores. Renwick, among many in the Hawick side, was also a force in defence helping to prevent Accies from trespassing beyond the Greens’ try line.
Talking point: The magnitude of Hawick’s win was not expected. That Hawick did produce a massive points tally says much for the Greens’ different approach and about how they managed to expunge the memory of a dismal showing against Musselburgh seven days earlier and produce a near perfect performance against Accies. For the Raeburn Place men their challenge is to regroup and continue to press for inclusion in the top four, even if it does mean another trip to Mansfield Park.