Heriot’s Blues 21
ATHOLL INNES @ Mansfield Park
ON an emotional day at Mansfield Park, Hawick managed a unique treble by claiming important league points, the Norman Suddon Memorial Shield and the Bill McLaren Shield, with a victory at the end of an exciting 80 minutes of rugby which left Heriot’s still winless this season.
Members of the Suddon family were there to see Hawick receive the trophies as the Greens maintained their Premiership title challenge with a rumbustious display that left their opponents flat-footed by the final whistle.
Suddon, who died in April having played 13 times for Scotland and 279 games for Hawick, and the trophy will be contested each time the Mansfield men play Heriot’s, the club that he most enjoyed playing against.
On the day, Hawick had the game sealed and the bonus point in the bag after a remarkable first 40 minutes which brought a 26-0 lead at the break. They ended with eight tries, but were rewarded for their resilience with three tries of their own and almost a bonus point.
Hawick coach, Matty Douglas, was delighted with the performance and the result, but feels there is more to come. “We are not the finished article, and we went off the boil for a time in the second half, but we have to be happy with the result,” he said. “Our set-piece was good and we responded well that and came back in that period.
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith was not too downhearted despite the score-line. “We have a lot of injuries and players to come in and who will add bulk to the squad,” he said. “We knew that September would be tough. We scored three tries and lost out on a bonus. I hate when that happens!”
Heriot’s dominated the early stages and Hawick were forced to soak up the pressure, and it was not at all clear at this stage that what was to follow would materialise. But the Borderers weathered the storm before Heriot’s succumbed to the home pressure in their first real attack.
Kicks to touch put the home side in strong positions, and they broke the deadlock io 15 minutes when the forwards drove to the line and Nicky Little was awarded the try, which Kirk Ford converted.
The Green Machine sensed victory already and from a Dalton Redpath kick ahead, the pack pounced again and Ross Graham added a second try with only 25 minutes played. Ford again converted.
It was now one-way traffic as Andrew Mitchell charged though some weak defence for a try, converted by Ford.
And the massacre continued in the final seconds as Redpath romped over f and Ford added the points for a comfortable 26-0 half-time lead.
Smith made changes at half-time and this inspired the visitors with Oisin Quinn breaking Hawick’s rearguard and Graham Wilson converted.
But their joy was short-lived as from a line-out throw-in from club captain, Matty Carryer, who had come on as a replacement, Little drove over for his second try to take Hawick further out of reach.
The match and the scoreline then ebbed and flowed. Craig Robertson scored for Heriot’s and Paul Christie converted, and Jae Linton replied for Hawick, beforeChristie hit back for Heriot’s and Guy KirkPatrick converting this time.
But by the end it was one-way traffic again as Tom Hope and Ronan McKean wrapped it up for Hawick.
Hawick: K Ford; L Gordon Wooley, A Mitchell, G Huggan, L Ferguson; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir, R Graham, N Little, D Redpath, H Donaldson, S Graham, C Sutherland, J Linton. Subs: M Carryer, T Hope, S Fairbairn, C Riddell, R McLean.
Heriot’s Blues: C Dineen; N Henry, P Christie, O Quinn, C Robertson; D Martin, G Wilson; A Munro, D Dineen, J Lascelles. C Smith, M Keogh, M Bruce, M Nimmo, L Gordon. Subs: M Toward, A Bogle, I Hill, R Thomson, G KirkPatrick.
Referee: C Stark.
Hawick: Tries, Little 2, Mitchell, Redpath, R Graham, Linton, Hope, McKean; Cons, Ford 6.
Heriot’s: Tries: Quinn, Robertson, Christie; Cons: Wilson, Christie, KirkPatrick.
Scoring sequence (Hawick first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-; 17-0; 19-0; 24-0; 26-0 (h-t) 26-5; 26-7; 31-7; 31-12; 31-14; 36-14; 38-14; 38-19; 38-21; 43-21; 45-21; 50-51; 52-21.
Man of the Match: Hawick No. 8 Jae Linton had a storming performance in a forwards’ pack that dominated to set the tone for a resounding victory. He scored a try and worked tirelessly for his side.
Talking point: The ease with which the Hawick pack dictated the forwards’ exchanges against a side missing bulk up front was impressive, and they had several more big-hitters such as fit again Shaun Fairbairn playing for the Force (2nd XV) this weekend, so the season is shaping up nicely for the Mansfield men. The visitors must also be praised for their fighting spirit.