Premiership: Hawick edge past Edinburgh Accies with late penalty

Kirk Ford's late kick sees Bill McLaren Shield return to Mansfield Park

Hawick's Kirk Ford sets in motion the move which ends with Stuart Graham scoring his team's third try under the sticks. Image: Malcolm Grant
Hawick's Kirk Ford sets in motion the move which ends with Stuart Graham scoring his team's third try under the sticks. Image: Malcolm Grant

Hawick 24

Edinburgh Accies 22

ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park

IF any Hawick folk had opted for Christmas shopping rather than an afternoon at Mansfield Park then it would have been the wrong choice, such was the excitement generated by this match that resulted in a last gasp victory for the hosts and consequently the return to its spiritual home of the Bill McLaren Shield. 
 
The win in this battle of third versus fourth means that Hawick remain undefeated at home going into the Christmas break but that record was only just secured by a late penalty from stand-off Kirk Ford after Edinburgh Accies, giving as good as was thrown at them in the forward battle, had overcome a 14-0 deficit early in the first half to stay in touch at half-time, at which point the scoreline was 21-15 in favour of the Greens.

Hawick, after scoring three tries in the first half, lost direction somewhat after the break, even although they had the benefit of the elements at their back. “Our first half performance in spells was really pleasing but the second half we didn’t quite play to the game plan,” observed the Hawick coach Matty Douglas. “We didn’t play in the right area but at the same time I take my hat off to the lads. They fought to the last. We eventually got on top at scrum time”.


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The Greens had clearly hoped that their forwards would dominate at the set-piece but that was not how the game unfolded. For much of the match Accies prevailed in the forward battle and it was only after the first quarter that Hawick sorted out their line-put problems.

But throughout the match Accies’ looked the stronger in the set scrums and were disappointed when, in the last play of the game they were not awarded a penalty after shunting Hawick’s scrum backwards, prompting the visitors’ coach Ian Bethinussen to rail against the refereeing decisions.

“In our last two away games the same referee has penalised us off the park,” he said. “To get back into the game after letting Hawick score three tries in the first half and then take the lead in the second half … we were taken out by a shocking refereeing decision.

“Credit to Hawick, however, they stayed in what was a typical top four match, but it was disappointing that there was this poor refereeing decision right at the end”.

It was Accies who had the first chance of points at the end of a spell of continuous pressure, but in the event full-back Ben Appleson was wide with an ambitious drop-goal attempt.

Then, when Hawick gained territory through a 50/22 touch kick from Ford, the Greens used the ensuing line-out to launch a series of forward surges which ended with skipper Matt Carryer barrelling over and Ford converting.

Ford showed another piece of skill with a clever kick into the Accies 22 that compromised the visitors’ defence and gave Hawick possession. Shawn Muir drove forward, Carryer did likewise, before Muir applied the finishing touch, with Ford again adding the extras again.

Accies quickly replied with a try by prop Clem Lacour from a driven line-out, the conversion supplied by stand-off Jamie Loomes.

But from the restart Accies failed to find touch and when the ball was shipped to Ford, the stand-off shimmied past several defenders before handing on to Hawick’s talented teenage flanker Conor Sutherland, who then supplied the scoring pass for Stuart Graham to run in under the posts, leaving the progenitor of the score, Ford, with an easy kick.

If Hawick had thought themselves in command with a 21-7 lead then they were quickly disabused of this notion as Accies turned on the heat in the last four minutes of the first half to score eight points. Ruari Campbell made the first score with a quickly taken tap-penalty that provided a try for the fast supporting second-row Finlay Simpson.

Then, just on half time, Accies pressure earned the visitors a further penalty which stand-off Loomes converted into points with a successful kick at goal, to leave his side trailing 21-15 at the break.

 

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Accies maintained their momentum in the second half and were rewarded with a second try for Lacour from a series of pick-and-drive surges at the line, Loomes converting to give his side a 22-21 lead.

Hawick, now chasing the game, tried desperately to find a winning score but in doing so put too much pressure on themselves to find a fluent rhythm. Gradually, however, their forwards gained a degree of ascendancy, and when they won a scrum penalty, Ford kept his cool to put the ball between the posts for a two point lead.

It was a lead Hawick were to keep until full-time despite what Berthinussen felt was a failure by the referee to award the visitors a scrum penalty at the death, leaving the Greens firmly in third place going into the winter break and already anticipating a top four finish.

 

Teams –

Hawick: B Donaldson; L Gordon-Woolley, B Evans, A Mitchell, R McKean; K Ford, D Lightfoot; S Muir, M Carryer©, D Gamble, R Smith, S Fairbairn, C Renwick, C Sutherland, S Graham. Subs: C Tait, R Macleod, R Brown, S Frizzel, A Redpath.

Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; H Janes, V Hart, N Armstrong, K Bird; J Loomes, J Troup; C Imrie, R Montgomery, C Lacour, J Mills, F Simpson, J Sole, M Walker, R Campbell©. Subs: S Gunn, F Riddle, S Hegarty, B Grainger, W Stephen.

Referee: R Campbell

 

Scorers –

Hawick: Tries: Carryer, Muir, Graham; Cons Ford 3; Pen: Ford.

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Lacour 2, Simpson; Cons: Loomes 2;  Pen: Loomes.

Scoring Sequence (Hawick first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 14-5; 14-7; 21-5; 21-7; 21-12; 21-15 (h-t) 21-20; 21-22; 24-22.

 

Man-of-the-Match: There were several candidates, including Clem Lacour, Jamie Loomes and Finlay Simpson for Accies and Stuart Graham, Shaun Fairbairn and Conor Sutherland for Hawick, but the key man for the winners was Kirk Ford, whose vision and skill created all three of his side’s tries and who supplied the Greens’ winning penalty goal as well as all three conversions.

Talking point: If the Tennent’s Premiership can replicate games with the amount of excitement and tension that this Mansfield Park battle produced then it will be judged to be a good product. The so-called grassroots game is very much alive despite the inter-planetary pull of Super6 rugby.


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About Alan Lorimer 366 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. Outstanding comment in that the amateur game is alive and well, let’s keep it that way with no interference from higher up.

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  2. Referee awarded a try that never was for accies so suck it up. Be humble in defeat and don’t publicly call out referees just because you lost. Young ref who doesn’t need to be humiliated by a coach. I hope SRU take some action on this behaviour as it is unacceptable in any sport let alone rugby

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  3. Aye you were well beaten in Edinburgh. I suppose it’s that’s modern thing – unconscious bias

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    • Different day .different result.
      it happens in sport.
      You have to learn to take it.
      Remember a few years ago Hawick were well beaten by 70 odd points at home to Glasgow Hawks .
      Yet in the return fixture in Glasgow Hawick won scuppering Peter Wright’s Hawks team from winning league…

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  4. It’s no doon ti referees it’s doon ti whae scores the maist points. Last time it was accies but we didnae moan aboot it! 😜

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