Premiership: Hawick hold off Heriot’s Blues in high-scoring affair

Visiting head coach Phil Smith believes his team should draw confidence from the way they competed away from home against last season's champions

Connor Sutherland crashes over for Hawick’s first try against Heriot's Blues. Image: Malcolm Grant
Connor Sutherland crashes over for Hawick’s first try against Heriot's Blues. Image: Malcolm Grant

Hawick 45

Heriot’s Blues 33

ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park

IN the wake of Storm Bebet, there was a torrent of tries at Mansfield Park, eleven in total, six of which were scored by Hawick and five by Heriot’s Blues in a match that provided the satisfaction of victory for the home crowd and for the Goldenacre men a massive confidence boost.

Heriot’s coach, Phil Smith, pleased with his side’s haul of tries, thinks his charges may have had a change of mindset about their ability to complete at this level after their encounter with last season’s Premiership champions.

“We’re a young team” Smith pointed out, adding: “We’ve won a few games at the lower end of the Premiership but we still wondered if we’re really there. Today should have suggested to the boys that they are far more competitive than they realise.”


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What was impressive about Heriot’s performance at Mansfield Park was their ability and confidence to hit back after trailing 38-14 midway through the second half. That they succeeded in going on to score a further three tries showed their ability to move the ball well and to use the genuine talent of winger Paul Christie.

Heriot’s comeback was, however, aided by some poor kicking from hand by Hawick, who will surely reappraise their approach to the game in their post match analysis. “We probably tired in the last 20 minutes” admitted Hawick’s coach, Matty Douglas, with a refreshing candour.

“Heriot’s took their opportunities. But I’m really happy we beat the team who were in third place. We probably got our game management wrong in the last 15 minutes but that’s something we can work on. I was really happy with some of the individual performances. I thought Jae Linton was again outstanding, Charlie Welsh worked hard and our two wingers got tries.

“We gave young Owain Gray a chance to show what we was all about and I don’t think he looked out of place at this level,” added Douglas.

Heriot’s gave notice of their intention to take the game to Hawick by dominating the opening three minutes of the match with excellent ball retention that earned them a try by Christie from a clever grubber kick by Luke Townsend.

Kenta Kutsuna added the extras but Heriot’s were soon reined in as Hawick gradually took control, first with a long range penalty by Kirk Ford and then a try by Connor Sutherland off a line-out move and the conversion by Ford.

Then, when Linton scored off a five metre scrum, and Ford converted, Hawick were two scores clear, with the gap magnified when Ford finished off a backline move from set-piece possession to touch down and then convert for a 24-7 interval lead.

 

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As they had done at the beginning of the first half, Heriot’s monopolised possession for Kutsuna to zip through a gap before adding the conversion.

Hawick quickly quelled any notion of Heriot’s taking control with a very good score made by Ford from his perfectly weighted chip ahead that allowed Gray to touch down in the corner. From the touchline, Ford continued his unfailing kicking skills off the tee.

The home side’s determination to keep Heriot’s at bay was further emphasised when Andrew Mitchell scored under the posts after a spell of slick handling by the Greens, leaving Ford with a simple conversion kick.

At 38-14 that should have been Heriot’s heading for the morgue. But to their huge credit the Goldenacre side hit back with a try by Peter Burns after another aimless kick from Hawick and an unfortunate tap-back.

Katsuna added the extra points and did so for a second try by Christie, the wing taking advantage of Hawick’s failure to control the bouncing ball

But when Mitchell intercepted and Morgan Tait was on his shoulder to take the scoring pass for a try under the posts, converted by Ford, Hawick had seen off another Heriot’s resurgence.

Heriot’s had the satisfaction of having the final word with a try from a driven line-out by replacement Danny Dineen to complete a high scoring game but one in which his side amassed less points than their opponents.

 

Teams –

Hawick: K Ford; M Tait, C Welsh, A Mitchell, O Gray; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir©, R Anderson, N Little, F Wilson, C Sutherland, S Graham, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: F Renwick, T Hope, D Redpath, S Goodfellow, A Weir.

Heriot’s Blues: P Burns; P Christie, B Kay©, F Stanier A Hunter; L Townsend, K Kutsuna; J Lascelles, R Jackson, A Bogle, M Keough, R Kirkpatrick, M Dillon, I Hill, A Johnston. Subs: D Dineen, B Dineen, W Brown, G Wilson, R Fraser.

Referee: Finlay Brown

 

Scorers –

Hawick: Tries: Sutherland, Linton, Ford , Gray, Mitchell, Tait; Cons: Ford 6; Pen: Ford.

Heriot’s: Tries Christie 2, Kutsuna, Burns, D Dineen; Cons: Kutsuna 4.

Scoring Sequence (Hawick first): 0-5, 0-7, 3-7, 8-7, 10-7, 15-7, 17-7, 22-7, 24-7 (ht) 24-12-, 24-14, 29-14, 31-14, 36-14, 38-14, 38-19, 38-21, 38-26, 38-28, 43-28, 45-28, 45-33.

 
Man-of-the-Match: There were a number of good performances from players of both sides. Jae Linton was again outstanding, looking as though he’s playing at too low a level, Shawn Muir was a constant power-house and on the Heriot’s side Paul Christie’s pace and footwork caused problems for the Greens. But the player who steadied the ship for Hawick was Kirk Ford who kicked seven from seven off the tee and who looked the Greens’ most creative force behind the scrum.

Talking point: Heriots’ young side need no longer fear playing against the better sides in the league. What will be interesting is how they kick on from a very good performance against Hawick. As for the Greens, they are winning and for the most part that’s what matters.


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About Alan Lorimer 340 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.

16 Comments

  1. JW.
    Do you mean it’s me they hate .
    Bloody hell
    It’s a comments forum
    Ps
    Don’t praise anybody in Scottish rugby cos some nutters can’t handle it

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  2. Couldn’t agree more with what Rory Bannerman says above.
    In the old days senior players could use their junior clubs as a pathway back from injury and illness but seemingly not nowadays.
    National coach Gregor Townsend was at Mansfield Park on Saturday watching his son Luke put in a decent shift at no 10 for Heriots.
    Perhaps when back in the office this week Mr T can have a word along the corridor and encourage a greater degree of support for our club game from Murrayfield’s executives.

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    • Could not agree more. The Border Junior League was where a lot of experience was gained for the step up.

  3. Here is the madness of regulations in the amateur game. On friday night the Hawick Force game was called off by their intended hosts so several lads, desperate to just play rugby ( in this supposed GAME ON world) made themselves available to play for each side in the Quins v Linden derby. This in possibly the only town in the country able to have three seperate teams plus a top ,or near top,tier side.
    Instead a rule no doubt devised to stop the likes of the brilliant Jae Linton ( best player in scottish club rugby) scoring 10 tries in a game v Duns for example, is used to prevent lads playing rugby.
    If we really care about clubland then surely common sense must prevail and the teams be allowed to waive such a rule in East 2 , in a fabulous inter-town game of high quality where both clubs would gladly have fielded lads at least off the bench. However inflexibility prevails, nobody in murrayfield rule-setting sees past the possibility of ‘game on’ actually meaning something. So lads who have played 10 minutes in one game for Hrfc this season cannot play in the great local derby.
    Added to that we have to get a ref out of retirement or the game cannot be played, thanks Cammy.
    So lads don’t get to play in a match watched by more fans than even most prem games this weekend.
    As we protect and pile money into the pro and semi pro ranks, can we pause and reflect of the madness that prevents boys playing the dying club sport we know and love, as one of our former coaches always said FIND A WAY.
    Let us concentrate on CLUB rugby and let the ‘big’ boys above get on with their own world.

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    • All at Murrayfield don’t know what the hells gan on in club rugby in Scotland .
      If they don’t get their fingers oot their aarsses there will be no future rugby players to make up teams .
      Typical SRU making stupid rules up which make no sense.
      Think of the thousands of £s wasted up at Murrayfield on useless coaches ..managers and hangers on that could be put to better use down the leagues and grass roots .
      Not letting lads play in a game of rugby when clearly they could is absolutely ridiculous .
      But hey that’s Murrayfield for you .completely out of touch with reality
      There I’ve said it ….has to be said

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    • You mean the same rules you put in place to stop Super Series players playing down into the Premiership Rory?

      You have just nuked your own argument…..

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      • Yawn. Turn down the personal animosity I think.

        For those with a working memory that would be Agenda 3 and Super 6 proposals driven through by a Mr M Dodson. I’m sure you’ve heard of him?

        Agenda 3 specifically says that amateur players cannot play pros.

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    • Rory, I think you highlight an issue which isn’t specific to the “amateur” game. The alarming drop in player numbers in Scotland in conjunction with our failing youth system, mean that we should seek to ensure that the number of inactive players is minimised each Saturday. Fringe players at the pro sides should be available for super 6 clubs; spare super 6 players should be available for club selection; and as you highlight, players impacted by fixture cancellations should be available for their origin clubs. We urgently need a joined-up approach for the betterment of Scottish rugby.

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