Premiership: Hawick knock Marr off top of the table with committed performance

Borderers had to hold on during a tense finale but did enough to deserve win which reinforced their own championship credentials

Hawick No8 Jae Linton takes the age to Marr. Image: Malcolm Grant
Hawick No8 Jae Linton takes the age to Marr. Image: Malcolm Grant

Hawick 26

Marr 19

ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park

HAWICK produced what their coach Matty Douglas described as their “best performance of the season” in defeating the Tennent’s Premiership leaders Marr with a display of committed rugby redolent of the Greens’ glory days. 

Yet just minutes from full-time Marr looked almost certain to score from a siege on the Hawick line but somehow their chance to level the scores escaped them and Hawick were able to see out the match, albeit in a nervous final minute.

“We took the game to Marr,” commented Douglas in the wake of his side’s win in front of a decent-size crowd at Mansfield Park. “We were accurate and we took our chances. We were underdogs today.”


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For Marr’s coach, Craig Redpath, there was immediate recognition that Hawick had prevailed on the day. He said: “Fair play to Hawick. They stuck in and took their chances. We controlled a lot of the game but didn’t take our chances. The result was disappointing. We need to focus on next week. But that’s not to take anything away from Hawick. They played with tremendous energy.”

Hawick looked stronger with the inclusion off the bench of Rudi Brown, who almost unbelievably played for Merchiston in their 2019 under-16 Cup winning side, and the Heriot’s Super6 player Ben Evans.

But it was the commitment of Hawick’s regular players that counted for so much, and especially in the forward pack where Stuart Graham, Jae Linton and Cory Tait posted outstanding performances.

Marr, too, were strengthened by the presence of Roan Frostwick at scrum-half and Rory Jackson in the back-row. Jamie Drummond also added extra power to the forward effort when he came off the bench.

The men from Troon looked much the more dynamic in the opening few minutes of play but wasted  an ideal attacking opportunity when they were penalised at their own scrum feed right in front of the posts. Marr, however, continued to attack but were undone when stand-off Calum Inglis threw a wild pass that went well behind the intended receiver.

Morgan Tait then hacked the ball upfield before winning the race for the touchdown. It did not take long for Marr to react and after setting up a maul the ball was spun wide for winger Jamie Shedden to score on the overlap.

After a penalty goal by Kirk Ford gave Hawick the lead but again. Marr came roaring back, only to commit a knock-on inches from the Hawick try line. Undeterred and enjoying a man advantage after the Greens’ second-row Shaun Fairbairn had been yellow carded, Marr won a five metre scrum against the head giving Conor Bickerstaff a close range try on his 200th appearance for the club, converted by Inglis.

Two penalties from Ford allowed Hawick to regain the lead and when Ford delivered an exquisite long pass to Stuart Graham, the open-side romped over for a try, converted by Ford to give the home side a 21-12 interval advantage.

 

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Hawick’s lead was quickly reduced when flanker Mackenzie Pearce splintered off the back of a driven line-out to score his side’s third try, Inglis’ conversion narrowing the Greens’ lead to just two points.

But going into the late stages of the game, Ford put in a delicate grubber, the ball bouncing kindly for wing Ronan McKean to touch down in the corner for what proved to be the final and winning score of the match, despite a late effort by Marr that came desperately close to producing a levelling try.

This defeat means Marr drop to second place behind Currie Chieftains at the top of the table on points difference, having played a game more than the Edinburgh side. Hawick are breathing down there neck, three points off the pace.

 

Teams –

Hawick: B Donaldson; M Tait, L Gordon-Woolley, A Mitchell, R McKean; K Ford, Gareth Welsh; T Hope, M Carryer, R Macleod, C Sutherland, S Fairbairn, C Renwick, S Graham, J Linton. Subs: C Tait, S Muir, C Tait, R Brown, B Evans.

Marr: G Montgomery; J Shedden, S Bickerstaff, C Bickerstaff©, J Scott; C Inglis, R Frostwick; G Reid, C McMillan, W Farquhar, D Andrew, H Murray, R Jackson, M Pearce, F Grant. Subs: J Drummond, C Miller, B Sweet, K McCulloch, J Cameron

Referee: S Grove-White

 

Scorers –

Hawick: Tries Tait, Graham, McKean; Con: Ford; Pens: Ford 3.

Marr: Tries: Shedden, C Bickerstaff, Pearce; Cons: Inglis 2.

Scoring Sequence (Hawick first): 5-0; 5-5; 8-5; 8-10;  8-12; 11-12; 14-12; 19-12; 21-12 (h-t) 21-17; 21-19; 26-19.

 

Yellow cards –

Hawick: Fairbairn

Marr: Andrew

 

Man-of-the-Match: Collectively the Hawick pack deserve huge plaudits for their effort against Marr with outstanding contributions from Stuart Graham, Jae Linton, Rudi Brown and Matt Carryer, but it was the controlling influence of Kirk Ford who turned the game for Hawick, the stand-off creating two of the three Hawick tries and crucially kicking three penalty goals and a conversion to earn the TOL’s  Man-of-the-Match accolade.

Talking Point: It’s getting congested at the top of the Premiership and hence interesting. Additionally the presence of returnees from Super6 has certainly spiced up the championshjp but it would be useful to know just what are the allocation determining who gets who from the so-called draft.


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About Alan Lorimer 194 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.

4 Comments

  1. Walter nothing wrong with a bit of banter.Hawick defended well and took there chances.Maŕr will see this as the game they let go.They had plenty of chances to put hawick away.But well played hawick on the day

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  2. Fair play to Hawick and hands held up, my prediction was wrong. A great advert for the premiership by all accounts and it certainly helps a very exciting title race.

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  3. Mister C.
    What happened to your predictions
    Mind what you say in future about a Hawick team
    Things come back to haunt you

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