Currie Chieftains 25
IAIN MORRISON @ Malleny Park
IT’S been a long time coming, 12 years to be exact, so Hawick can be forgiven for celebrating this rare Malleny victory like they had won the league. They managed the feat with something to spare despite a spirited second half fightback from the hosts.
It isn’t often that Currie are comprehensively outclassed in their own backyard but the final score tells its own story. Hawick had the bonus point after half an hour, a 16 point lead at the break and finished with six tries in all, including two late touchdowns in the final ten minutes.
Three of those six tries had come directly from forward drives and early in the second half Hawick’s pack marched Currie back by 20, 30, 40 yards. Hawick’s big men also held sway at the set scrum where they milked penalties almost at will.
With the big men on top the backs had a comfortable ride and several stood out including scrum-half Gareth Welsh, who opened the scoring, and full-back Kirk Ford, who posed a threat throughout and managed six from seven off the tee.
But it was the Greens continuity play that most impressed, the way almost everyone in the side is comfortable on the ball, backs clearing rucks, forwards stepping up in the wide channels, it was an impressive performance. Hawick remain unbeaten and are right in the running for this season’s title, perhaps even favourites after this result.
“We haven’t won here for 12 years so that is a huge result for Hawick,” head coach Matty Douglas pointed out after the game. “I thought that we were clinical in the first half, we took our chances, and we knew that Currie would put us under pressure in the second half, especially with the wind at their backs.
“We weathered the storm, they scored a few tries but in the last 15 minutes we got back into the game and took our chances. What a performance!”
Currie were strangely subdued and a little disjointed but they shot themselves in the foot with poor discipline throughout; especially in the first half when Hawick’s forward maul was dominating this game.
They were a different side in the second half, scoring three good tries, narrowing the gap to four points at one stage, but Hawick held their nerve and bounced back with two late scores.
Currie full-back Adam Hall took over kicking duties from the injured Jamie Forbes but endured a torrid day with the boot, missing three conversions, one a sitter, and seeing one clearance kick charged down.
“It was a good game but a very disappointing result,” said Currie’s Ally Donaldson, deputising for Mark Cairns. “We gave ourselves too much to do at half time but twice (in the second half) when we got back to within a score of Hawick we were unable to get back into their half to keep the pressure on.
“They are a strong front five, a strong team all round. We had to be at our best and we did have chances to win it but there are no complaints about the result. Hawick deserved to win that one.”
Hawick kicked off and Hawick kicked on, opening the scoring and putting down an early marker. A scrum penalty gave the visitors an attacking line-out and a few plays later, with a breakdown in midfield, scrum-half Welsh threw an outrageous dummy and slipped through a gap beside the ruck that the pillar/post had conveniently left, before stepping the covering fly-half Jamie Forbes to touch down under the sticks. The match was barely four minutes old.
Currie’s response was equally empathic. Forbes kicked an easy three after an offside offence to get Currie off the mark, before DJ Innes was the key that unlocked the Hawick defence. The inside-centre took a flat pass from scrummy Paddy Boyer before executing a perfect flick out the back of his hand to send hooker Ryan Stewart racing up the right wing to score a fabulous try.
Sadly for Currie, the centre’s next intervention was less helpful. Innes lost the ball in contact inside his own half and Currie were pinged for not rolling at the very next breakdown as their scramble defence struggled to contain the visitors.
Hawick kicked to the corner and it was far too easy for the forward pack to muscle their way over the line. Worse for Currie, the referee awarded a penalty try and flashed a yellow card at Currie tighthead Cairn Ramsay.
Four minutes later the same thing happened. Penalty, kick to the corner and Hawick’s big men rumbled over the line without breaking sweat, this one awarded to hooker Matt Carryer.
Currie’s indiscipline was a problem all afternoon and Hawick had the nous to take full advantage. Another offside by the home side saw the Borderers take the quick tap-penalty despite the wind at their backs and catch Currie on the hop.
Shawn Muir did the damage through the middle of the park before feeding right winger Lewis Ferguson. When the ball was recycled to the left, number eight Jae Linton stepped out of the despairing tackle by winger James McCaig to score Hawick’s bonus point try around the half hour mark.
Trailing by 16 points at the break but with the wind at their backs in the second half, Currie needed the first score after the break to make a contest of this game. They got the next two.
First up Boyer dived over in the left hand corner, but only after umpteen pick and drives had been rebuffed by Hawick’s defence. Then Currie kicked two penalties to touch. The first assault on the right went nowhere but the second on the left saw prop Chris Anderson barrel over from short range.
Sadly for the home fans, Hall was unable to convert either the tricky first or the simple second. Instead Ford pushed Hawick’s lead to 9 points with a penalty coming on 65 minutes.
Currie’s scrum was going backwards but it was retreating scrum ball that provided the opportunity for replacement Charlie Brett to score directly from set piece, the full-back fending off two less than committed Hawick tackles to score in the corner and bring Currie to within four points but that was as close as they got.
Under pressure, Hawick resorted to their most potent weapon and mauled Currie back over their own try line from an attacking line-out, flanker Calum Renwick the last man off the deck. Ford converted and added another penalty a little later to take Hawick’s lead from four to 14 points and still the visitors’ were not finished.
Visiting centre Andrew Mitchell pounced on another Currie error in midfield and headed upfield with some intent. He was eventually stopped by Brett but Hawick kept the move alive and a few plays later lock Dalton Redpath scored under the posts. The icing on the cake for the traveling support.
Currie Chieftains: A Hall; J McCaig, G Cannie, D Innes, K McGovern; J Forbes, P Boyer; C Anderson , R Stewart , C Ramsay, E Stewart, W Inglis, J Duncan, G Nelson, R Davies. Substitues: J Halliday, J Ramsay, M Vernel, C Brett, C Lessels.
Hawick: K Ford; L Ferguson, L Gordon-Woolley, A Mitchell, R McKean; K Bunton, G Welsh; S Muir, M Carryer , N Little, D Redpath, S Fairbairn, C Sutherland, C Renwick, J Linton. Substitutes: R Graham, T Hope, H Donaldson, B Donaldson, G Huggan.
Referee: Grant Stephen
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Stewart, Boyer, Anderson, Brett; Con: Forbes; Pen: Forbes.
Hawick: Tries: Welsh, Penalty Try, Carrier, Linton, Renwick, Redpath; Cons: Ford 4; Pen: Ford 2.
Sequence of scoring (Hawick first): 0-5; 0-7; 3-7; 8-7; 10-7; 10-14; 10-19; 10-24; 10-26 (h-t) 15-26; 20-26; 20-29; 25-29; 25-34; 25-36; 25-39; 25-44; 25-46.
Yellow card –
Currie Chieftains: Ramsay (18 mins).
Man-of-the-Match: Rhys Davies and replacement Jacob Ramsay both excelled in a losing cause for Currie but the stand-out players were all in green. Full-back Kirk Ford and scrummy Gareth Welsh caught the eye but the award has to go the Hawick forward pack who won this match. Jae Linton, Dalton Redpath and Matt Carryer all excelled but loosehead prop Shawn Muir gets the nod for his aggressive tackling and carrying that epitomised Hawick’s efforts.
Talking point: On 67 minutes, replacement Charlie Brett scored a try for Currie he has no right to claim. It came from quick hands from a set scrum and Brett still had at least two Hawick defenders to beat when he got the ball outside the 22 metre mine. And still the full-back somehow managed to score in the corner.