Premiership: Glasgow Hawks return to winning ways by outlasting Heriot’s

Glasgow Hawks returned to winning ways against Heriot's Blues at Goldenacre. Image: Bob Coats
Glasgow Hawks shook off a slow start to get the better of Heriot's Blues at Goldenacre. Image: Bob Coats.

Heriot’s Blues 19

Glasgow Hawks 41

GARY HEATLY @ Goldenacre

AFTER  a slow start, Glasgow Hawks fought back from 19-7 down to eventually hit their straps and defeat Heriot’s Blues with a bonus point.

Heriot’s went into this one off the back of their first two wins in the Premiership since promotion and after 22 minutes they looked in control here. However, the Hawks pack got going and the visitors managed to edge into a two-point lead at half-time and never looked back.

The five-pointer was Hawks’ first win since October 1st and their head coach Andy Hill said: “It was a slow start, I changed the warm-up a bit and we looked a bit ‘off it’ in the beginning, but once our forwards got going and showed the physicality required at this level we got into the game.

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“Heriot’s had a man yellow-carded just before the interval and, crucially, we scored tries either side of half-time. That gave the guys real confidence and we started playing better and finished the game strongly.

“In much of the first half it was like we were turning the tap on and off again – we could not get momentum – whereas in the second half we had the water flowing from the tap and kept the pressure up.

“Ahead of the break, looking at the season so far there have been ups and downs, but we now have a number of players competing for spots and will kick on in November as we look for a top-four spot.”

Heriot’s took the lead here after just two minutes. A poor clearance kick from Hawks went straight into touch having been brought back into their 22. From the resultant lineout, a good driving maul set up the backs and full-back Charlie Dineen put winger Noah Henry into space.

He did the rest and while it was a good finish, the Hawks defence must be questioned. Scrum-half Graham Wilson converted from out wide.

Credit to the visitors, they fought back pretty quickly and, after a series of penalties went to touch, a well-controlled driving maul saw hooker Istok Totic go over for a try. Full-back Jamie Thompson kicked the conversion over and it was 7-7.

A minute later, Heriot’s scored their second try and, again, poor Hawks defence played its part. When Wilson dinked a grubber kick through down the right nothing much looked on, but with the rain starting to fall heavily two Hawks’ defenders failed to gather and the experienced No 9 showed good awareness to dot it down. It was not converted.

Try number three arrived for Heriot’s in the 22nd minute. After a handful of carries had got them within a few yards of the Hawks try line, Wilson slipped a nice inside pass to Craig Robertson, who had come off his wing, to touch down under the posts. Wilson converted and it was 19-7.

Eight minutes before the break Hawks cut the gap to five points when, after they won a number of scrum penalties, the ball was shipped wide to centre James Pinkerton and he went over. Thompson converted.

And 19-14 down soon became a 21-19 lead for Hawks. Their forwards were now on the front foot and every time the visitors got into the Heriot’s 22, penalties were given away at close quarters.

Eventually referee Fergus Hollins had had enough and he yellow-carded Heriot’s back-row Charlie Jupp after one such infringement.

Hawks took advantage against 14 men and No 8 Oscar Baird scored after a strong scrum. Thompson converted and they were two points up at the break.


The home side brought on two new front-rowers at the interval in the shape of loose-head John Lascelles and hooker Danny Dineen to try and get parity at set-piece time, but Hawks had scored their bonus-point fourth try before they could get involved.

Barely 60 seconds were on the clock in the half when Hawks put together a flowing move, including nice involvements from their two half-time backs subs Andy McLean and Kerr Yule – the former returning from a loan to Super6 side Boroughmuir Bears and the latter making his top-team debut.

In the end it was winger Sam Graham who scored it out wide after the final break of the move by Pinkerton. It was unconverted, but they were 26-19 up by the time Heriot’s returned to 15 men.

And in the 50th minute Hawks went 10 points up thanks to a penalty by stand-off Gavin Cruikshanks.

Before the hour mark came there was an important turnover secured by Hawks with Heriot’s just metres away from their try line while a tackle which forced Jupp to knock the ball on minutes later seemed to energise the visitors ahead of the final quarter.

Hawks made sure of the win with 12 minutes to go when replacement back-row Jack McLean, just on the pitch, scored after a good forwards drive. It was unconverted, but at 34-19 down a tired looking Heriot’s outfit needed three scores.

And Hawks put the icing on the cake when Graham scored his second try at the death with Thompson converting.

Heriot’s head coach Phil Smith said:  “The overriding emotion is frustration because we started well and then could not kick on.

“When we moved Hawks around in the early stages we looked good, but their pack is one of the most physical in the league and when they got into things they started to put us under pressure.

“The try that Hawks scored just after half-time really hurt us and after that we were quite inaccurate as we chased the game.

“Two wins from nine is not where we wanted to be at this stage, but we shall get a few players back after the break and build on the good parts of our game.”


Teams – 

Heriot’s Blues: C Dineen; N Henry, O Quinn, R Kay, C Robertson; D Martin, G Wilson; M Bouab, M Toward, A Bogle, L Gordon, S Johnstone©, C Jupp, I Hill, A Johnstone. Subs: D Dineen, J Lascelles, M Bruce, R Thomson, P Christie.

Glasgow Hawks: J Thompson; S Graham, J Pinkerton, B McGroarty, R Flett; G Cruikshanks, E Davey; M Downer, I Totic, G Strain, R Hart, S Leckey©, S Hastings, D Sweeney, O Baird. Subs: T McTeir, A Al-agilly, J McLean, A McLean, K Yule.

Referee: Fergus Hollins.


Scorers –

Heriot’s: Tries: Henry, Wilson, Robertson; Cons: Wilson 2.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Totic, Pinkerton, Baird, Graham 2, J McLean; Pen: Cruikshanks;  Cons: Thompson 4.

Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 7-7; 12-7; 17-7, 19-7; 19-12; 19-14; 19-19; 19-21 (h-t); 19-26; 19-29; 19-34; 19-39; 19-41.


Yellow card –

Heriot’s: Jupp (35mins).


Man-of-the-Match: This could have gone to one of a number of Hawks players; Graham for two tries, Pinkerton for bringing real energy to the midfield or livewire scrum-half Eric Davey for example. However, it has to go to a forward because it was the pack who wrestled the visitors into this one after the poor first quarter. Serbian hooker Istok Totic gets the nod for his work in the tight and the loose.

Talking point: Just what can these two sides achieve this season? Both seem to play well in parts of games, but then switch off in others. If Heriot’s play the way they did in the first 22 minutes here they should have a fighting chance when it comes to a relegation battle while if Hawks play as they did from that moment on they can really make a push for the top four. Consistency is the thing Phil Smith and Andy Hill will be searching for after the break in the campaign.

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About Gary Heatly 462 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.