Premiership: Glasgow Hawks power past Jed-Forest

Hosts dig deep to ensure they depart Premiership with heads held high

No way through for Jed full-back Mark Glen, who is tackled by Ben Morriss. Image: Bob Coats
No way through for Jed full-back Mark Glen, who is tackled by Ben Morriss. Image: Bob Coats

Jed-Forest 14

Glasgow Hawks 46

DAVID BARNES @ Riverside Park

THEY bow out of the Premiership without a win to their name from 18 outings this season, but Jed-Forest can hold heir heads high after recovering from a fraught first 40 minutes to make a contest of this  match during the second half.

It was a generally scrappy and uninspiring match, as was almost inevitable when you end up with two teams who have struggled all season playing  a dead-rubber in dreich conditions on a re-arranged weekend long after the rest of the league campaign has finished. For Hawks, there was some reward in climbing from ninth (second-bottom) to eighth (third-bottom) with this bonus-point win.

“You could tell at the start of the game that Hawks had played two games since we last played, the sharpness wasn’t there and we just looked like a team who hadn’t played for a while,” said home coach David Grieve. “We were a different team after a few stern words at half-time when we just asked them to show a bit of pride. It would have been easy just to keep the heads down and it would have ended a whole lot worse than that, so credit to the boys for digging deep at the end of a long, hard league campaign.”


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Jed were in all sorts of bother in the scrum during that opening 40 minutes, but Grieve reasoned that not rushing for a quick-fix was the correct option in terms of looking ahead to next season when the Riverside men will hope to steady their ship in National One.

“We had an 18-year-old tight-head in David Campbell and we could have taken him off but you learn more when you are under pressure, especially as a front-rower, so we gave him until half-time then Jamie Bowie went on and steadied it up a bit,” Grieve explained.

“We’ve still got three Border League games to go, against Melrose, Gala and Peebles, and at least two of them will be in our league next year – we don’t know where Melrose will be – so that will help show us where we are and where we need to strengthen,” he added.

 

 

It was clear from as early the third minute that Jed were not going to finish the campaign with that morale-boosting win they have long searched for in vain this season, with Hawks marching them off their own scrum ball and eventually winning a penalty.

The Borderers did manage to get the ball away from another pressurised set-piece a few minute later, but James Couper ran Lewis Young‘s rushed clearance back with venom, triggering a sweeping attack which ended with Torquil Macleod scooting over for the opening try in the corner, which David McCartney excellently converted from the touchline.

Jed battled to get into the game and they enjoyed a decent share of possession during the opening quarter, without the cohesion or firepower to really challenge Hawks’ defence, and the visitors struck again on 15 minutes when Paul Cairncross finished off a multi-phase attack which dragged Jed’s defence out of shape.

McCartney missed the conversion from wide on the left, but was bang-on with a holding-on penalty from right in front of the stick a few minutes later.

It was one-way traffic at this stage, with Hawks demolishing Jed’s scrum again then streaking downfield for a James Imrie try, converted by McCartney, and the bonus points was in the bag by the 25th minute when Ben Morriss did well to control McCartney’s cross-kick at full stretch and then recycled quickly for Couper to scamper over.

To their credit, Jed kept plugging away, and were rewarded with a try from Lewis Elder following a patient passage of play which featured an audacious dummy from Dom Buckley.

But Hawks had the last word of the first half when Macleod streaked over for his second try of the contest..

 

 

Hawks struck again early in the second half, with Morriss marking his score with an ostentatious swallow-dive, and McCartney converting from a wide on the right, which was no mean feat given the treacherous underfoot and overhead conditions.

Perhaps disorientated by their full bench clearance on 50 minutes, their visitors found themselves hemmed into their own 22 for a 10 minute, and Jed got their reward from that pressure when Elder weighed up his options then nipped through a gap in Hawks’ ragged ruck defence before feeding Lewis Young for an unchallenged run to the line.

Hawks recovered to score again through Couper, but they couldn’t re-establish that first half momentum, with Jed doing a pretty good job of frustrating the away team through a combination of result defence and fair dose of niggle as the game fizzled out.

“It was good to get another win because backing up results is something we have struggled to do throughout this season,” said Hawks head coach Andy Hill, before looking ahead to next week’s round one Cup match against Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place.

“That’s our big focus,” he explained. “We had a good run last year before we lost to Hawick in the semi-final and our aim has got to be to do something similar this year. With the Border teams coming out the Cup, we realise that we are three games away from Murrayfield.

“We haven’t performed very well against Accies this year, so we have a point to prove in that game.”

 

Teams –

Jed-Forest: M Glen; K Grieve (M Harshaw 73), L Young, O Cranston, R Shirra-Gibb; D Buckley, L Elder; J Ferguson, H Keith, D Campbell (J Bowie 40), C Skeldon, R Thomson (R Douglas 40), D McNeill, D Wardrop (B Howe 40), B Fotheringham.

Glasgow Hawks: J Couper; B Morriss (R Speers 50), F Callaghan, J McConkey, T Macleod (W Burrows 50); D McCartney, J Imrie; K Shanahan (F Muir 50), P Cairncross, M Goodwin (E Cairns 50), M Crumlish ( T Sofidaya 50), S Leckey (M Crumlish 56), Y Shaheen, B Skinner, C Nolan.

Referee: Tom French

 

Scorers –

Jed-Forest: Try: Elder, Young; Con: Buckley 2.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Macleod 2, Imrie, Cairncross, Couper 2, Morriss; Con: McCartney 4; Pen: McCartney.

Scoring sequence (Jed-Forest): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-15; 0-20; 0-22; 0-27; 5-27; 7-27; 7-32; 7-34 (h-t) 7-39; 7-41; 7-46; 12-46; 14-46

 

Man-of-the-Match: Hawks’ scrum set the tone in the first half so tight-head Marcus Goodwin gets the nod.

Talking point: The role of the Premiership in Scottish Rugby’s performance pathway is a hot topic at the moment. This was hardly a shiny advert for the top tier of the club game, but the reality is that an ad-hoc handful of A games for Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, plus a few academy hit-outs, is not going to give up-and-coming players the game time they need. Murrayfield needs to ensure that they don’t throw the baby out with the Super Series bathwater. An integrated structure is vital given the playing resources and match opportunities available in Scotland.


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About David Barnes 3891 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.