Premiership: Marr book home play-off slot with rugged win over Hawick

A re-match at Fullarton at end of March is on the cards, unless Edinburgh Accies manage to roll over Currie Chieftains

Gordon Reid and William Farquhar were at the heart of the action as Marr found a way to beat Hawick. Image: © Craig Watson -
Gordon Reid and William Farquhar were at the heart of the action as Marr found a way to beat Hawick. Image: © Craig Watson -

Marr 21

Hawick 10

IAIN HAY @ Fullarton Park

A DASH of good fortune on the stroke of half-time for Marr proved to be the turning point, as the Ayrshiremen booked a home play-off semi-final in an engrossing, occasionally bad-tempered encounter with fellow contenders Hawick.

Edinburgh Accies victory over Hawks means that they could still overtake Hawick to take third spot but, in order to do so they’ll have to defeat runaway leaders Currie Chieftains at Raeburn in a fortnight’s time, a situation that Hawick head coach Matty Douglas doesn’t want to see happening.

Asked if he’d prefer another crack at Marr, he quickly responded: “100 percent. Wherever we go we’ll have a crack but I think there’s some unfinished business here.

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“First half we were really good. It was the reaction I asked for, it’s a very hostile place to come here but it’s the tale of our season to give a score away just before half-time, and our discipline wasn’t the best in the second half. We switched off for a try round about the hour mark and never really got back into it.

“I have to give some credit to the players, we’ve been beat by 11 points when we’ve gifted them two tries, so if we have to come back here in the play-off then I’m looking forward to it.”

Hawick dominated possession, territory and the scoreboard during the first 39 minutes. Kirk Ford kicked the visitors into the lead off the tee, and soon afterwards he put one to touch which was worked inside and led to a try right under the posts for Glen Welsh.

After yesterday’s horrific weather,  it was a pleasant surprise to see Fullarton bathed in sunshine, but with a stiff breeze, which Ford, and full-back Bailey Donaldson with his left-boot cannon, used to their advantage to keep Marr pegged into their own half.

An advantage from a deliberate knock-on – which perhaps should have seen referee Hollie Davidson dip into her pocket – saw Andrew Mitchell break the line after initially slipping, and Calum Renwick took it deeper into the 22, but once play was brought back Marr won a penalty at the scrum.

The visitors kept the pressure on, and it took some stern defending, including a key jackaling penalty by Brandon Sweet to keep them from increasing their lead, with Marr unable to find any cohesion or keep the ball for multiple phases.

However, football is a funny old game, and rugby football is even funnier. From nothing and nowhere, a hopeful hack ahead became the platform from which Marr could spring into life.

Replacement Matthew O’Sullivan gave chase, and although Hawick winger Morgan Tait had done very well to come in off his right wing to sweep up the danger, O’Sullivan was on him quickly and Hawick weren’t able to exit far. With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Marr camped on the Hawick line, Renwick was sent to the sin-bin, and Curran McMillan crossed the whitewash to somehow leave Marr only trailing by three as they hit the changing rooms.


With Marr having had so little possession, all we’d seen so far from Scott Bickerstaff were a few kicks to touch – one of which was badly sliced and barely went 10 metres – but now with the wind at his back he launched one deep, which Donaldson allowed to bounce and land just on the edge of the 22.

Marr were then awarded the free-kick for an early jump, and it looked like Bickerstaff would have an easy run-in but he was unable to take a long pass from Jack Scott, who had moved into scrum-half with Sinjin Broad going off injured in the first half.

A Hawick scrum penalty saw a bit of a stramash with front-row replacements Gordon Reid and William Farquhar – rumoured to be moving on up to the Super 6 with Ayrshire Bulls – front and centre, as both sides literally fought over the coveted home play-off spot.

Both sides were fairly evenly matched, but Hawick gave away slightly more penalties (I made the count 14-12) and although they had lost the first scrum, Marr’s front-row then took control.

Two close range penalties led to two tap-and-go attempts, and from the second it was McMillan who finally battered over the line to break Hawick resistance and hearts.

Bickerstaff took the game beyond doubt when he went under the posts with just over five minutes remaining after good feet and an offload by Colin Sturgeon.

Hawick had one last chance to snatch a bonus point when they kicked a penalty to within the Marr 22, but as with a lot of arrows on a windy day, the throw-in failed to hit the target and Marr gleefully booted the ball out to halt proceedings.

“We were struggling, to be honest” said a relieved Craig Redpath afterwards. “Hawick just played a simple game-plan of putting us into corners and waiting for us to make a mistake. We got lucky just before half-time, got the wee break and scored a try, then even in the second half I didn’t think we managed it particularly well, but we managed to find a way to win.

“We’ve confirmed the home semi, we expect it’ll be Hawick again. There wasn’t much in that game, and Hawick are always be confident whoever they’re playing. We’ll improve from that game; we’ve got a few guys coming back, and in the wings, so we’ve got selection decisions to make.”


Teams –

Marr: D Steele; S Bickerstaff, J Shedden, G Paxton, J Scott; C Sturgeon, S Broad; B Sweet, C McMillan, C Miller, D Andrew, F Grant, B Jardine, R Brown, B Johnston. Subs: W Farquhar, G Reid, J McLean, N Calder, M O’Sullivan

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

Referee: Hollie Davidson


Scorers –

Marr: Tries: McMillan 2, Bickerstaff; Cons: Sturgeon 3.

Hawick: Tries: Glen Welsh; Cons: Ford; Pens: Ford.

Scoring sequence (Marr first): 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 5-10; 7-10 (h-t) 12-10; 14-10; 19-10; 21-10.


Yellow Cards –

Hawick: Renwick


Man-of-the-Match: In a game so fiercely competitive, it’s the line-breakers and metre-makers who can be the difference, so Jamie Shedden and his effortless running style gets the award.

Talking Point: Matty Douglas made point of how the Fullarton crowd can intimidate but one individual certainly crossed the line in swearing at Calum Renwick when he was sent to the bin. Douglas and his coaching staff were not amused.

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About Iain Hay 42 Articles
New to the freelancing journalistic world as of August 2019, Iain has previously written for The Scottish Rugby Blog since 2017, covering matches for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland and opinion pieces. Can also often be heard on their podcast flapping his gums about the oval-ball (technically, it’s ellipsoidal) game and being pedantic. Is rumoured to believe that Finn Russell is The Messiah. Does the Twitter thing, but doesn’t like it.


  1. Left this a week because it amuses me, Oricle, you are so far off the mark it’s unreal.

    There is no “sensational headline”. It was a lucky break that led to Matt’s 1st try, I have Craig Redpath on record agreeing with me.

    I have always shown respect to Marr in the dozen or so matches I’ve covered there. They are a fine team and I have never suggested otherwise, especially not in that report. I imagine if Craig had an issue with me he’d have said so by now. He’s always been a pleasure to speak to post-match.

    There were pockets of Marr fans near me who said misogynyistic things about Hollie Davidson, and then the ones who hurled abuse at the Hawick bench. It wasn’t “the replacement hooker” who wanted to report the fan, it was the head coach.

    Take a look at your own mates’ standards and behaviours before you have a pop at me. The game doesn’t stop at the touchline.

  2. I thought Gordon Reid had retired from playing, I’m sure he announced his retirement on twitter recently.

    • Gordy has retired from professional rugby. The full-time game. I don’t think we will see him back in S6, but, he is enjoying his time at Marr and means to carry-on for a wee while yet.

      • Thanks Matt. Good to see him still involved in the game, his experience will be invaluable for the younger props at Marr to learn from.

  3. We don’t want football style abuse to opposing teams during rugby games.
    Get it sorted .
    Whoever it was should be ashamed of themselves .
    Just embarrassing their club.

  4. Oricle, indeed I had the privilege of watching two fine club sides going head to head this afternoon. My point was essentially that Hawick’s scrum was going forward in the first half and so too was their team generally. However when Reid and Farquhar were introduced at half time the momentum change was quite obvious and probably shaped the final result

  5. Great to see sensational headlines. A dash of good fortunes on the stroke of half time !!! Marr are a better team than Mr Hay and Matty Douglas would have you believe.As for the incident on the touch line with the Hawick bench really.You had the replacement hooker threatening to cite spectators. Let us try and stick to reporting on games and not the short comings on the side lines.

    • Keep the football style abuse away from rugby matches.
      Opposition Players should not have to endure this at any level

      • Possibly because he posted twice James. We get it. Sounds like the Hawick bench also got it and dealt with it accordingly. Lot more positives to be focused on.

  6. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words…..this game definitely altered course when the two guys in the pic enter the fray

    • Touchline regular were you at the game? Get a copy of the video and watch who actually plays.Give me stats who Carrie’s the ball makes tackles who wins penalties and who gives them away.Your as bad as the reporter it’s a team game and wasnt won just by the 2 men in the picture


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