BORDERS SEMI JUNIOR LEAGUE champions Hawick Youth completed a notable double this season by adding the under-18 regional Cup title to their list of successes after achieving a narrow 26-19 result against Kelso Quins at The Greenyards on Saturday, with a performance that was very much about maximising their opportunities.
The win to some extent compensated for the disappointment of being knocked out of the National Youth Cup at the semi-final stage then they ‘lost’ to West of Scotland on the basis of the yellow card rule, after the two clubs had finished level at 17-17.
Tries by scrum half Liam Bouglas, centre Scott Young, stand-off Owain Gray and wing Finlay Douglas, and two conversions by Gray, gave Hawick Youth a 26-14 half time advantage over Kelso Quins whose tries were scored by prop Ashton Asante and number 8 Logan Edgar, both converted by centre Archie Barbour.
Then, in a low-scoring but absorbing second half, replacement Josh Sullivan ran in a third try for Kelso Quins but it was not enough to close the gap on Hawick Youth.
“We knew it would be a tough game against Kelso. They ran us close twice in the league,” said Paul Stewart, the Hawick coach. “They were strong up front and we knew what was coming but we stood up to them. I thought our seven, Corbin Cumming, was outstanding in that respect.”
Earlier, Peebles Under-18s achieved a sumptuous 48-19 win over Carlisle Colts to lift the Borders Semi Junior Plate title with a nine-try haul over their English opponents. Full-back Liam Forsyth scored a hat-trick for Peebles and there was a brace for No 8 Ewan Hunter, while centre Patrick Cannon, flanker Finlay Sinclair and second-row Fraser Brock each had one touchdown. Four of the Peebles tries were converted by Frey Maciver.
In the west region, the under-18 Cup the final will be between Ayr/Wellington and West of Scotland. Ayr reached the last two after emerging from a hard game against GHA as 12-5 winners with tries from Blair Niven and Scott Watson, who also kicked a conversion goal.
“It was a really tight game against a very well drilled GHA side, we struggled in the first half against their powerful pack, ” said Bryan Crossan, the Ayr coach. “Our line-out wasn’t firing and that caused us some issues. That aside, our defence was excellent and our game management in the second half allowed us to keep control.”
In the other semi-final, West of Scotland were 33-12 winners over Biggar, the Burnbrae side’s tries coming from Kerr Yule (2), Pat Spence, Ross Darroch and Finn Carden, four of them converted by Charlie Greaves. “We had a slow start but in the last 20 minutes of the first half we scored two good tries and pushed on in the second to score another three. Overall it was a good performance against a physical Biggar side,” concluded the West coach, Millan Browne.
In the west under-16 Cup semi finals, GHA warmed up for their National Youth Cup final at BT Murrayfield this Sunday by defeating Biggar 41-21 at Hartree Mill, while in the other penultimate round match Ayr/Wellington were 57-7 winners over Dalziel RFC.
Meanwhile, at Goldenacre, George Heriot’s School won their own sevens tournament in the under-18 competition after defeating St Aloysius College 38-7 in the final. Heriot’s came through their group with victories over Stewart’s-Melville College and Glasgow High School before defeating George Watson’s College 38-7 in the semi-final.
“It was one of those days were everything clicked for us and the boys played some scintillating sevens and thoroughly deserved to win the comp,” said Ewan Harrison, the Heriot’s under-18 coach. Then, to cap a memorable day for Heriot’s, the school won the girls under-18 competition.
At under-16 level, George Watson’s College continued their successful sevens season by defeating Dollar Academy in the final.