Scottish Cup Final: Hawick’s fast start is enough – but Edinburgh Accies make them sweat

Greens charge into a commanding first half lead and then withstand a stirring late rally from their capital opponents

Man-of-the-Match Lee Armstrong carries for Hawick versus Edinburgh Accies in the Scottish Cup Final. Image: Pater Watt
Man-of-the-Match Lee Armstrong carries for Hawick versus Edinburgh Accies in the Scottish Cup Final. Image: Pater Watt

Edinburgh Accies 29

Hawick 32

COLIN RENTON @ Scottish Gas Murrayfield

THE SCOTTISH CUP will remain in the Hawick trophy room for another season after the Mansfield men took the honours in a fabulous contest brimming with open rugby. Both sides emerged with immense credit for the adventurous style of rugby on display. Ultimately, however, the defending champions were a little more composed at key moments and the greater experience in their ranks proved to be decisive.   

Accies, who eventually outscored their opponents 5-4 in the try count, took time to settle but they were competitive throughout and showed buckets of courage in the final minutes to pose a stern test for a side on target to secure an historic double-double – they have the Premiership play-off coming up in seven days – and there would have been few neutrals who would have complained had the trophy headed for Raeburn Place. Overall, though, the message from on-field events and a boisterous crowd, was that, despite its detractors, the club game can put on a show.

Hawick coach Graham Hogg was not surprised at the late flurry from Accies, saying: “We knew they were going to have their spells.


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“When we went 17 points up, messages from the touchline were that we couldn’t be complacent. We knew they have the personnel to challenge us, we spoke about that all week. In cup competitions it’s all about getting over the line and we managed to do that in the end so I’m massively proud of the guys.”

The greater experience in the Hawick ranks may have been a factor in building an early lead, but Hogg had not been keen to focus on that in the lead-up to the match.

“We’re not a side that massively looks backwards but if you did look back to last year’s cup final, in the first 20-30 minutes we were poor and that was [down to] playing the occasion rather than the opposition, so we kept it low key this week,” he added.

There were mixed emotions for his counterpart Iain Berthinussen, who said, “I was frustrated with the first 15 minutes. We did want to come and play, I thought we were a bit loose and probably played too much, particularly in our own 10 and with Kirk Ford the way he kicks, they just built a 17-point lead.”

However, there was no doubting his satisfaction at the way his men finished, adding: “I’m really proud of the way the boys came back and I think they played some fantastic rugby. We probably needed to score two or three minutes earlier to give ourselves a chance to sneak it but I’m really proud of some of the stuff we played, particularly at the tail-end of the second half.”

 

 

Hawick edged into the lead after three minutes when Ford was on target with a penalty from 40 metres.

Accies looked to hit back instantly and earned a scrum penalty that presented Ben Appleson with a chance to square matters. However, his long-range effort failed to find the target.

The capital men were struggling to gain a foothold and their task became even tougher on 11 minutes when Hawick stole line-out ball and moved it wide to Andrew Mitchell who crashed through an attempted tackle to dot down. Ford’s conversion took the Greens’ tally into double figures.

Hawick continued to dominate and Lee Armstrong powered his way deep into Accies territory where Kyle Brunton took recycled ball and delivered a cross-field kick that eluded everyone except Calum Renwick who gathered and dotted down, leaving Ford to add the extras.

It was essential that Accies made their presence felt on the scoreboard and they did that in 18 minutes. Max Wallace sprinted to within striking distance of the Hawick line and the ball was popped up for the onrushing and soon to retire Jamie Sole to crash over for a five pointer.

Accies finally had their dander up and they hauled themselves back into the contest with a penalty-try awarded for a deliberate knock-on just shy of the whitewash by Charlie Welsh, which also earned the Hawick winger a yellow card.

However, Accies failed to maintain their grip and the Borderers regained the momentum to add a third try. A penalty to touch and two subsequent drives stretched the Accies defence before the ball was flung out wide to Ronan McKean who dotted down in the corner. Ford banged over the conversion from wide on the left to maintain his perfect record with the boot.

Accies thought they had narrowed the gap but Alistair Wood was judged to have been held up over the opposition line and there was no further scoring before the end of an engrossing first half, which ended with Hawick again in the ascendancy but held up over the line.

 

 

The Greens came out firing for the second half and within four minutes had bagged a fourth try, this time created by the quick thinking of Gareth Welsh, who took a quick penalty and offloaded to Connor Sutherland, whose power allowed him to finish the job.

Ford posted his first miss with the conversion, but he was back on target five minutes later to stroke over a penalty that left the gap at 20 points with half an hour to play.

Overturning that deficit looked to be beyond Accies and they became increasingly desperate as they sought to stay in the game, leading to a rising error count.

But when they did get it together, they asked serious questions of the Hawick defence and they did manage to cross the Hawick line as the clock ticked into the final quarter but Robbie Kent was held up.

They eventually seized the score their pressure merited when Keiran Slingsby went in at the corner. A missed conversion left Accies needing three scores and, despite some scintillating footwork from Robbie Chalmers, they could not unlock a solid Hawick defence.

They finally managed to find a way through with 10 minutes left to play, a powerful surge split the Greens defence and allowed Fraser McAslan to apply the final touch. Ross Cadzow added the extras to offer Accies a glimmer of hope.

And that glimmer became a brighter light when Wallace capped a renewed spell on top by hurtling over. Once again that left a tricky conversion that was wide of the mark. And Hawick saw out a tense closing minute to clinch the silverware.

 

Teams – 

Edinburgh Academicals: R Chalmers; G Welsh, R Kent, N Armstrong ©, M Wallace; B Appleson, P Ritchie; C Imrie, C Davies, C Crookshanks, J Mills, S Whittaker, T Drennan, A Wood, J Sole. Replacements: F McAslan, R Dunbar, C Bain, K Slingsby, R Cadzow, C Allan, F McNeill.

Hawick: K Ford; C Welsh, A Mitchell, L Armstrong, R McKean; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir ©, F Renwick, N Little, C Sutherland, D Redpath, S Graham, C Renwick, J Linton. Replacements: R Anderson, T Hope, R Graham, F Wilson, D Lightfoot, B Donaldson, M Tait,

Referee: David Young

 

Scorers –

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Sole, Penalty, Slingsby, McAslan, Wallace; Con: Cadzow.

Hawick: Tries: Mitchell, C Renwick, McKean, Sutherland; Cons: Ford 3; Pens: Ford 2

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh Accies first): 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 0-15; 0-17; 5-17; 12-17; 12-22; 12-24 (h-t) 12-29; 12-32; 17-32; 22-32; 24-32; 29-32.

 

Yellow cards –

Hawick: C Welsh

 

Man-of-the-Match: Every player on the field contributed to a fantastic rugby spectacle and there were numerous contenders for this award. However, the man whose pace and angle of running was crucial, particularly in building the score in the first period, was Lee Armstrong.

Talking point: This was a final worthy of the occasion, featuring two sides who delivered a contest brimming with commitment and showcasing the talent that exists at this level.


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About Colin Renton 294 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!

8 Comments

  1. This final was a really tremendous advert for Scottish club rugby at Premiership level and a real treat for supporters of both famous clubs and indeed neutrals watching. Excellent skill levels, fabulous tries galore and real commitment across the two teams. Why this showpiece was scheduled for 7.15pm I’ll never know. Ludicrous scheduling, particularly for our opponents Hawick. How are they expected to bring youngsters to watch a final played at this hour? Great reporting of the club game as ever by The Offside Line.

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    • Womens Shield Final
      Womens Cup
      Men’s National Cup
      Men’s Cup

      All in Murrayfield

      Plus Mens Shield and bowl and Womens Plate at Hive.

      Maybe they should have kicked off at 8am?

      • Maybe the showpiece final should have kicked off at 3pm with others before and after.

        It really isn’t rocket science.

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  2. Great game .
    Great advertisement for Prem 1 club rugby
    Well done Hawick but phew it was close
    Ps
    As previous said who the hell sanctioned kick off at 7-15 pm .
    Needs to be explained.

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  3. A truly great final with only 3 points separating the teams at the end of 80 pulsating minutes.
    The only thing that would have improved the occasion would have been an earlier kick off time say 3pm with the day devoted to the men’s game.
    Surely it’s time the ladies had their own finals day at a time and place of their choosing thus giving both codes a special day out.
    Above all if the Cup is to survive it needs to be sponsored plus properly promoted,to be a genuine competition attracting all clubs throughout the season.
    Prior to the final Hawick played only two cup games with a third cancelled due to their planned opponents unable raise a team – hardly a pathway to glory.
    Nevertheless an edge of the seat final and I could swear the rain had turned to beer at one point.

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  4. Well it may have been a farce of a tournament but what a game , what a final , great advert for Scottish club rugby

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  5. Shame that neither the sru ( with their brief and inaccurate report) and bbc sport who completely ignored giving even the scoreline, gave this feast of rugby the reporting it deserved.
    Well done the OSL.
    Two fine teams , the right result for a club remembering heroes from the last 150 years of rugby history.

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  6. Great game, an awful lot of very drunk, obnoxious fans, ignorant of the number of kids in the crowd

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