by GARY HEATLY
HAWICK head coach George Graham wants his players to take confidence from their Scottish Cup win over Gala into their upcoming Tennent’s Premiership matches. The Greens put in a polished performance to defeat their old rivals 52-14 in the first round of the knock-out event at Mansfield Park.
And now their attention will shift back to the league where they sit ninth in the table ahead of pre-Christmas matches against Currie Chieftains, Glasgow Hawks and Watsonians.
“I was pleased with the way the team played. They knew that the defeat to Boroughmuir – and the manner of it – last week was not good enough and they improved a lot,” said Graham, who was also head coach at Gala in a previous life. “I thought we got on the front foot early in the first half and capitalised on that with some good tries.
“We let Gala back into things with a couple of tries after half-time, but then we finished with a flourish and to score over 50 points in any derby match has to be a good result.
“Now we have to take the good things from this game into the Currie match next week because that will be a completely different kettle of fish as they have dangers all over the pitch.”
The Maroons arrived at Mansfield Park looking to cause an upset, but their hopes were dashed by an excellent first 40 minutes from the Greens. With Gala’s Terry Logan in the sin-bin early on, Hawick went 7-0 up through a penalty try. Matty Carryer and Lee Armstrong added tries two and three and when Bruce McNeil went in off the base of the scrum for try number four – this time converted by Armstrong – Hawick were well on top.
That 24-0 scoreline at the break soon became 31-0 thanks to a well-worked Kirk Ford try in the corner and Armstrong’s conversion. Shawn Muir, the Hawick skipper, was next in on the act and at 38-0 the home side were running rampant. Gala did find their feet and score two converted tries to haul things back to 38-14, but there was only going to be one winner in this one.
There was still time for two more Hawick tries which came through Dalton Redpath and then Callum Renwick to finish things at 52-14.
Meanwhile, Heriot’s had to come from 20-12 down at half-time to see off Edinburgh Accies. An early Richard Mill penalty and then a try by Callum Black put Accies 8-0 up, and further tries from Cammy Gray – after a good break by young Jack Mann – and Robert Wilson, against two scores for the hosts from Alex Ball and Ali Johnstone, gave the visitors an eight point cushion at the break.
However, the home side came out flying after the break and scored 17 unanswered points – including tries from Andrew Simmers and skipper Iain Wilson – to progress 29-20.
“It was an unacceptable first half performance from us to be honest,” said Heriot’s head coach Phil Smith. “After the half-time break the guys played as we know they can, but we know that we need to start games better than we did this one.”
Watsonians had a comfortable afternoon at Myreside putting in a professional showing to get the better of Marr. They were 38-0 up at half-time and won 62-5.
On a day when Andrew Chalmers made his 100th appearance for the 1st XV, the hosts scored 10 tries, with Murray Scott and Angus Guthrie both grabbing doubles. Lomond MacPherson, Gregor Nelson and Ewan Fox were among the other scorers.
Currie Chieftains were on the road to GHA and Ben Cairns’ men returned to Malleny Park from Braidholm with a 36-0 win under their belts.
The quartet join Ayr, Melrose, Stirling County and Jed-Forest in the quarter-final draw.