Scottish Cup semi-final: late flourish puts gloss on Hawick win over Glasgow Hawks

Borderers will face Marr in Murrayfield showcase event on 6th May

Nicky Little crosses for Hawick against Glasgow Hawks. Image: Paul Phelan
Nicky Little crosses for Hawick against Glasgow Hawks. Image: Paul Phelan

Glasgow Hawks 16

Hawick 32

IAIN MORRISON @ Hughenden

THE scoreboard suggests that this was a regulation win for the league champions but instead it was a nervy encounter with nothing separating the two sides until the final ten minutes. The lead changed hands six times in an absorbing contest played out in front of a decent crowd in near perfect conditions.

Hawks were trailing by 16-17 as the match entered the final knockings, when the visitors finally found their stride and the ‘home’ team (the game was played at Hughenden) finally ran out of steam. Hawick scored two tries, converted one of them and added a penalty to make the final score look a lot more comfortable than the match had been.

Those tries were scored by Matt Carryer and Ethan Riley, the extras came from the boot of fullback Kirk Ford and they combined to make the final score a little lopsided.


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“The game was a lot tighter than the score might have you believe,”  said Hawks’ coach Andy Hill, contemplating what might have been.

“We were very physical at the start of the season and we produced that physicality again this afternoon which was nice to see but, as we said afterwards, we were killed by our line-out misfiring and also by the number of turnovers we gave at the breakdown.

“Hawick are probably the best team of jacklers in the league and we paid the price today. We didn’t deal with that aspect today and Hawick were just that little bit more clinical than us.”

Playing with the slope, Hawks laid their stall out, clattering into the Hawick players from the kick-off and giving zero respect to the team that remains unbeaten thus far this season.

They were undone by that line-out, I counted perhaps six lost throughout the game, and the penalty count at the breakdown, where both teams were regularly pinged by a referee who was pretty quick on the whistle but consistently so.

Three times Hawick’s big men flexed their muscles and drove Hawks over from a line-out maul, once in the first half to open their account and twice more in the second 40. This one aspect of the game had a huge bearing on the final result.

Hawks fly-half Gavin Cruickshanks kicked to the corners pretty well and his side milked an early penalty thanks to the boot of winger Andy McLean.

The game was played at a blistering pace throughout and Hawick may have been a little surprised by the intensity that their hosts brought to the contact area. Certainly, they seemed a little out of sorts and midway through the first half coach Matty Douglas was already asking his players to calm their cheese.

Hawick weathered the early storm and struck an early blow themselves when hooker Fraser Renwick was the last man up after a five-metre line-out and a highly effective driving maul.

Despite having a very useful maul themselves Hawks went for posts twice in the opening 30 minutes when they might have been better advised to back their big men. McLean’s second penalty gave them a 6-5 lead.

Just when it looked like we may have a low scoring game the crowd was granted two tries in the space of as many minutes. The first went to Hawick centre Andrew Mitchell who picked a superb out-to-in line to go over under the Hawks’ posts, ensuring Ford couldn’t miss the conversion.

Moments later, Hawks’ live-wire scrum-half, Eric Davey, whowas a threat throughout, bounced off one attacker on a blindside snipe before racing towards the Hawick line and feeding his right winger Ryan Flett for one of the softer scores Hawick have conceded this season.

With half-time approaching there was still time for two scoring opportunities, both of which went west. First up Hawks’ full-back Euan Muirhead made a searing break to sew panic in the green ranks and then Hawick centre Ethan Reilly broke from deep and had the exact same effect on Hawks defence. Both moves broke down thanks to breakdown penalties; there was plenty to go around.

 

Trailing by a point, it was important that Hawks score first in the second half and they managed exactly that thanks to another clever move by Davey.

A training ground ploy saw the little scrummy take a line-out at the front, one of the few that Hawks secured, and race into the Hawick half. When the ball was moved quickly, James Pinkerton’s long miss-pass fell perfectly for winger McLean to score in the left corner.

McLean was unable to convert his own try leaving Hawks leading the league champions by 16-12, but they didn’t have long to bask in the glory. The second of Hawick’s three maul tries arrived two minutes later and went to the veteran prop Nicky Little who trundled over from short range around the 54 minute mark.

Hawick now had a slender one point lead that they only extended in that final ten minutes with a flurry of scores.

“That was a really tough game,” said Hawick’s Matty Douglas after the final whistle. “All credit to Hawks who played really well and made life difficult for us.

“I think that we were second best for maybe 60 to 65 minutes of that game but we came good when we needed to and that is what has given us our success this season.

“It’s difficult because we have been off for three weeks and we are coming off the incredible high of winning the league and we are asking players to refocus all over again and that isn’t easy.

“But we have a final at Murrayfield to look forward to and we will be rightly motivated by that and the possibility to claim the first (league and cup) double since I don’t know when!?”

 

Teams –

Glasgow Hawks: E Muirhead; R Flett, J Pinkerton, S Graham, A McLean; G Cruickshanks, E Davey; M Downer, P Cairncross, G Strain, S Leckey, R Burke, V Carlsson, T Wright, S Hastings. Subs used: T McTeir, K Shanahan, M Crumlish, J Porter, C Harrison, C Ferrie, H Mitchell.

Hawick: K Ford; L Ferguson, A Mitchell, E Reilly, R McKean; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir, F Renwick, N Little, D Redpath, S Fairbairn, S Frizzel, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs used: M Carryer, R MacLeod, H Donaldson, M Brogan, D Lightfoot, G Huggan, C Welsh.

Referee: Fergus Hollins.

 

Scorers –

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Flett, McLean; Pen: McLean 2.

Hawick: Tries: Renwick, Mitchell, Little, Carryer, Riley; Cons: Ford 2; Pen: Ford.

Sequence of scoring (Hawks first): 3-0; 3-5; 6-5; 6-10; 6-12; 11-12 (h-t) 16-12; 16-17; 16-22; 16-24; 16-27; 16-32.

 

Man-of-the-Match: Hawks hooker Paul Cairncross was brilliant around the field but a little less assured at the sidelines. The entire Hawick front-row were hugely impressive throughout and the front-five won this one with three maul tries but the best player on the field was Hawks scrum-half Eric Davey who had a big hand in both of his team’s tries and was equally impressive in defence.

Talking points: It is natural for club colleagues to get a little emotional after the last game of the season but this could be the last game ever for Hawks’ stalwart Gary Strain. The tough tighthead has been at the club since 2007, excepting a few years in France and Newcastle Falcons, and he has lost count of the number of games he has played for Hawks. He is the epitome of loyalty, endeavour and excellence and it was little wonder that each of his team-mates looked him out and offered him a little hug after the final ever whistle.  One of his colleagues did suggest that he might be tempted to go for one more year but seems a little unlikely as Strain became a father only last Monday.


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About Iain Morrison 130 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.

19 Comments

  1. Now not sure I will make the final as it is a 6pm kick off. Was going to take my grand kids but it be to late fot them. Be 10pm before any spectator, Marr or Hawick gets home. The SRU have yet again showen they are a laughing stock with there schedule. It’s just a money spinner for them, not the participating clubs. If I go and it’s now in doubt then I will get there at 5.55 and not put a penny into
    SRU Coffers. Hope many will do likewise.

  2. Why would a hawick born and bread what to leave such a great club like Hawick my son plays for Hawick and all he wanted to do was pull that famous green Jersey on from the age of 8years old when he started to play rugby for his primary school and he has done that now for over 212 games he has had offers from lots of different clubs but as he said to me the other week he would not of felt the pride that he did when lifting the league cup with his mates and his beloved Town

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  3. It is worthy of note that no Hawick contributor uses an anonymous pseudonym.
    Not cocky, no hiding, just honest.
    Carrying a chip successfully to every ground in the land…so far.
    Maybe we will not win the cup,maybe we will, who knows, certainty that club rugby will be reported as a ps to S6 by murrayfield whatever the result.

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    • How do you know, wee Mr B – do you process all the effluent from the “enclosed hamlet”?

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    • The chip is getting bigger with every post 😊. Given Hawicks squads strength and experience , they should be winning both league and cup , there are many players in that team that could and should be challenging themselves at a higher level of rugby however appear to be satisfied to be the big fish in a small pond and allow supporters to take potshots at Super 6 and everybody else they come across. At least the players involved in the Super 6 are brave enough to challenge themselves at a higher level and before the inevitable comm comes back about S6 not being a higher level , that would now be viewed as nonsense as at least 6 of the current Super 6 clubs this season would put Hawick to the sword …
      I don’t mind Hawick winning but I do not like the rubbish that regularly comes with it with the petty posts of the “closed minds” that plague our once great game and that lack dignity even in winning ..

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      • Why would a hawick born and bread what to leave such a great club like Hawick my son plays for Hawick and all he wanted to do was pull that famous green Jersey on from the age of 8years old when he started to play rugby for his primary school and he has done that now for over 212 games he has had offers from lots of different clubs but as he said to me the other week he would not of felt the pride that he did when lifting the league cup with his mates and his beloved Town

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  4. Enjoyed a splendid match in ideal conditions at Hughenden, where Hawick pushed hard for victory at the end…..well done to all the players. Surely these are the best conditions for open, attractive rugby at this time of year.

    • Spot on, Andy. Full marks to both sides, and good luck to Hawick in the final. An entertaining, enjoyable contest in the sunshine at Hughenden yesterday.

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  5. A superb tight contest displaying all that is good with Scottish club rugby. It was almost as exciting as the 2002 cup final between these two teams. Hawks played well putting Hawick under pressure from the start and with the lead changing hands right up till the last quarter it was nail biting.
    It’s sad there is no press coverage of this Cup competition with the SRU probably at fault for not using their press dept to get the message out on TV and in print that real rugby is still being played around the country.
    Having watched a bit on Alba of the Watsonians v Edinburgh A game on Friday night one has to wonder what Hawks, Marr and Hawick could do against some of these Stupid 6 outfits? It would indeed be interesting.
    Can’t wait for the final on May 6th to see another club rugby showpiece with Herr Dodson there to present the trophy to the victors.

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    • @Stewart Bruce. Not 100% sure how the forwards compare, but without doubt the backs of several Premiership sides are stronger than anything on show in Super 6.

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  6. Think Mr Morrison, missing the point today. Hawick were not great by any means but still managed to win. That tells it own story. You don’t go undefeated all season for nothing. He should know as he has been of the receiving end of Hawick in the past. Still great for all involved at hawick for yet again setting standards that will be hard to beat. Go Hawick go. And good luck to all Hawick boys playing tomorrow at Scotstoun for Edinburgh.

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  7. Well done, Hawick. Over the season they have stuck to the task even when the game seemed to have turned against them. This has been a relatively small squad of mostly local players, a cohesive squad.

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    • Ooft , the big Hawick chip on the shoulder is never slow to appear , particularly if praise is not heaped on this Hawick squad. It’s a well balanced article and some of the comments on here from Hawick worthy’s are just nonsense…

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      • Lose with dignity and win with even more dignity is a lesson that some supporters could well do with learning.

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  8. Talkin point actually is how this incredible squad just keep finding.
    Another record breaking defence of the prestigous McLaren shield on the road, another match undefeated, the youngest head coach , the best defence, the best aussie, the almost exclusively home grown talent, these lads simply refuse to lose.
    Hawks played very well for 60 minutes, and well done to their long servant, but mr morrison please wake up to the talking point of the day, the month and the season, Hawick do not accept being 2nd best.

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    • In reply to Matty Douglas coach of Hawick. The last league and Cup double was by Ayr RFC in 1018/19 and in fact until today were the holders of the Scottish Cup. Ayr had in fact the League trophy, the Scottish Cup and the Fosroc Super6 in the trophy cabinet at Millbrae.

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      • I think Marty was referring to the last time Hawick did the double but he will be pleased to relieve Ayr of taking care of the trophies after them having them for more than 1000 years!

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      • I think Matty was referring to the last time Hawick did the double but he will be pleased to relieve Ayr of taking care of the trophies after them having them for more than 1000 years!

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