COLIN RENTON @ BT Murrayfield
HAWICK confirmed their status as the country’s dominant club team when they shrugged aside a shaky first half performance to see off a gutsy Marr outfit and complete the league and cup double. The second half showing was in complete contrast to the opening period, and Greens’ coach Matty Douglas credited Marr for that.
“They had to do something a bit different, and they did. They kicked a lot of ball to us in the first half and, if I’m honest, it was a poor first half for us. We had a lot of individual errors and that’s not like us. But the last ten minutes we started to see the Hawick we’ve been all season,” he said.
Of the second half transformation, he added: “We felt we hadn’t dealt a blow and we were only three points down. What I said at half time certainly helped and second half was outstanding – character, structure, defensively, everything. I can’t praise them enough.”
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In the Marr camp, Kenny Diffenthal accepted that his men had paid the price for a disappointing start to the second period.
“If you make errors you’re going to get punished, especially against a team like Hawick,” he said. “First half, we did what we wanted to do and we went in reasonably happy. A couple of errors in the second half, one after the other and that was us, chasing it from there.
“When you start to chase the game that’s when you make more errors and that’s when they started to put a squeeze on the game. But I’m proud of the boys, they tried right to the end and everybody got a chance to run out at Murrayfield, so I’m reasonably happy but disappointed.”
The match opened at a ferocious pace. A second minute punch up elicited a word of warning for the captains but failed to quell the frantic nature of the contest, with errors on both sides but neither team able to gain the upper hand.
The Ayrshiremen were first to visit opposition territory, with Ben Johnston picking up at the base of a scrum and making the incursion. Hawick dealt comfortably with the initial move, but offended at the next breakdown and Colin Sturgeon steered the penalty kick between the sticks to open the scoring.
The action was confined to the Hawick half, and the Borderers were struggling to contain the early exuberance of their rivals. Sturgeon doubled the lead when he thumped over a long-range penalty in 16 minutes as the momentum remained firmly with Marr.
There were 25 minutes on the clock before Hawick mounted an attack of any note. A hack ahead caused some uncertainty in the Marr defence, but a fumble as the ball was recycled meant the move came to nothing.
The next Hawick attack also ended with a knock-on, but an offence by Marr at the ensuing scrum gave Kirk Ford a chance a straightforward opportunity to claim points, and he duly stroked over the kick.
There was now more of a spring in Hawick’s step and the back-row trio of Stuart Graham, Calum Renwick and Jae Linton all had a go with ball in hand. And the final play of the half saw the Borderers move the ball along the line for the first time. However, Ronan McKean was hustled into touch 15 metres from the line and the period ended with Marr three points ahead.
McKean may have been foiled on that occasion but he was quick to pounce on the next opportunity that came his way. Jake Jacobsen failed to control a Kyle Brunton kick and the big winger hacked the ball ahead then showed his pace to win the race to the line. Ford was on target with the conversion.
And the Hawick full-back also added the extras a couple of minutes later after the Borderers grabbed a second try. This timeGrahamcharged down an attempted clearance inside the Marr 22 and Fraser Renwick gathered the loose ball before scampering in between the sticks.
The momentum had swung and now it was Marr who were struggling to contain the green tide. Ford nudged Hawick further ahead when he banged over a penalty, then claimed five more points when he capped a flowing Hawick move by touching down in the corner.
Marr seized a lifeline with 15 minutes to play when Conor Bickerstaff was rewarded for his persistence as he ploughed through one tackle then bounced off another before stretching over the whitewash. Sturgeon’s conversion ensured there was still life in the game.
Ford booted another penalty to leave Marr needing two scores and he was on target with another effort to kill off any lingering hopes. And the Borders contingent in the stands had already kicked off their celebrations before the referee blew his final whistle.
Marr: C Inglis; J Jacobsen, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff©, S Bickerstaff; C Sturgeon©, G Baird; G Reid, B Jardine, A Acton, D Andrew, H Murray, F Grant, C Young, B Johnston. Subs: B Nicholl, C Miller, A Johnston, M Blair, N Calder, J Scott, G Beckwith.
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 Graham, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: M Carryer, R Macleod, M Brogan, H Donaldson, D Lightfoot, G Huggan, C Welsh.
Referee: David Young
Marr: Try: C Bickerstaff; Con: Sturgeon; Pens: Sturgeon 2.
Hawick: Tries: McKean, Renwick, Ford; Cons: Ford 2; Pens: Ford 3.
Scoring sequence (Marr first): 3-0; 6-0; 6-3 (h-t) 6-8; 6-10; 6-15; 6-17; 6-20; 6-25; 11-25; 13-25; 13-28; 13-31.
Man-of-the-Match: Hawick’s second half transformation threw up numerous contenders, with Shawn Muir, Stuart Graham and Kirk Ford all in the mix. However, not for the first time this season, Jae Linton earned the nod for a massive contribution.
Talking point: The sizeable and vociferous support for both teams proves that the passion for rugby at this level still burns bright and confirms the importance of a vibrant club scene for the long-term health of the game.
Stewartry took the honours in the Shield competition when they emerged as 22-17 victors over East Kilbride in a keenly contested affair.
Fraser Forsyth and Michael Yates had two tries apiece for the Castle Douglas side, while Evan Martin and Matthew Smith both dotted down for East Kilbride as Stewartry reached the break with a 17-8 lead and held off a gutsy second half effort by their opponents to land the silverware.
Kinloss Eagles turned on the style to post a 69-32 win over Panmure in the Bowl. Kinloss led 34-15 at the break after Isikeli Railoa and Pita Moku had two tries apiece and Tyla Turner also scored, while Lewis Green kicked the other points. Marcus Van Der Esch and Chris Cruickshank each claimed a try for Panmure and Ethan Snitch added the rest of the points with the boot.
Moku completed his hat-trick shortly after the restart and, despite a red card for Josaia Vuetimacuata, Kinloss kicked on to complete the job. Moku took his personal haul to five tries and Waisea Qase bagged two, while the Broughty Ferry men added further scores through Gordon Melville and Thomas Jarron.
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Been watching Hawick games week in week out this year and this team has a passion and a mentality that has been unmatched this year. That showed on Saturday evening. This by all accounts is down to “assistant” coach Hogg who brings the brains and the players have respect for him and his game plans more than the head coach. Some of these players may go this summer so it’s a necessity they keep Hogg.
Hawick showed there class in the 2nd half. Congratulations to all connected with the playing side medics coaches. Well deserved and history making. Be a long time, before we witness the likes again. SRU, should take note of the club game, in Scotland, and give it the respect it deserves. Marr played there part and my, commiserations to them. Well done Hawick.
Great second half performance from Hawick been by far the dominant team this season! Marr played there part in this
The difference for Hawick was key players Linton, Ford and Muir , where does muir rank now in the great Hawick players he done everything serious rumours in Hawick he will retire after this season or does he move on to super 6 and give the higher level a shot? Linton will surely move on this summer also interesting times ahead
Why would Shawn retire if you listened to his interview after the Scottish Cup win he said he loved playing with his mates they are just a band of brothers .or move to super 6 and have 30 to 50 people watching when he plays for the mighty Green machine with there Great followers home or away . BEST CLUB IN SCOTLAND
Well done to Hawick RFC on all they have achieved this season. A fine example to all amateur rugby clubs of mixing senior experienced heads with youthful nourished talent. Most importantly with the exception of 1, all Hawick boys playing for their town.
Also a youthful coaching setup in Douglas and Hogg setting the standards. Coming from another town in the borders, I personally am jealous of this setup and would wish for nothing more than the same dedication at my hometown club. I do believe this team needs to stick together because critics will say they’re only the real deal if they back it up next season by defending both titles.
I do believe that if they do so, they should disband the southern knights and form a semi pro Hawick setup… the town is more passionate about the sport.
From someone who has had rivalry with the rugby club for many years…. I salute Hawick RFC for the successful season they have had well done again!
Or do away with one Edinburgh Club and give it to Hawick
I don’t know how to reply to GRob, I’m from Hawick and watched most of these lads come through the school and age group rugby. We were always taught to play the conditions and what is opposite you. In the first half that is what Hawick did, Marr played well, contained Hawick.
I agrée the first try was 50/50 at best, the third was definitely a try. I watch a lot of my pals play and win for Hawick in the first Scottish Cup, yesterday it was the turn of some of their kids. Well played, well done to all who coach and play at any age group in the Hawick system. Something works…..,
As a spectacle , the first half was very poor , the incessant poor tactical kicking being prioritised over any sort of aspiration to entertaining rugby. This was not entertainment…
Luckily after the break it appears that Hawick decided to play with some ambition and keep ball in hand which in turn produced a better spectacle. Marr eventually also twigged that keeping ball in hand may be the better option but by this time the game was pretty much over for them.
Two of Hawick’s scores , the first in particular, were dubious at best , as a neutral observer – how the TJ / red could suggest that the McKean grounded the ball down is beyond me and Ford’s try was just as dubious.
Hawick deserved to win simply for being first to change tactics and actually attempt to play some rugby but the fact that spectators had to wait over 40 mins for this to happen is very disappointing.
The over reliance on a kicking game is something that is becoming all too common and makes for a disappointing watch. Kicking undoubtedly has its place but not the poor quality technical and tactical rubbish we see regularly at this level. I’ve watch club games all year and seen this tactical kicking option used incessantly at the expense of teams playing with ambition and the continuation of this dire tactic will simply turn spectators away.
Is the level of ambition simply to kick and hope the opposition makes mistakes – the kick tennis option is so tedious.
Personally I would rather see teams play with ambition and bravery and lose rather than watch another 40 minutes of the sterile display we saw in the first half yesterday.
I realise that the majority of coaches priority is simply to win the game but I do with the rule makers would consider measures to reduce pointless and poor quality kicking as a tactic.
Compare that to the exciting brand of rugby you get from the majority of Super Series teams (except the self-destructing borders side).
Don’t feed the troll
Watch most pro games if you want to know what boring means .
Well done Hawick .
Marr had no chance when Drums & Fifes started playing
Great atmosphere from all who attended
Get a life and get out your room more .
There’s more to life than criticizing anybody enjoying there’s .
Well done Hawick .
Commiserations to Marr .
Great memories for both teams to play at Murrayfield in front of your many supporters
Always best to ignore the Angry troll. He offers nothing.
Congratulations Hawick, i’m a dissapointed Marr fan as I thought we had you.
It was Stuart Graham with the chargedown for the 2nd try
Congratulations to everyone involved at Hawick. A well deserved double for a team that have been head & shoulders above the rest