Glasgow Hawks 24
LEWIS STUART @ Balgray
GLASGOW HAWKS coach Finlay Gillies has pleaded with the Scottish Rugby authorities to clarify whether they plan to reintroduce relegation from the Tennent’s Premiership. Talking minutes after seeing his young side battle back from 45-0 down to at claim a scoring bonus point, he said it was unfair on sides like his to be kept in the dark.
“It changes the goalposts quite considerably [if relegation is brought back],” he said. “We need to figure out what is going on; we need some hard facts. Is relegation back on? Is promotion back on? What can we do?
“We don’t want to be in that play-off again. So we need to be as good as we can be but won’t give up our principles as a club. We have to develop players, there is a bigger picture at play.
“We don’t want to be relegated but we are not going to act to the detriment of young players. Look at guys like Ross Thompson, who is already looking an established player and he is only 19. That is because we took the time to invest in these kids and we are not going to change that just because relegation might be back hanging over us.”
In the game he had just seen, Murray Godsman had been one of the better players on the park even though he was making his debut at 18 Struan Dow has also been showing up well and that is where Gillies sees the future of the club.
It was hard for him with with his team now third from bottom after giving up a cricket score for the second week running as Watsonians got everything they needed from the match to keep pace with the league leaders, before relaxing too much in the final quarter.
“For 60 minutes we were in control but then started to show a bit of inaccuracy,” commented Stevie Lawrie, the Watsonians coach. “Disappointed to give away four scores at the end but to come to Balgray and come away with five points must make you happy.”
It was as much as anything else a lesson in game management with Watsonians showing they knew how to use the wind while Hawks not only struggled to find spaces in the visiting defence but played far too much of the game in their own half, even when they had the breeze behind them.
They started brightly enough, building long phases of play in the opening few minutes but once Watsons got their noses in front, with a penalty from Lee Millar, there was only one team in it, and by half-time the Edinburgh side were 31 points to the good.
Dominating the line-out through Jamie Hodgson and some wayward work from the home side helped, but it was really the running power of the back-row and centres that made the difference.
Rory Hutton, the captain, got the first after Connor Boyle, Ross Graham and James Miller had made most of the running to make it a reasonably straightforward run in for the centre.
The next try came from a line0out drive with prop Jack Stanley getting the ball down. Then the big runners got back in on the act with Boyle doing all the hard work for DJ Innes, the inside centre, to finish off.
Millar makes his mark
By now it was something of a procession, helped my a masterclass in kicking from Millar who converted all the first half scores, drilling the ball low and accurately into a tricky wind. Josh Rowland claimed the four-try bonus point – again a walk-in after the defence had been torn apart on the opposite side of the field and Boyle had been stopped from grounding the ball.
Rowland almost got his second straight from the restart but had brushed the touchline with his foot as he was running for the line. Boyle did go over for two tries in quick succession as the Edinburgh side ruthlessly built the score, helped by a high-tackle sin-bin for Andrew Kirkland, the Hawks lock.
Back to 15 men, though, Hawks suddenly started to find holes and their dangerous runners in the back three exploited them with Godsman and Bobby Beattie particularly prominent.
Gary Adams, the Hawks No8, did it the old-fashioned way from a line-out drive, before Godsman stepped his way through the defence for try number two, Beattie went over from a Jack McLean break, and then the Hawks full-back scored himself by getting on the end of a clever chip from Thompson, which secured a losing bonus point – which might yet prove to be invaluable in the final reckoning.
Glasgow Hawks: R Beattie; J Couper, C Symes, M New, M Godsman; L Brims, K Barreto; G Strain, P Cairncross, L Skinner, A Kirkland, F Hastie, S Dow, G Wilson, G Adams. Subs: P Henderson, D York, J McLean, P Boyer, R Thompson.
Watsonians: J Rowland; A Guthrie, R Hutton, DJ Innes, P Cunningham; L Millar, N Fowles; G Jackson, F Renwick, J Stanley, J Hodgson, J Miller, R Graham, C Boyle, M Fedo. Subs: D Ferguson, G Nelson, A O’Neil, M Scott, E Fox.
Referee: L Linton
Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Adams, Godsman, Beattie 2; Cons: Thompson 2.
Watsonians: Tries: Hutton, Stanley, Innes, Rowland, Boyle 2, Nelson; Cons: Millar 6; Pen: Millar.
Scoring sequence (Glasgow Hawks first): 0-3, 0-10, 0-17, 0-24, 0-31 (h-t), 0-38, 0-45, 5-45, 10-45, 10-50, 17-50, 24-50.
Yellow cards –
Glasgow Hawks: Kirkland
Man-of-the-Match: There was not shortage of threats from Wastonians and Connor Boyle always seemed to be at the centre of things.
Talking point: Both sides had plenty of attacking potential but will hope to defend better, especially so in the case of Hawks, with relegation uncertainty adding to their problems.