Glasgow Hawks 47
ATHOLL INNES @ Mansfield Park
THE hosts drew first blood in this game between the winless Premiership clubs when Andrew Mitchell broke through the defence to score under the posts and Kyle Brunton converted in the opening minutes. But the outcome was decided in the final 12 minutes when Hawick, who had looked the more likely winners, had two men sent to the sin-bin and Hawks cashed in.
“We got the monkey off our backs, but if you take the last 15 minutes out of it, I have to be realistic,” said Hawks coach Fin Gillies. “I am delighted with the result. Yes, I am very happy to get the win. But we can’t just think we have cracked it. Being down to 13 men certainly helps, but I am really impressed with them. They are down to six men in the scrum, and the referee gives a penalty against us.
“We had a few debutants and the bus never showed up. However, we got the result.”
Hawick coach George Graham said:
“Hawks scored their points when we had 13 men, so I thought that the boys did very well and that we might have scored at the other end. We have a few changes from last season and we are where we are.”
It took Hawks only four minutes to level after Mitchell’s score as Paddy Boyer burst through the home defence to touch down and Liam Brimms converted from the right touchline.
Brunton pulled a penalty wide from 30 metres as the Greens tried to regain their ascendancy. But it was Hawks who scored at the other when Grant Stewart stole line-out ball and Lee Jones was on hand for the try, converted by Brimms.
This time Hawick replied immediately as Bruce McNeil was driven over and Brunton added the conversion from in front of the posts to level the scores at 14-14.
Hawks were twice denied following crossing movements. Then intense Hawick pressure, and driving play by the pack, should have brought a score before Hawks gained possession and cleared their lines.
Hawks finally made possession count as Angus Fraser, who was free on the right, scored with four minutes to the break and again Brimms added the goal points.
Hawks added icing to a strong first-half performance when Stewart broke through a weak home defence and Brimms added the conversion for a 28-14 interval lead.
Hawick went all out to close the gap, and after McNeil was twice denied, the ball was moved to the left and Frankie Robson crossed the line in 47 minutes, and Brunton added the conversion. The Greens were now the aggressors as they pinned Hawks back in their own half and Brunton closed the gap to four points with a penalty from 25 metres out.
Hawks could not get their hands on the ball as Hawick dictated the game and Brunton’s penalty closed the gap to just one point as Hawick made full use of their replacements.
But Hawks gained an advantage when Ruaridh Macleod and Dalton Redpath were yellow carded in quick succession with 10 minutes left. Hawks were penalised for pulling down the maul before they made the extra men count with tries from James Couper and Kristian Kay and Brimms added the extra points. Bobby Beattie completed the scoring for Hawks.
Hawick: L. Armstrong; K Young, A Mitchell, D Buckley, F Robson; K Brunton, G Huggan; S Muir, C Renwick, R Macleod, D Suddon, D Redpath, S Graham, B McNeill, D Davison. Subs: M Carryer, A Grieve, S Fairbairn, K Davies, L Ferguson.
Glasgow Hawks: R Beattie; L Masaga, C Symes, M New, L Jones; L Brims, P Boyer; S Findlay, G Stewart, A Kirkland, L Skinner, S Dow, B Flockhart, J McLean. Subs: A Fraser, P Cairncross, J McLean, K Kay, J Couper.
Referee: G Ormiston.
Scorers: Hawick: Tries: Mitchell, McNeill, Robson. Cons: Brunton 3. Pens: Brunton 2.
Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Boyer, Jones, Fraser, Stewart, Couper, Kay, Beattie. Cons: Brims 6.
Scoring sequence (Hawick first): 5-0, 7-0, 7-5, 7-7, 7-12, 7-14, 12-14, 14-14, 14-19, 14-21, 14-26, 14-28 half-time, 19-28, 21-28, 24-28, 27-28, 27-33, 27-35, 27-40, 27-45, 27-47.
Yellow cards: Hawick: Macleod, Redpath.
Man of the Match: Hawks’ Liam Brims made a vital contribution with the boot, kicking six out of seven conversions.
Talking point: The Mansfield faithful will not be happy about the two yellow cards their team received towards the end of the match, but the referee was in a good position with both.