Heartbreak at death
By Hugh Barrow
Next week is a cup final
Narrow defeat means Hawks season goes down to the wire in final match with Stirling
Currie 15 Glasgow Hawks 10
Tries Weston 40, Smith 43, 80
Tries: Gillies 20, Spinks 52
Hawks had to settle for a solitary losing bonus point as they saw their hopes of taking a draw away from Malleny Park disappear following a last minute try by Currie.
But that last gasp score brought elation to the Balerno support as they qualified for the inaugural Premiership play-offs and that score lined up a derby match with Heriots at Goldenacre next Saturday.
For Hawks, they now have a must win tie against Stirling County at Old Anniesland in order to avoid a play-off against GHA to stay in next season’s Premiership.
Condition across Scotland meant that the wind would spoil any attempt to play attractive rugby, but whilst it wasn’t pretty to watch it was close and compelling as a spectacle.
Hawks had the chance to go ahead in the 2nd minute with a penalty in the 22 but the wind wasn’t going to allow any proper goal-kicking.
Playing in to the wind, Currie took a normally kickable penalty as a “tap and go” deep in the Hawks 22. However, Hawks defence was as strong as it has been all season and they cleared their lines after a sustained period of Currie pressure. Jack Steele put a long penalty from his own 22 deep into the Currie 22 aided by a following wind.
It was now Hawks who had Currie under the cosh a sustained period of Glasgow pressure saw Currie concede a penalty for not rolling away after a desperate tackle.
The penalty was kicked to touch for the lineout. With Andrew Davidson catching Jack Macfarlane’s throw. The pack rallied around and mauled the ball towards Curries line. As the maul crossed the line, Finlay Gillies went down for the score. The conversion, as all goal kicks for both sides were, was missed and Hawks had secured the lead. (0-5)
Currie immediately went on the offensive from the kick off. More than many sides this season they tried to take on Hawks up front, but whilst they retained ball and recycled well they struggled to turn their possession into points.
Just before half-time Hawks conceded a penalty which Currie’s James Semple put into touch. It was now the hosts turn to catch and drive, executing a very good maul allowing captain, Ross Weston, to tie the scores. (5-5)
The second half saw Currie coming out fired up from their late score. A period of sustained pressure saw the Currie backline break out from just outside the visitor’s 22. The ball moved with pace and a mis-pass opened Currie’s right wing, Ruaridh Smith, in space allowing him to finish for the second try wide on the right. (10-5)
In the tight Hawks’ defence looked impregnable, out wider Smith and Chris Logan looked dangerous for Currie. The visiting pack to the ball into the Currie half the hard way making hard slow yards. A series of desperate Currie efforts saw them being warned for their infringing and it came as no surprise when home centre, Robbie Nelson, took a yellow card in the 51st minute.
Hawks opted for the scrum, instead of the penalty and the pack scrummaged well, setting a platform for Tommy Spinks to pick up and run in for the tying try. (10-10)
The two sides thundered and roared but with the clock passing the 80 minute mark it look as if the sides had beaten themselves into a low scoring draw. But as Currie looked to have blown their play-off chance a Hawks’ player held on too long in the tackle giving Semple the chance to win the tie with a penalty right in front of the posts.
The burghers from Balerno were elated but they almost had their hopes dash as the stand-off’s attempt hit the left upright and bounced back into the field of play. Semple was the first to react, taking the ball and darting a glance to his right where he put a superb pass to Smith who went over for the winning try. Malleny Park went wild and Currie were in the play-off.
By contrast, Hawks saw a point taken from them making next week’s match against County almost a “cup final”. (15-10)