Hawks marched into the 3rd Round draw at a freezing Netherdale with a heart warming performance. The Gala support need to be congratulated at spending three hours clearing most of the snow off a pitch that was in remarkable underneath. Although there was still a patch of snow right up the centre of the field it was certainly playable.
With at least 5 regulars away on Scotland under 20 and Glasgow Warriors duty it gave an opportunity for others to come in and stake a claim for inclusion in future fixtures. Andrew Redmayne, Stephen Leckie and Fin Gillies were back in the pack, Pierre Mounal was at full back and Patrick Kelly played his first game at Stand Off. They all played there part in a highly important victory.
The first 15 minutes of the first half and the final quarter of the second half were the periods dominated by Hawks and when all their points were scored.
Playing with a stiff icy wind at their backs Hawks took the game to Gala and were 6-0 up thanks to a penalty and a smartly taken drop goal from the boot of Pierre Mounal. After that Gala had the bulk of the play and the ball but Hawks defence was rock solid with the only disappointing part being the number of penalties conceded including one in front of the posts converted by their Stand off David O’Hagan.
6-3 to Hawks at half time seemed about right.
The second half started as the first had ended with Gala in the ascendancy but unable to break the Hawks defence despite Hawks being one man down thanks to a yellow card awarded against Any Hill for illegally halting a tap penalty too soon and a number of spilled passes caused by frozen hands and an icy ball.
Into the last 20 minutes and all changed. The Hawks forwards stepped a gear or perhaps two gears and ball was being won more easily from rucks, scrums, mauls and lineouts. Gala were now giving away the penalties and had their number 8, Euan Dodds, yellow carded for the same offence as
Andy Hill. From then on till the end Gala were under severe pressure and the dam was finally breached when the Hacks pack drove over the line and replacement prop Brendan Cullinane got the touchdown. Gala 3 Hawks 11
With 15 minutes to go Gala had to score twice and this never seemed likely.
To crown their performance, with 2 or 3 minutes remaining, Hawks Bobby Beattie, using his remarkable pace, chased a long kick ahead that had conveniently stopped just over the goal line, dived between two defenders to get the touch down. Patrick Kelly converted from the touchline into the wind to bring down the final curtain.
Hawks have started to find winning ways again and hopefully can keep it going for the rest of the season.
Quilter Kids First Champions winner – March: Minehead Barbarians RFC