Hawks into next round
By Hugh Barrow
Report from Ally Graham
Saturday 19th November 2016
BT National Cup
Glasgow Hawks 48 Highland RFC 14
Hawks entertained Highland the leading side in the BT National League Division 3 at a dreich and wet Old Anniesland this afternoon eventually running out comfortable winners by 7 tries to 2 in an entertaining game.
During the three week gap in the league season due to the autumn internationals the Hawks coaching team took the opportunity to field a number of young players who had been putting in good performances in the 2nd XV during the autumn period. It was also a good chance to field players who had recovered from injury or missing for a few seasons.
On the right wing Peter Steele made his first appearance for the 1st XV. Callum Harrison ex Greenock Wanderers, a stand off, also made a first appearance with regular stand off Josh Henderson moving out to the centre to replace Bobby Beattie who was away on Scotland 7’s duties.
In the pack Kiran McDonald and Steven Leckie were back from injury playing in the second row and openside respectively. Ross Miller, who has been working in Australia for two years made a welcome return after a two year absence.
On the bench there were another 2 newcomers. Mark New formerly Strathallan centre and Kevin McCann a prop forward from Hamilton. Both players came on as replacements in the second half.
It has to be said that despite all the changes the Hawks free style attacking rugby of this season was not adversely affected and a number of these players will be competing for a starting 1st XV side before the season is over. Hawks seem to have a happy knack of unearthing young players with the skills and pace to challenge more regular players for their position.
The first 40 minutes were totally dominated by Hawks, who in the difficult conditions produced a terrific display of handling and pace to give them a handy 36-0 lead at the interval. 5 tries flowed off the conveyor belt during this period 4 by forwards and only 1 by the backs.
The first try took only 5 minutes, scored by Ross Miller, the first of an eventual hat trick. Not bad from a man just returning to the fray after such a long non rugby playing lay off. Josh Henderson converted and added a penalty 11 minutes later for a 10-0 lead. In between Highland hit the post with a penalty that Hawks scrambled clear
In the 17th minute Kerr Gossman scorched down the right wing chasing a kick from a turnover. His opposite number probably only felt the breeze as Kerr passed him, controlled the bouncing ball with his feet and got the touchdown. After that he was closely marked by the Highland defence and didn’t get another opportunity to demonstrate his skills. Josh Henderson landed a beautiful conversion from the touchline. 17-0
In the 20th minute Ross Miller was well placed to finish off a multiple passing movement. With an unconverted try 22-0
In the 28th minute Garry Strain touched down after a bout of handling by the forwards. Josh Henderson converted to bring the score up to29-0 in Hawks favour.
Sadly Steven Leckie had to leave the field with an injury to be replaced by Tommy Spinks. No sooner had he arrived that on the stroke of half time he dived over for the 5th try again converted by Josh Henderson 36-0
The general opinion of the Hawks pundits in the stand was that Hawks forwards and backs had handled well in the rainy conditions and that difference in pace and fitness had told on a gutsy Highland. They expected much of the same in the second half.
As it turned out they were disappointed but not in first 20 minutes. Hawks started as they had finished in the first half and scored 2 more converted tries, the first by Gary Strain, his second, and the final try by Ross Miller, his third. Josh Henderson converted the first and Jack Steele the last.
By this stage Hawks had emptied their bench and with some players out of their usual positions their opponents gained in confidence. Hawks tried to take them on up front and this suited them perfectly. Their big pack was rejuvenated and started to take the play into Hawks half. 6 minutes from the end they were rewarded with a well deserved try for not giving in when the chips were down.
After a series of drives at the Hawks line centre Rory Cross touched down for a converted try.
Finally in the last move of the game a melee on the Hawks line ended up over the line and it looked in the gloom that the Highland No.8, much to the delight of the vociferous Highland support, was the scorer.
The game was played in a good spirit and represented everything that is good in Club ruby. Many thanks to the officials for the effective way that they handled the game throughout.
Hawks now await the quarter final draw .
Hawks next game is on Saturday 3rd December when Stirling County are the visitors to Old Anniesland