Heartbreak for Hawks
By Hugh Barrow
Three yellow cards for Hawks
Heartbreak for Hawks as "Yellow" Rose edge thriller
Tries Mua 17
Pen Helps 34, 70, 80
Tries Horne 22
Con Steele 22
Pen 59, 74
Glasgow Hawks paid a heavy price for three yellow cards which left them short-handed for 30 minutes in an incredibly tight match at the Greenyards.
The ground had been inspected for frost in the morning and whilst it was firm underfoot the pitch was playable but a bitter cold wind blew across the park making handling difficult. Proceedings began with a minutes silence for sports writer Norman Mair who had briefly played for and then coached Melrose in the 1950s when he taught in the town.
As the match kicked off Hawks were straight into offensive mode as they assaulted the home side and they had a chance to take the lead when jack Steele uncharacteristically missed a relatively straightforward penalty in 3 minutes.
Rose put Hawks under very little pressure until Austin Lockington put a kickable penalty into the corner for a lineout. A series of attacks were resisted strongly by the Hawks defence but these resulted in them conceding a series of penalties in the process and when David Milne received a yellow card in 14 minutes it was for offences accumulated by the team.
Hawks soon found themselves defending a series of scrums under their own posts and the set piece was penalised 4 times in 4 minutes when Rose cleanly struck the ball and put it into the back line.
Fijian winger, Tito Mua was waiting to plunder the opening score in the 17th minute. The conversion, wide on the right, was a step too far for Rose as the advantage stayed at 5 points. (5-0)
Even down to 14 men Hawks still tried to play some sterling rugby and went ahead 5 minutes later. Hawks were awarded a penalty just inside the Melrose half, Paddy Boyer tapped the ball to himself quickly, darting over the 10 metre line. He cut left and evaded a couple of tackles with George Horne and Paul Ramsay in close support. Entering the Rose 22, Boyer deftly kicked the ball over the heads of the Melrose line setting Horne and Ramsay in chase. The ball tippled and held up in the in-goal area and Horne was on hand to smartly touchdown, with Steele adding the extras Hawks were ahead. (5-7)
By the time Milne returned to the field hawks had “won” the sin-binning, 7-5. But they didn’t have much time to add to this advantage when prop, Seven Findlay became the second player to get a yellow card. This time it appeared that Irish referee, Daniel Shaw, didn’t understand the dynamics of the front row penalising Findlay for driving into a scrum in which Hawks’ front three were clearly dominating.
Still, Rose were able to pull ahead when Helps put a penalty in 34 minutes which Hawks conceded for not releasing the tackled player. (8-7)
As half time came into sight Melrose struggled with 8 against 7 in the scrum and were lucky to clear from their own 5 metre line.
The second half saw numbers restored and Hawks had Melrose under pressure early on but with little effect. In 56 minutes it appeared to most that Boyer had touched down for a try to take the lead and the referee seemed in a minority as he awarded a dropout 22.
In 59 minutes Steele gave Hawks the edge as he put over a long penalty but Hawks were to be under pressure pretty quickly when they had a third yellow card. (8-10)
This time Ramsay was sent off for 10 minutes for allegedly kicking out at a Melrose player. There was quite a bit of discussion between the referee and his assistant before Hawks went down to 4 again. Even this didn’t affect Hawks determination and Boyer was impeded taking a tap penalty, although the referee didn’t see this as requiring a yellow, he awarded a penalty 40 metres out which unfortunately Steele failed to put over.
Hawks defence had been remarked on by Melrose coach John Dalziel before the match and it had been put under test. It was not only effective but was smart as well. At one stage centre Brendan McGroarty faced a 4 on 1 overlap and in a tremendous piece of heads up defence. As he followed the ball from player to player he closed off the space and throttled the move. Eventually Rose exploited the man advantage and Helps helped himself to a further penalty giving the home team a one point lead with 10 minutes to go. (11-10)
The tussle was still tight and Hawks were quickly up on the Borderers half in 74 minutes Steele restored the Glasgow sides lead and thoughts turned to winning the ball and retaining it. (11-13)
Ait was not to be however and heartbreak followed as the Melrose side patiently worked their way into Hawks 22 as the inevitable happened and Hawks conceded a penalty which helps effortlessly put over for the narrowest of wins. (14-13)
Hawks ended the match in the home 22 but in truth there was too little time to work any “magic” and a final penalty for holding on saw the last hope vanish.