Close but no cigar
By Hugh Barrow
One poin loss
Nip and tuck contest decided by better decision making.
Hawick 23 Glasgow Hawks 22
Tries: Gibson 3, Goodfellow 35, Weir 68
Con: Armstrong 35
Pen: Armstrong 48. 58
Tries: Boyer 14, Gillies 71
Pen: Hunter 8, 30, 40, 54
It has been a week of ”so near, but yet so far” in rugby. Last weekend saw Scotland’s elimination from the World Cup by the narrowest of margins and then, in the wan light of Hawks defeat at Mansfield Park, South Africa lost by a small margin in the semi-final of the tournament. On such small margins are success and failure decided.
This result could have gone the other way in yet another tight battle between these two clubs.
Early pressure saw Hawick take a lineout close to the line and with a superbly executed Catch and Drive followed by the maul, they put hooker Lindsay Gibson over for the opening score in 3 minutes. With the conversion missed it was advantage to the Greens. (5-0)
Hawks attempted to take the game back to Hawick and were rewarded for their efforts when Gregor Hunter put and 8th minute penalty over to narrow the gap. (5-3)
Hawks started to dominate in the scrum and put a few good pushes together. This acted as a platform for Paddy Boyer to make some decent yards as he harried and tormented the opposition.
It then came as no surprise when Boyer put Hawks in the lead just before 15 minutes following a well worked lineout.
By this time Hawick were down to 14 after Craig Russel received a Yellow Card. However Hawks were ahead and looked strong to kick on from here. (5-8)
Hawks looked to be ramping up the pressure ion the 30 minute mark when Hunter put over a 2nd penalty, but Hawks were looking fragile at times. Initially the penalty seemed outside of Hunter’s range but some ill-advised Hawick backchat saw them walk back 10 metres and the stand-off put it over with ease. (5-11)
Fin Gillies was Yellow carded in 34 minutes for a high tackle and from the penalty Hawick took a lineout.
A second Catch and Drive saw Sean Goodfellow go over for Hawick with a really well executed Maul in 35v minutes and the Greens were back within a point. It really was a ding-dong affair and impossible to call. With Armstrong adding the extras Hawick put their noses ahead. (12-11)
As half-time approached, Hawks were in the Hawick 22 and awarded a penalty. They chose to scrum hoping to use their obvious dominance her to push on. Their reward was another penalty, which as the clock was winding down they kicked. (12-14)
There was consternation in the Press Box as the Hawks ran out for the 2nd half as Boyer had been replaced by George Horne and no one had noticed Boyer picking up a knock. He had been the outstanding player in the 1st half and had caused Hawick no end of difficulty, but he was off the park.
Hawick threatened Hawks early in the 2nd half as they looked to score as winger Sean Chapman intercepted a pass and was make a lung-bursting run with Rory Scott on his shoulder. However, No. 8, Keith Davies knocked on to save Hawks.
Hawick took the lead in 48 minutes with an Armstrong Penalty. (15-14)
Tit for tat was the game that was being played and Hunter dutifully put Hawks in the lead in 54 minutes, but the lead was to be short lived. (15-17)
Just before the hour mark Andy Kirkland upset the referee and found himself receiving a Yellow Card. From that penalty, Hawick pulled narrowly ahead. (18-17)
Hawick were attempting to use their superior numbers to the best effect and they were eventually successful in 68 minutes, as Kirkland was preparing to come back. They scored their third try when Chapman intercepted a Hawks pass, he was supported by full-back Ali Weir who put some daylight between the sides with a touchdown. (23-17)
Hawks response was superb, a penalty in midfield was kicked to the corner for the lineout. The lineout ball was clean and the execution allowed a driving maul and when they went over Gillies came up with the ball. With 9 minutes to go it was, once more, a 1 point match. (23-22)
Hawick were not phased by this as they tried to do the same to Hawks but strong defence saw Hawks pushing forward.
Pushing forward in short runs, securing ball and recycling. The clock was ticking down. It seemed that Hawks playing this tight way, would either get a try or Hawick would be forced to give up a penalty.
They say that in rugby the most important measurement is the top 4 inches, yet this seemed to fail.
Horne, recycling took the ball from the base of the breakdown, with 4 men to his right. He looked up saw two Hawick defenders and went for a non-existent break. The ball went forward and allowed Hawick to clear their lines.
Wins in Hawick for Glasgow sides are precious and things to be treasured and this wasn’t one.
Updated 19:51 - 25 Oct 2015 by Alex Gordon