Bonus win at Netherdale
By Hugh Barrow
Six tries scored
Gala RFC 27 - Glasgow Hawks RFC 43
Saturday 27th August 2016
Hawks set off for Netherdale for the first league game of the 2016-2017 season in high spirits following a successful pre-season when they had won 3 games and scored an average of around 40 points per game. The new coaching team of Fin Gillies, Colin Grigor and Jimmy Sinclair had selected a starting line up with only one player making his debut in the 1st XV. Matt Fagerson is a highly promising back row forward who has recently left Strathallan and yes, he is the younger brother of Zander who has made such rapid progress in the professional game with Glasgow Warriors.
The bench looked to be particularly strong with experienced Paddy Boyer, Matt Smith and Brendan Cullinane being joined by prop forward Scott Rogers, returned from Whitecraigs and New Zealander stand off Hagen Schulte.
During the summer Hawks yet again proved that they can provide the perfect starting point for any player aspiring to play the game professionally. Andrew Davidson moved on to Newcastle Falcons, Jack Macfarlane to Jersey and Scott Cummings to Glasgow Warriors. We wish them well and will watch their progress with interest and pride. Pierre Mounal returned to France and a few players on the fringe of the 1st XV moved on to other Clubs but by and large the pool of talent has increased with players returning and new faces coming in.
George Horne has returned from London Scottish, Tommy Spinks from Jersey, Sam Thomson from Perpignan, James Gormley from medical studies, and Andy Kirkland from a long injury problem. Other players who have come in and may appear in the senior side later in the season are Bradley Harper, plus a number of school leavers hoping to make the grade with Hawks.
Hopes of a good season were in the air and these hopes proved to be totally justified as Hawks scored 4 tries and a penalty in the first quarter
Playing a scintillating brand of running rugby they simply swept Gala away.
Handling by both forwards and backs was superb, the off loading, counter rucking and line outs were all secure and as a result the points simply flowed in.
The first try in the 5th minute came from a scrum against the head from which Robert Beattie broke down the left wing and when he was stopped the ruck the ball was quickly recycled and youngster Matt Fagerson crashed over for his first try for his new Club. George Horne converted 0-7
In the 6th minute a high Gala tackle resulted in a penalty and George Horne knocked it over from 42 metres. 0-10
In the 8th minute Hawks were penalised for not rolling away and former Hawks player Gregor Hunter converted the penalty 3-10.
Straight from the kick off Hawks won possession and simply ran in a score, yet again from Matt Fagerson, 2 tries in 10 minutes, not a bad start to his senior career.
More was to come in the 16th minute Kerr Gossman intercepted close to half way and there was little chance of him being caught. Again George Horne converted 3-24.
Finally in the last minute of the first quarter following some slick handling the ball reached Kerr Gossman 40 metres out. With 3 men he beat he waltzed past one, sidestepped the second and outpaced the third for a magnificent try. George Horne converted. 3-31 and the bonus point on its way back to Glasgow.
Gala weren’t going to take this lying down and they started to exert some pressure of their own. In the 24th minute Gala won a scrum in the Hawks 22 and thanks to some sloppy defending down the blindside flanker Stevie Cairns dived over 8-31. The conversion was missed.
Within 3 minutes normal service was resumed when a bout of clever inter passing between Erland Oag and Josh Henderson ended with Erland dotting down under the posts and George Horne converting 8-38.
This really ended the fun for Hawks as sadly they retreated into their shell for the rest of the half. Half Time 6-38
It is a mystery what happened during the half time break because in the second half Gala dominated as Hawks couldn’t get the ball. In the next 16 minutes Gala scored 2 tries one of which was converted by Gregor Hunter and the gap was closed to 20-38. The problem lay in the fact that Hawks conceded a plethora of penalties in the second half. How many is a plethora certainly more than 10. They completely fell out with referee Mike Adamson resulting in two yellow cards. Nearly all the penalties came at the breakdown and frustration at not being allowed to compete for the ball on the ground. With this number of penalties it is very hard to win ball. This is an area that the coaches need to work on this week.
Back to the sequence of the play.
In the 67th minute, and a little against the run of the play, Matt Smith who had come on for Andy Hill, made a great run through the centre of the field and a beautifully weighted pass to George Horne allowed him to run over unopposed. For the first time in the match George missed the touchline kick.
The remainder of the half continued to see Gala in control. Finally in the 74th minute from a 6 metre line out the result of another penalty they drove over and Gregor Hunter converted from the touchline.
If ever there was a game of two half’s this was it but Hawks had done more than enough in the first half to secure the points.
A promising start but harder games lie ahead. The squad is strong and there are players in the 2nd XV and coming back from injury to make competition for places very interesting.
Next Saturday Melrose are the visitors to Old Anniesland. Kick Off 3pm