Bonus win over Gala
By Hugh Barrow
Two good wins at OA
LEWIS STUART @ Old Anniesland
HAWKS got their title push back on track in a match where defence seemed to be optional as the sides managed 74 points between them. The game was overshadowed, however, by the neck injury suffered by Harry Borthwick, the Gala number eight. After a long delay, he was taken off on a stretcher and later to hospital.
“We hope it is just precautionary, but we won’t know until later,” said Chris Dalgleish, the Gala coach. “He is away to hospital, we think it is a spinal injury so he needed to get checked. These things, they have to take very precaution they can.”
As far as the match was concerned, he was more worried about the obvious frailties in his side’s defence. “We never got off the bus,” he said. “The warm-up was terrible and that was transferred to the start of the game; we were three tries down before we knew where we were.”
More worrying for him was that Hawks did not have to work that hard for their scores after an early penalty for George Horne, the scrum half.
There was a pattern, with forwards and backs keeping the ball alive through the phases until they found a gap to explode into. First time round, it was Robert Beattie, the centre, who made the initial incursion with Josh Henderson, the fly half, finishing. Second time, the move was stopped short but from the scrum Hawks broke to the open side and Matt Fagerson, the flanker, had too much strength for the defence.
Instead of collapsing, though, Gala at last got into the game. They started to win more ball and showed the pace they had out wide with both Edinburgh professionals Alex Northam and Rory Scholes looking dangerous.
It was Northam who was responsible for getting his side on the scoreboard as he chased a kick ahead, forcing Beattie to knock the ball clear, earning a penalty for his side which was kicked by Gregor Hunter, and a sin binning for the Hawks player.
Not that this worried Hawks, who may have started to struggle for possession but were still dangerous on the break and off turnovers. They made light of being a back down when Erland Oag, the wing, was set free and, with support from Henderson, they put Horne on a 30 yard run to the line.
Gala underlined their threat when Gary Adams, the flanker, won a turnover and with Rob Louw, the captain, making the key extra man, Northam was given space to race away. He was never going to be caught and with Hunter adding the conversion, they were only 14 points behind at the break.
The lengthy injury break to treat Borthwick – well over 10 minutes – seemed to unsettle Gala more then their opponents who put the result beyond doubt with three tries in six minutes, two touched down by Henderson to complete his hat-trick, though in both cases he had colleagues to thank.
Horne made the first with a quick tap penalty and Gossman the second with a jinking run to demolish the defence for an easy run-in on the opposite flank. In between Gossman had been the instigator again, with Grant Stewart, the flanker, finishing.
Another piece of individual brilliance from Horne, after he had shifted to fly-half, brought the 50 points up for Hawks, but Gala had the final word with Northam and Scholes both crossing in the final few minutes.
“It is always good to score 50 but not to ship 24,” was the verdict from Finlay Gillies, the Hawks coach. “That appears to be the Glasgow Hawks way, unfortunately. We know we have the firepower to score as many points as we need; it is conceding that is a worry.”
“George Horne was again outstanding, Josh Henderson seemed to be on the same wavelength, they both run world class support lines.”
Hawks: J Steele; E Oag, R Beattie, B McGroarty, K Gossman; J Henderson, G Horne; S Findlay, P Cairncross, G Strain, A Kirkland, A Redmayne, G Stewart, M Fagerson, T Spinks (C). Subs used: A Hill, B Cullinane, S Thomson, L Tyler, S Yacoubain.
Gala: R Scholes; A Northam, L Berg, P Hendry, C Robertson; G Hunter, C Adams; C Reynolds, M Carryer, D Brooker, O Palepoi, R Louw (C), G Adams, H Borthwick. Subs used: C Keen, C Pate, A Edmond, G Mein, R Combe.
Referee: C Howard (RFU)
Hawks: Tries: Henderson 3, Fagerson, Horne 2, Stewart. Cons: Horne 6. Pen: Horne
Gala: Tries: Northam 2, Scholes. Cons: Hunter 3. Pen: Hunter
Scoring sequence (Hawks first): 3-0, 10-0, 17-0. 17-3, 24-3, 24-10 (half time), 31-10, 36-10, 43-10, 50-10, 50-17, 50-24,
Man-of-the-Match: Lots of candidates but George Horne pulled the strings and claimed 25 individual points.
Talking point: Hawks were outstanding ball in hand but again failed the test when the defence was under pressure.
Image: Craig Watson – http://www.craigwatson.co.uk