Hawks hang on for the win
38 minutes ago
By Alex Gordon
Win against Muir takes side into Top Four
Glasgow Hawks 16 Boroughmuir 15
Tries: Strain 15, Findlay 34
Penalties: Hunter 10, 19
Tries: Marshall 75, Penalty 80
Conversion: Steele 80
Penalty: Steele 40
It was the best of games, it was the worst of games, it was a game of wisdom, it was a game of foolishness, it was a match of belief, it was a match of incredulity. (With apologies to Charles Dickens)
Hawks sneaked away from Old Anniesland with a one point win, which went a long way to making amends for the narrow defeat by the same margin at Mansfield Park last week.
By capturing the 4 points they have reached the half-way point in the season in 4th place ahead on points difference from Hawick.
Muir, by contrast, had hoped to get into the top four but instead have slipped to 8th in the table after this their 4th successive defeat.
That such a turn of fortunes can happen after one match shows just how competitive the chase for a play-off place is.
Hawks started in the game at full throttle and indeed dominated proceedings for almost the whole of the first half. The early pressure had Hawks deep into Muir’s half, with the visitors having to defend desperately to keep the Glasgow men at bay. In the tight, Gary Strain, Steven Findlay and Jack Macfarlane were giving the Muir front row a lesson in scrummaging. Findlay in particular giving former team-mate Craig Bachurzewski a torrid time.
There was no surprise when Hawks opened the scoring with a penalty from the boot of Gregor Hunter in 10 minutes. (3-0)
Muir could make no impression from the restart and Hawks were quickly on the offensive. A penalty from the middle of the park was put into touch. The ball was cleanly caught at the line out and the drive was on stopping just short of the line. The ball was recycled quickly and Strain went over from close range. With Hunter missing a difficult conversion Hawks took a comfortable lead after 15 minutes. (8-0)
Again there was no reaction from Muir and Hunter pulled the home side further ahead with a 2nd penalty after 19 minutes and Hawks had clear blue water between them and the visitors. (11-0)
For all the lead was clear, Hawks lacked a clinical edge when a series of errors in the “red” zone otherwise they would have pulled out of sight as Muir appeared to still be somewhere on the M8.
Hawks seemed to be through in 25 minutes after skipper, Brendan McGroarty, broke from just inside his own half. He broke the defensive line putting the pass to RobrtBeattie, the winger then kicked ahead only for Muir full-back, Craig Marshall, to gather. The Muir man seemed in all sorts of bother but a piece of skilful and elusive running saw him run it out from deep inside his 22, clearing the threat.
Hawks’ second try came with five minutes of the half remaining and when it came it was a cracker.
Hawks had been cranking up the pressure battering on the visitor’s line for a sustained period. Having recycled the ball, Hunter threw a wide pass to McGroarty who was running into heavy flak. He in turn put the pass to prop, Findlay, who was on the wing, a brief hesitancy as he gathered the ball saw hime dive over taking the cover with him to score the 2nd props try of the match Hunter was off target with a very wide conversion attempt and Hawks were now 3 scores ahead. (16-0)
As half time arrive Dougie Stele finally opened Muir’s scoring on the stroke of half-time. (16-3)
There couldn’t have been a greater contrast in play than between the two halves. The dominance which Hawks had just drifted away as Boroughmuir came more and more into the match.
There were a couple of early forays into Muir’s 22 but on each occasion Hawks were penalised for holding on. As Muir put more and more pressure on Hawks’ defence came under pressure. But with Muir pressing the line the penalty count mounted. Inevitably Andrew Hill received Yellow Card in 75 minutes. But with so little time on the clock it seemed too late to help the visitors.
Muir took a quick tap from the penalty they were awarded when Hill went off. The Edinburgh side put the ball out left and Marshall eluded Hawks tackling going over for the score with Steele missing the conversion Hawks still had an 8 point lead. (16-8)
Muir cranked up the pressure and as the match reached 80 minutes they seemed to have gone over for a try when the referee awarded a Penalty Try, with the easy conversion Steele brought the visitors within a point and it was unclear how much time would be added on. (16-15)
In the final minute or so Hawks dug in to hold on for the win, which after the narrow defeat was a relief for the side.
Hawks played some of their best rugby in the first half and if they keep that up for the remaining half of the season they should finish in the Top Four.