There was little evidence of Hawick’s swashbuckling style which has delighted so many at Mansfield Park this season – hardly surprising in the conditions.
But the Greens’ victory over Glasgow Hawks on Saturday provided yet more proof they are legitimate play-off contenders.
In a performance full of vim and invention, Hawick ran through their repertoire of strong defensive sets and showed collective ruthlessness in attack, adding fuel to the belief that the Robbie Dyes may yet clinch a place in the BT Premiership’s top four.
Glasgow Hawks in contrast will be disappointed at their inability to break down Hawick’s defence, given their starting XV was full of club and Under-20’s internationals. They did fight back from 14-5 down to ensure a tight final quarter, but the Greens were not to be denied a significant result, which keeps them within a bonus-point victory of fourth placed Gala with two games remaining.
If that is a chilling thought for Maroon supporters struggling to remain positive about their play-off chances, some hope can be taken from the Hawks’ performance. The visitors controlled proceedings for large spells, and had Jack Steele made both of his conversions, things could have been very different.
Yet ultimately Saturday was proof that when Hawick are in the mood there are few, if any, sides in the country better equipped at slicing through opposition, with converted blink-of-an-eye breakaway tries either side of the interval from Mike McKee and Neil Renwick enough for victory.
It was the visitors, however, who drew first blood, Paul Ramsay finishing off a slick sequence of phases after good combinations from Brendan McGroarty and Mateusz Bartoszek. Jack Steele missed the conversion as Glasgow took a 0-5 advantage after 25 minutes.
The Robbie Dyes rallied and within eight minutes took the lead after Mike McKee scored a sharp intercept touchdown from the halfway line, Renwick adding the conversion to put the Greens 7-5 before Rory Hutton and Patrick Boyer were sin-binned on half-time for a scuffle.
Five minutes after the restart, Greg Cottrell’s energetic attitude and technical excellence from the ruck area proved valuable on a pitch that was cutting up badly. The nippy scrum-half spotted a gap and jinked his way past Hawk defenders before off-loading to Bruce McNeil who opened a gap for Renwick to score and give Hawick a 14-5 lead.
Hawks battled hard with a strong second-half effort during which they put Hawick under enormous pressure, but were left to rue missed opportunities. Going for broke with a run-only attack with six minutes remaining, Andy Linton dived over from close range, which brought Glasgow to within four-points, but the Greens held firm to secure another important league victory.
Prior to kick-off both sides paid tribute to life member Janet Brydon, who recently passed away.