Hawick 36, Boroughmuir 26
After four defeats in the BT Premiership, Hawick made their sought-after breakthrough with victory over Boroughmuir at Mansfield Park, to lift themselves from the foot of the table.
A week earlier, Hawick had scored four tries in an encouraging – but nevertheless losing – display against championship leaders Ayr, to raise expectations that the Greens might have turned a corner.
At the weekend, Hawick confirmed their improvement, this time making a good performance a winning performance. The Greens’ four tries against a strong Boroughmuir side earned five championship points.
“The win has been coming,” said head coach Nikki Walker. “We’ve not been far off it but, before today, we hadn’t strung an 80-minute performance together. There’s room for improvement but, hopefully, we can take a little confidence from the win.”
He added: “It was hard work but we got there in the end. You could see how nervy we were out there. We should probably have been a lot more convincing but we can learn from our mistakes.”
The biggest area in which Hawick need to improve is the kick and chase which, against Boroughmuir, succeeded only in handing possession back to the Meggetland men and, crucially, into the hands of a very potent back three which accounted for three of the visitors’ four tries.
“Our kick and chase was poor and not just the box kick,” conceded Walker, who otherwise must have been delighted with so much of his side’s performance – notably the set-piece, where Hawick exerted pressure in the scrums and had an almost faultless line-out.
Individually, there were exciting performances by two-try scorer Wesley Hamilton, back rows Keith Davies and Stuart Graham and lock Michael Robertson, who is now contributing hugely to the Greens’ forward effort.
Hawick led 15-12 at half time with tries from scrum half Bruce Campbell and Hamilton, the latter intercepting a kick ahead, and a conversion and penalty from Neil Renwick.
‘Muir’s first half points came from tries by Jordan Edmunds and former Gala back row Craig Keddie and a conversion from ex-Jed player Chris Laidlaw.
After the break, the Greens extended their lead with a second touchdown from Hamilton and two further penalty goals from Renwick. Muir hit back with an 80m try from McConnell, converted by Laidlaw, Hawick’s reposte a solo effort from Lee Armstrong, with Renwick converting.
Boroughmuir then produced a second score for McConnell, converted by Laidlaw, to secure the four-try dividend and to reduce Hawick’s lead to seven points.
But, four minutes from full time, a late penalty by Armstrong denied the visitors what could yet be a crucial losing bonus point.
Hawick: K. Ford, N. Renwick, G. Johnstone, G. Huggan, W. Hamilton, L. Armstrong, B. Campbell, S. Muir, F. Renwick, C. Mackintosh, M. Robertson, B. McNeil, R. Gibson, S. Graham, K. Davies. Subs: M. Landels, T. Skeet, D. Harlen, K. Brunton, S. Bandeen.