Edinburgh Accies 20
ATHOLL INNES reports from Mansfield Park
THE icing remains a long way off, but Hawick showed on Saturday they will ready for a quick comeback to the top table of Scottish rugby.
Coach Phil Leck has instilled a new-found confidence in the side to wipe away the memories of a difficult season and the players battled hard with the new rallying call from the depths of Mansfield Park.
The Greens were going nowhere fast, but now the new buzz of excitement has invigorated the players who could have been snapped up by other clubs.
And on Saturday, it was a mixture of experience and youth which brought a new dimension to their play.
Matt Landels came off the bench for his team’s opening try and Neil Renwick banged over four penalties and a conversion for a total of 14 points.
But this was a not a game of individuals, but a team effort as Accies only scored their second try with Sean Linton in the sin bin.
The players defended strongly as the rolling and rumbling forwards battered the home line, but Fortress Mansfield resisted every attack until Dan Teague finally got over.
But Neil McColm added the glory with a try seven minutes from the end and Leck said, with a wry smile: “We did not get a bonus point, but neither did they.
“When I came here, the players just wanted to win and now they are looking for bonus points.”
Skipper Bruce McNeil warned his players to keep their feet on the ground, but agreed that they were all relishing the new tactics.
“The boys reacted after losing the early try, and we came back with a lot of confidence,” he said.
“I am disappointed that we were on the back foot in the second half, but we defended very well to then score a vital try.”
Four Renwick penalties to Ross Brown’s try and Ruaraidh Bonner’s conversion and penalty gave Hawick a 12-10 interval lead.
But when Landels popped up on the left wing for a try in 45 minutes, converted by Renwick, to be followed three minutes later by a second from Stevie Anderson on the right, it looked game over.
However, the Teague try and Bonner’s conversion kept Accies’ hopes alive until McColm sealed a famous win.
Hawick: N. Renwick; N. McColm, L. Armstrong, G. Johnstone, S. Anderson; R. Hutton, G. Cottrell; S. Muir, L. Gibson, S. Linton. B. Keown, M. Robertson, N. Mactaggart, B. McNeil, K. Davies. Subs: H. Scammell, M. Landels, R. Sutherland, G. Hogg.