Size proved to be everything at Mansfield Park on Friday night as big boys Gala came down for a Booker Border League tie and shoved a young Hawick squad all over their own pitch.
In the first half at least.
The match began at an alarming rate with a jinky run to the line allowing Sean Goodfellow to touch down in the opening minute, Neil Renwick converting, and Gala using brute force in the scrum before releasing George Graham to run in and touch down, Craig Dods converting.
With the bigger Gala pack working so well it was no surprise 15 minutes later when they opted for a scrum when awarded a penalty in the Hawick 22. Once again the Maroons made easy work of it with Craig Dods finishing of the move with a try and five minutes later Prop Luke Pettie rumbled over following more forward pressure. Dods converted both tries.
Another five minutes, then another try from Gala, this time Graham Speirs doing the honours after the ball was expertly swung out onto the wing.
Now trailing by 19 points things were looking grim for the young Hawick side as the game moved towards the interval but heads were lifted five minutes into injury time when Lewis Anderson sped over the Gala line, following a rare period of pressure from the hosts, with Renwick converting to make the half-time score: Hawick 14 Gala 26.
If the first half was fast and furious, then the second half .......... wasn’t.
A comedy of errors mixed in with some periods of desperate defending meant there was no scoring, or even a threat of it, until the closing 10 minutes. And it was hosts Hawick who awoke the large crowd up when Grant Huggan seared down the pitch for a fine solo effort. Neil Renwick’s conversion meant that a game that had looked a certain massacre in the early stages was now hanging in the balance.
Cue Dean Keddie, A perfectly struck long range drop goal from the Gala sub put the game out of reach With Richard Tod adding a try, Dods converting, right on the final whistle.
Hawick: A. Weir; L. Anderson, S. Chapman, G. Huggan, N. Renwick; R. Hutton, S. Goodfellow; S. Muir, F. Renwick, J. Stierlin, J. McCombe, N. Mactaggart, R. Gibson, S. Fairbairn, H. Murray. Subs: L. Gibson, R. Linton, B. Campbell, K. Ford, G. Douglas, S. Graham, M. Douglas.
Gala: C. Dods; G. Spiers, D. Burrows, A. Emond, F. Robson; R. Jeffrey, G. Graham; L. Pettie, M. Carryer, C. Keen, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, G. Adams, E. Dods, K. Mein. Subs: R. Tod, C. Pate, K. Young, D. Keddie, J. Irvine, S. Cairns, I. Ross.