Hawick High School’s Brewin Dolphin Under-18 Plate campaign came to a disappointing end after defeat to the title holders, Marr College, in the quarter-final match at Mansfield Park.
In a dramatic finish, the young Teries twice dispensed get-out-of-jail cards to Marr with two missed penalty kicks in the last five minutes of the game, either of which would have provided victory for the Borders school.
It was a cruel end to a game in which Hawick High went behind by three tries to one, but with the scoreline at 15-7, they hit back decisively with the touchdown of the match, carved out by full back Darcy Graham and finished by flanker Mathew Mallin.
Stand-off Grant Huggan, as he had done earlier with Sean Chapman’s try, added the conversion points before suffering the agony of watching his first penalty attempt rebound off the upright and his second drift inches wide.
It was not the missed penalty kicks that cost Hawick the game, rather the lack of a genuine second row in particular and experience in a couple of other positions. In the event, the Borderers struggled desperately in the line-out against a big and powerful Marr pack, denying them vital possession.
When Hawick did secure possession they looked by far the better side with ball in hand.
However, without an equal share of set-piece spoils they were handicapped.
But Hawick High School deserve to feel proud of their efforts in the Plate.
“Overall, I couldn’t be happier with what the boys have achieved in this competition. We got much further than everyone expected,” said Hawick High School’s coach, David Marshall, already looking forward to next season’s competition.
“The majority of this side will be back next season and with a good group of this season’s under-16s stepping up we should have a strong squad,” he added.
What has been good for the Hawick boys is to play against sides from outside the Borders and to gain confidence in their own ability in a different competitive environment.
Had Hawick High beaten Marr College then they would have faced an away semi-final with Gordonstoun, one of several independent schools who opted to play in the Plate rather than the Cup this season.
And that certainly would have been one to savour.
Hawick High School: D. Graham; R. Chipakupaku, R. Elliot, S. Chapman, J. Chipakupaku; G. Huggan, D. Lightfoot; F. Renwick, E. Silviera, R. Taylor, B. Murray, R. Hartdegen, D. Swailes, M. Mallin and R. McLean. Subs: J. Laidlaw, W. Ballentyne, J. Harvey, D. Suddon, M. Bell.