Hawick just manage to keep heads above water

Hawick vs Peebles at Burnfoot, Hawick. Lee Armstrong with the ball.
Hawick vs Peebles at Burnfoot, Hawick. Lee Armstrong with the ball.
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Peter Wright’s Peebles outfit almost pulled off a surprise victory in this RBS Regional Cup match on Saturday when running Premiership outfit Hawick close on the PSA pitch.

With Mansfield Park being more suitable for playing water polo than rugby, Phil Leck’s side were once again forced into seeking alternative accommodation – and this time it was the semi-junior outfit who assisted by offering up their Burnfoot venue.

Speaking after the match, however, the Hawick coach refused to use the change of venue as an excuse for a below-par performance.

“We always approach a game in the same way and all we did on Saturday was to move from playing on one piece of grass to another,” he said.

“There are no excuses from our point of view. We just weren’t firing on all cylinders – we scored three tries when really we should have scored five or six.

“I take nothing away from Peebles either. They defended really well. Peter has got them well drilled and they did everything that was asked of them.”

The Greens began brightly and when captain Greg Cottrell slipped a scoring pass to Neil Renwick after 12 minutes, everything looked to be going with the form book.

The rest of the half, however, was a tale of Peebles possession and they were rewarded late in the period when Kieran Brown went under the posts for a try converted by Greg Raeburn to give the visitors a 7-5 interval lead.

The Greens raised the tempo after the restart and a fast-handling move resulted in Lee Armstrong going over for a try converted by Neil Renwick.

Peebles came back well with a drive up the middle, leading to a Hawick infringement on the 22-metre line. Raeburn converted to bring his team to within two points. The aggressive forward play continued and Peebles won another penalty shortly afterwards, but the kick went wide.

As the game moved into the closing quarter, Hawick began to gain control and spent long periods of play in the Tweeddale outfit’s 22.

The visiting defence held firm until a pass out to the right gave Neil McColm a few yards of space which he used to good effect by sprinting into the corner. The remainder of the match was played out with Hawick flattering to deceive – promising moves breaking up before breakthroughs were achieved.