ALAN LORIMER reports
from Mansfield Park
Hawick fulfilled expectations by defeating Berwick at Mansfield Park to secure their place in the final of the Border League against Gala at Selkirk on April 25.
There was never any doubt that Hawick, playing against a Berwick side tuned to the lesser demands of regional league rugby, would fail in their mission and the telling scoreline of a match shortened by some 10 minutes proved the point.
In all, Hawick ran in 12 tries that included a hat-trick by full back Lee Armstrong, who, with seven conversions to his credit, finished with a tally of 29 points.
But as a preliminary for the final against Gala, Saturday’s match at Mansfield Park fell a long way short of the testing contest Hawick required, despite some skilful rugby.
“We didn’t practise a lot of what we wanted. There were some good hands and some good off-loads, but that sort of rugby is not good preparation for the next game,” said Greens coach Phil Leck.
“It’ll be totally different against Gala. It was always going to be difficult to use it as that sort of exercise because when you’re a bit more physical and quicker than the other side, it tends to become a one-on-one situation.
“Gala’s defence will be much better than what we played against today and we’re going to have to break it down instead of being able to run through. But we’ll be doing a lot of work on the stuff we need to do.”
Hawick were without their quality stand-off Rory Hutton, who was wisely rested after suffering a bang on the ribs against Jed-Forest a week earlier, but the expectation is that Hutton will be back for the Philiphaugh showdown.
Hawick: L. Armstrong; N. McColm, G. Johnstone, G. Hogg, G. Anderson; G. Cottrell, L. Lawrence; S. Muir, M. Landels, R. Sutherland, B. Keown, C. Smith, N. Mactaggart, K. Davies, M. Robertson. Subs used: L. Gibson, B. McNeil, S. Linton, N. Renwick, S. Bouglas.