Hawick win battle of the Wands in last-gasp thriller

Gala Wanderers 22

Hawick Wanderers 23

SEMI-JUNIOR LEAGUE

A penalty goal with the last kick of the game by centre Matthew Douglas gave Hawick Wanderers victory over Gala Wanderers by the narrowest of margins in the top-of-the-table Borders Semi-Junior League clash at Netherdale last Saturday, writes Alan Lorimer.

It was the second time this season that Hawick Wanderers have won by a single point, the young Greens having defeated their town rivals, Hawick PSA 13-12 in another gripping match.

“This was a great game of rugby,” said Hawick Wanderers coach Jim Hay. The former Scotland and Greens hooker added: “It was a great advert for under-18 rugby. These were two very good sides on show. Gala had the better of the set-piece, but we were sharper at the break-down. They will feel hard done by and in many ways a draw would have been a fairer result.”

Gala Wanderers coach, Shane Hawkins, concurred with much of Hay’s sentiments, saying: “There was open attacking rugby from both sides. We missed chances through mistakes, such as several knock-ons when going for scores. But the guys will learn from this experience.”

With both sides showing the kind of form that could win the National Youth Cup, there will be an anxious wait for them to learn if the Semi-Junior league approves their entry into the national competition.

That could be blocked if Murrayfield does not come to an accommodation with the Borders clubs over a clash of dates with semi-junior sevens tournaments, but it appears that the SRU may be willing to move forward the dates for the semi-final and final of the competition.

Gala Wanderers appeared to be heading for victory when they led 22-20 with tries from centre Keith Young, prop Gary Robertson and stand-off Ruairidh Howarth and two conversions and a penalty from Young. But Hawick – who had scored tries from lock Jack McComb and prop Andrew Ford, and two conversions and two penalties from stand-off Cory Wilson – seized their chance in the dying second to snatch victory with the winning penalty kick from Douglas.

The win means that the Teries, who play Peebles Colts this Saturday, go clear at the top of the table.