Hawick Linden 13
RBS EAST REGION DIVISION ONE
HAWICK Linden came out narrow winners from a hard-fought encounter in testing conditions.
The visitors stamped their authority on the game, dominating field position for the first quarter of an hour, but an excellent Linden defence kept their tryline intact.
Already without the unavailable Craig Smith and injured skipper Graham Colville, the home side suffered the early loss of Blaine Willison with a hand injury, leaving them without a recognised line-out jumper.
With 15 minutes on the clock the Royal Blues got out of their own half for the first time in clinical fashion as Terry Skeet and Craig Mitchell set up full back Nathan Murray to race in from the halfway line to score his 11th try of the season.
Gavin Stirling slotted the conversion, but Portobello were in front at the interval thanks to a converted try and penalty.
With the cold wind and rain causing conditions to deteriorate, the game became a war of attrition with both sides tackling doggedly.
A Stirling penalty brought the scores level and four minutes later he had the chance to put Linden ahead. Nathan Murray was held back when chasing his own kick ahead and, looking like he would win the race, there was a case for a penalty try.
However, this wasn’t forthcoming and Stirling’s kick secured three points and the lead for the Teries with 24 minutes remaining, which proved enough to win the match.
Among the stand-out Linden performances was prop Keith Mabon, who proved a revelation in the loose as well as showing up well as an emergency line-out jumper.
Hawick Linden: N. Murray; G. Thomson, S. Bouglas, G. Stirling, M. Megahy; S. Renwick, C. Russell; K. Mabon, C. Telfer, T. Skeet, B. Law, M. Davidson, C. Mitchell, G. Wardle, B. Willison. Subs: C. Graham, J. Tait, B. Irving.