Hawick YM 5
RBS CHAMPIONSHIP B
STUART CAMERON reports from Mansfield Haugh
THIS was a massive game for both teams, particularly after the close encounter in October when the pair met at the Gytes. Peebles won that 32-29 and currently sit second in RBS Championship B.
Last year, the injury-plagued Tweeddale outfit were relegated.
They employed Peter Wright as head coach and the club has bounced back. It’s a relatively young squad of mainly local boys, with Kiwis James Hemara and captain Warren Kearney coming in to play a big part. Between them this season they account for 26 of the club’s 96 tries in competitive matches.
YM had not been beaten on their home patch in the championship, but were coming off the back of four defeats to Selkirk, Jedforest, Hawick and Kelso. They were also without key players of the calibre of John Coutts, who is now very much part of the Greens set-up, Wullie Blacklock, a massive miss in the pack, and Ryan Hogg, a player who gets in the faces of the opposition right from the first whistle.
I have seen YM play a few times this season – and they have had a few bad starts, conceding early points. The same thing happened here, inside the first two minutes. Their pack crumbled following a 5m line-out and Peebles trundled over with ease to give Dalton Hall the first try of the match, converted by the reliable Greg Raeburn.
Before the hosts had time to recover, slack tackling allowed Hemara in for probably the softest touchdown of his 17 in a Peebles jersey this season. How he was allowed to brush off five tackles in the space of 10 yards is hard to comprehend. With five minutes on the clock, and another Raeburn conversion successful from in front of the posts, YM were 14-0 in arrears.
For 15 minutes, the Redskins, playing in their change strip of all black, tightened up, but on 19 minutes Raeburn was given the ball 30m out and literally strolled through an acre of space to touch down for the third try.
There was no further scoring in the first half as YM regrouped. But soon after the interval, Peebles struck again, effectively writing off the match as a contest. Finding plenty of space again, Callum Scott took the scoring pass to dot down to the left of the posts for the bonus try.
Further scores from Ruaridh Clinch and Warren Kearney (both converted by Raeburn) put the total up to 38 without reply before the hour had passed. The visitors’ scoring had all been achieved in the first and third quarters of the game.
Garry Douglas got a consolation try for the Redskins on 65 minutes, and with Connor McCann dropping the ball over the line for Peebles at the end, the scoreboard stopped at 38-5.
To add to a frustrating day, the Teries had Dean McCracken sent off for two yellow-card crimes.
Peebles have three home games and an away trip to bottom club Morgan left, with the big test against leaders Howe of Fife on March 9.
They will need to win that game and pick up try bonuses along the way. With a performance like this, one cannot see them dropping any points in the run-in.
YM’s Stephen Hill said: “There’s no excuses. Peebles deserved to win and we’ll have to pick ourselves up for next week.”
Head coach Wright commented: “To come down here and take their unbeaten league home record and get a bonus point too is very satisfying.”
z You can see all the tries on Borders Rugby TV at www.BordersRugby.net
Hawick YM: Graham; Wylie, Hendrie, Kellington, Welsh; McCracken, Campbell (c); Williamson, Graham, Douglas, Thomson, Lilly, Cowan, Hill, Mabon. Subs: Desport, Turnbull, Cannon, Potts.
Peebles: Cruickshank; Blyth, Scott, Hemara, Clinch; Raeburn, Anderson; Clark, McConnell, Stewart, A. Brown, Clyde, Warnock, Hall, Kearney (c). Subs: Carryer, K. Brown, McCann, Wills.