Sporadic performance earns Hawick Linden top spot

Hawick Linden 38 Dalkeith 25

RBS EAST DIVISION TWO

LINDEN shot to the top of their league on Saturday by defeating long term leaders Dalkeith at the Volunteer Park.

The Royal Blues simply came out of the blocks at a tremendous pace with chances for Graham Colville, Nathan Murray and Greg Thomson all going close.

Linden finally opened their account in the 13th minute when Gary Wardle fed out to Steven Bouglas who cut in and ran behind the posts for Barry Sutherland to convert.

Dalkeith slotted the penalty goal and the Linden’s response was immediate as Murray took a catch on half way and his pace and balanced running scythed through the visitors to produce a wonderful solo touch down which Sutherland again converted.

Sutherland then took a quick tap to put Graham Colville over and Sutherland add the extras himself before Sean Goodfellow’s pass found Thomson who had the pace to score. Sutherland converted majestically from out wide.

With the bonus point in the bag after only 26 minutes, and the Linden playing at a pace Dalkeith could not live with, it looked like a case of how many points could the home team rack up. However, the visitors had other ideas and were able to gain more possession and slow the game down. Just when the home team appeared to have soaked up a long period of pressure on their own line, Dalkeith eventually went over with the last play of the half and the conversion reduced the Linden lead to 28-10 at the break.

The second period started badly for the Linden dropping the kick off, then failing to hold on to kicks and passes. They continued to fall foul of the referee’s whistle and Greg Thomson was the unlucky man to be shown a yellow card for team infringements and the power of the visitors pack drove them over for a push over try.

Linden finally showed their abilities again when, from a scrum, Sutherland put out a sweet pass which Murray burst onto at pace on half way to go the distance for another superb try. Sutherland added his fifth conversion.

Sutherland slotted a penalty soon after but the Linden were turned over at the kick off, the penalty was tapped and Dalkeith’s winger went over in the corner.

With only four minutes remaining the visitors drove another scrum and their big No. 8 plunged over. The match ended on a sour note when, with virtually the last play of the game, prop Terry Skeet was sent off for punching.

In some ways the Linden were at their best and worst, looking world beaters in space when playing the game at pace but making mistakes and giving penalties away when the visitors were in possession. Skipper Sutherland, well served by scrum half Rory Hamilton, got his backs moving well. Murray, Thomson and Steven Bouglas showed their paces in the backs and Stuart Williams had some powerful runs after coming off the bench. Keith Mabon worked hard up front and was well supported by Mercer, Wardle and Cunningham.

Team: N. Murray; G. Thomson, S. Bouglas, S. Goodfellow, G. Bouglas; B. Sutherland, R. Hamilton; K. Mabon, B. Mercer, T. Skeet, B. Keown, S. Fairbairn, G. Wardle, G. Cunningham, G. Colville. Subs: S. Renwick, C. Gracie, S. Williams, J. Gilchrist, S. Harkness, J. Scott.