Winter puts brakes on speedy Hawks

Kewlso v Glasgow Hawks
Kewlso v Glasgow Hawks
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Kelso 0

Glasgow Hawks 13

RBS NATIONAL LEAGUE

LAING SPEIRS reports from Poynder Park

A SCATTERING of Hawick folk came to Poynder Park with hopes that Kelso could overturn the Greens’ closest rivals in the National League.

They got something out of the trip, seeing the Tweedsiders come close, but not close enough, as they restricted the Hawks to a win that lacked the critical bonus point.

In fact, Kelso themselves only missed out on a bonus point in the 35th minute, even though, in the end, the overall result went the right way.

Hawks had the edge physically, but the heavy pitch after overnight snow cut down the potential danger from the Hawks’ speedy backs. The home tackling was spot-on and Kelso survived the 10-minute loss of Dom Buckley without serious mishap.

Eugene Murnane was happy enough with much of his side’s play.

The Kelso coach thought his lads had battled hard.

He told us: “Our defence was good against a quality side. And we struggled hard, especially in the second half against the wind.

“But I’m disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of it, especially as the boys gave us everything we asked of them before the game. The yellow card upset the rhythm of the side and we had to readjust, but we got through that period.”

It wasn’t a day for building reputations, with a cold wind and a very heavy pitch, but occasionally a flash or two of colour brightened the lunchtime session.

Greg Ponton was one of the few who got a chance to stretch his legs in a scamper or two and looked pacy enough to match the Hawks’ speedsters. And Buckley managed a couple of breaks, which were as near as Kelso came to scoring.

The Poynder Park outfit struggled to match the Glasgow side at the line-out and Michael Robertson was the most prominent in loose play. The front row was getting on fine until Stuart Lowrie had to leave the field.

The Hawks had a bad day for injuries and the problem started as early as the second minute when Ally Maxweell had to be replaced in the back row. But their early pressure paid off when scrum half Sean Yacoubian got the first of the game’s two tries after a stout effort by his forwards.

Kelso’s reply was mainly based on some penetrating kicking, but play ended up getting bogged down in midfield for long periods.

Handling was shaky in the conditions, but towards the interval, Kelso put in a big effort up front and earned the reward of a penalty kick at goal. Murray Hastie’s shot came back off the post.

A first half that had brought a lot of effort, but not much style, ended with the hosts trailing by five points.

Hawks opened strongly, their outstanding player, full back Mike Adamson linking well with his threequarters, but poor handling saw an end to a brief glimpse of their potential.

Kelso couldn’t get free, but stuck in well. Buckley’s departure for 10 minutes didn’t affect things much, but Adamson landed a penalty goal and the Hawks’ forward replacement, Callum Kerr, went over for a late try.

Whether the Hawick visitors felt the trip was worth the effort is doubtul, but Kelso at least managed to show that the Hawks’ scoring machine can be slowed down, even if it does take a late burst of winter to help.

Kelso: A. Adamson; G. Miller, R. Minto, D. Buckley, G. Ponton; M. Hastie, F. Strachan; K. Cooney, C. Riddell, S. Lowrie, J. Stewart, D. Seed, S.McColl, I. Wallace, M. Robertson. Subs: S. Carnegie, A. Marsh, R. Tinlin, D. Redstone.