Communication breakdown as Hawick crumble after good start

Hawick captain Bruce McNeil hopes to help lift his team's spirits for this weekend's home game against Marr (picture by Alwyn Johnston)
Hawick captain Bruce McNeil hopes to help lift his team's spirits for this weekend's home game against Marr (picture by Alwyn Johnston)

Stirling County 56, Hawick 29

Hawick’s defensive struggles continued on Saturday as a rampant Stirling County outfit dumped over 50 points on the Greens in yet another unsettling defeat.

The Robbie Dyes travelled to Bridgehaugh in search of their first BT Premiership win and, for brief stretches, there was hope the Greens could take down one of the league’s better sides. But, in similar fashion to last weekend, the Mansfield Park side came up short when it mattered most.

Trailing 30-29 with 15 minutes remaining, Hawick, who had stood toe-to-toe with the talented Stirling outfit all afternoon, conceded four late tries, eventually to taste an ugly 56-29 defeat which left club captain Bruce McNeil bitterly disappointed.

“We didn’t deserve to win that game. We may have started well and looked good but they proved they were the better side,” hesaid.

“We clearly didn’t learn from our mistakes from a week ago. There was a lack of communication and, at times ,we weren’t performing to our levels.

“I am not about to stand here and blame any one situation or person for the result – we all share the blame for it. But now we have put some heavy pressure on ourselves.”

Typically a side who takes a quarter to get going, Hawick were the surprise instigators from the off.

Tries from Ali Weir, Tom Brown and Ross Combe, with Weir converting two and chipping over a penalty, handed the Greens a 22-13 half time advantage.

That nine-point cushion, however, would last all of six minutes when the two sides returned for the second 40, as Stirling came out firing, scoring a pair of quick-fire converted touchdowns and a penalty to take a 30-22 lead.

In a sign of defiance, Hawick remained in the contest when summer signing Matt Carryer spotted a gap and squeezed over from close range. Weir added the conversion as the Greens pulled to within a point with 15 minutes remaining – before Stirling blew the doors off with those four late scores.

The saving grace for Hawick was a losing bonus point – but even that was not enough to please McNeil.

“We settled into the game early, scored a couple of good tries and looked good, but they grabbed two quick-fire tries after the break and everything changed,” he added.

“They controlled most aspects of the game but credit to the boys – we stuck around and were only down 30-29 with 15 minutes to go before they shifted gears again and got the win.

“Looking back, there were a number of moments when we should have been smarter with the ball. We played into their hands a bit too much near the end and we can’t be doing that.

“Those two late scores were a bit self-inflicted and we should know better. The bonus point we got is good – but not exactly what we went there for.”

McNeil added: “The result is difficult to take and puts us in a tricky position now. We have to look at the sides around us and you should expect Watsonians and Heriots to pick up a number of wins, so they won’t be where they are all season.

“And, with Marr winning, it means this weekend’s game has the makings of a must win.”