Hawick hold out against Hawks

Hawick 14, Glasgow Hawks 12

Monday, 15th January 2018, 11:30 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 11:31 am
Hawick skipper Bruce McNeil makes a break withthe ball (picture by Bill McBurnie).

Hawick masterminded a last-minute comeback against Glasgow Hawks on Saturday to earn a fourth successive BT Premiership victory.

The improbable revival continues. Six weeks ago, Hawick’s top-league status had already been consigned to relegation, along with most of the dignity they had injected into this season.

But, since then, the Robbie Dyes have been salvaging, piece-by-piece, what they can and now sit just six points behind sixth place.

“We are starting to reap the benefits of all the hard training, all the analysis and all the gym work boys have been doing every week,” said Hawick captain, Bruce McNeil.

The realistic ambitions for the rest of the league season may not extend much beyond their current position, scraping their way to Premiership survival. But a gritty performance against play-off chasing Heriot’s last weekend has now been followed by another gutsy showing on Saturday at Mansfield Park against a tough Glasgow Hawks outfit.

Hawick controlled the tempo and possession in the opening 40 minutes, utilising their improved set-pieces to bully Hawks into kicking possession aimlessly away and never settling into the contest.

For all the territory and possession, however, Hawick could only manage a rolling maul Matt Carryer touchdown and conversion from Lee Armstrong, which McNeil admitted could have come back to bite them.

“We should have been out of sight in that first half,” he said. “We did everything but score more points. We should have been ahead by much more. We were just lucky they couldn’t do much either, otherwise it could have hurt us in the end.”

The Greens took a 7-5 advantage in at the half time interval after Hawks found their way on to the scoreboard through Fraser Hastie.

The second half proved to be all Hawks, as the Anniesland side stepped up their tempo, aggression and took aim at Hawick’s tired back line. Midway through the half, Paddy Boyer broke clear at midfield before feeding a rushing Callum Kerr to cruise over. Ross Thompson added the conversion to hand Hawks their first lead of the game.

Never knowing when they are beaten Hawick, in the final minutes, rediscovered their mojo and, determined to continue their impressive league run, earned their first penalty try from a piece of the season to claim victory.

“We controlled the first half and should have been out of sight in the second; we just weren’t finishing them off,” continued McNeil. “They came out after the break fired up and took control; we let them do it. They were better and if it wasn’t for our defending, they could have had a bigger advantage.

“The boys stuck at it and, after something like double-digit penalties in the piece, the ref finally awarded us the penalty try.

“It was a great win and we got what we deserved in the end.”

Hawick: Weir, Combe, Davies, Buckley, Munro, Armstrong, Cottrell, Muir, Carryer, Little, Redpath, Hamilton, G. Graham, S. Graham, McNeil. Replacements: Renwick, Landles, Gibson, Ferguson, McLelland.