Hawick Linden 27-25 Forrester: Royal Blues seal first win in dramatic style

Hawick Linden 27-25 victory over Forrester (picture: Brian Sutherland)
Hawick Linden 27-25 victory over Forrester (picture: Brian Sutherland)

A dramatic late converted try meant Hawick Linden achieved the first win of their East League 1 campaign but not before Forrester threatened to snatch an injury time try.

It was the visitors who applied the early pressure, penalties were kicked to the touchline but throws were either lost or well defended. However, some strong Linden scrummaging help to turn the screw.

In their first serious attack, a poor kick lost possession and Forrester were quickly down the other end. A try looked certain as the ball was hacked on into the in-goal area but was knocked on over the try line.

The Royal Blues didn’t escape for long as a Forrester tap penalty was spread wide before John McMillan twisted his way over the line. Three minutes later Jack Wilson took ball on and when Dylan Ali received ball out wide he sprinted over. Kieran Murphy’s conversion sneaked the home team in front.

Soon after Forrester sent another penalty to the touchline and several phases later McMillan squeezed in at the corner. Almost on the half hour mark it was a repeat dose of penalty, line out and McMillan crashing over.

A Murphy penalty kick reduced the deficit to five points and then, right on half-time, the Linden levelled at 15-all with Ali’s second try following earlier spadework from Liam Sharkey and Matthew Mallin.

Seven minutes after the turn around the Volunteer side took the lead. Showing patience and control through several phases play eventually went out to the wing and replacement Greg Scott stepped inside to touch down.

Alas, failure to claim the kick-off surrendered field position too easily and Forrester took advantage as Neil Robertson darted inside for the bonus point try that once more squared the game at 20 points apiece.

The home team then upped the ante. A high tackle on Dai Swailes saw no more than a penalty awarded and, to compound Linden frustration, the kick at goal was missed. A Mallin break almost took him to the line. The ruck was won and Shane Donnelly charged for the line but was well tackled. A subsequent knock on relieved the danger.

However, another high tackle this time saw Forrester down to 14 for ten minutes. Although the Royal Blues continued to hold the upper hand they couldn’t turn it into points. The Edinburgh side then worked their way to the other end and Bradley Graham touched down to put his side 25-20 in front.

The Linden went back on the attack and a series of penalties meant they were playing in the right areas. With the clock showing 80 minutes, pressure finally paid off after they ran another penalty and they tied matters with a try credited to Simon Spalding with the conversion gaining the lead.

There was further drama though as Forrester desperately shot up to half-way to take a quick kick-off but Linden interference sparked a melee the end result of which was a penalty to the visitors. They kicked to touch and had one final throw of the dice as their full-back sped up the wing only to be denied by a try saving tackle.

Linden: C Glendinning, D Ali, M Mallin, S Bouglas, C Gracie, K Murphy, E Wood; J White, S Donnelly, S Spalding, E Hair, J Wilson, L Sharkey, R Ali, J Smith; Subs: M Boyle, G Scott, J Rowley, D Swailes.