Hawick enjoy unexpected early Christmas present

Hawick 20, Currie Chieftains 14

Hawick's Bruce McNeill emerges with the ball against Currie Chieftains (picture by Bill McBurnie)
Hawick's Bruce McNeill emerges with the ball against Currie Chieftains (picture by Bill McBurnie)

In a General Election week, Hawick voted with their feet in a dramatic game at Mansfield Park, as Andrew Mitchell kicked ahead to score the crucial try in the second half.

On a wet and windy afternoon, the Greens weathered the storm to not only avenge a catastrophic defeat at Currie earlier in the season, but move into third position in the Premiership.

Christmas shopping was put on the back burner and the rush for points rather than presents put Hawick in the driving seat in a bizarre match, which was ultimately decided by the elements and a piece of luck for the hosts.

Their 13-7 lead at the interval never looked like being enough as the Currie try on the stroke of half-time seemed certain to turn the tide in their favour.

But Hawick guts and determination, along with two late referee decisions, decided the destiny in another afternoon of gathering gloom.

Hawick should have been further ahead such was their first-half dominance and it looked inevitable that Currie would cash in after the break – points that Hawick head coach, George Graham, could not disagree with as the tension mounted and the final drama was played out.

Graham admitted his team had missed a lot of chances in the first half.

“I think they were only in our half once in the first half,” he said. “We could not execute what we had planned and coughed up a lot of scoring opportunities.

“We knew they would come at us in the second half but we defended very well and we have been working very hard on that.

“But I still think we can be better. Mitchell has searing pace as he kicked ahead (for winning score). The pack scrummed well but we were very lucky, for that was a try (at the end ) all day long and I was surprised when the referee did not give a score under the sticks.

“There were 11 penalties in the first half – but we are our own worst enemy.”

Two yellow cards did not help Currie, who trailed 13-0 to a Logan Gordon Wooley try and an Ali Weir conversion and two penalties before Reece Paterson scored in injury-time first half.

A second-half score from Mike Vernel and a second Adam Hall conversion gave Currie the lead, ahead of Mitchell’s score, and a Bailey Donaldson conversion before the six added minutes that had more drama than a detective mystery.

Hawick: K. Ford; L. Ferguson, A. Mitchell, W. Griebenow, L. Gordon-Wooley; A. Weir, Gareth Welsh; S. Muir, C. Renwick, D. Johnstone, A. Piotrowski, D. Suddon, S. Graham, Bruce McNeil, J. Linton. Replacements: M. Carryer, C. Bachurzewski, S. Fairbairn, Billy McNeil, B. Donaldson.