Hawick huff and puff towards bonus point win after lightning start
Hawick 26, Musselburgh 19
Hawick made life difficult for themselves on a dreich afternoon at Mansfield Park and, although they gained a crucial bonus point, Musselburgh were well worth its own losing bonus point.
Two tries from Andrew Mitchell and two more from Matt Carryer edged the Greens into the driving seat but Musselburgh belied their league position at the foot of the Premiership table with a performance that augured well for their survival.
It was Hawick’s third success after wins over Aberdeen Grammar and Jed-Forest but it was not a classic encounter, in the wet and worsening conditions.
Head coach George Graham said he was disappointed that it took so long for his side to get the bonus.
“I was disappointed with the last 10 minutes of the first half, and the second. Our execution was very poor,” he said.
“We need to take our opportunities and get back to the way we played against Aberdeen and Jed, but I am pleased we are now sitting joint third in the Premiership.”
Hawick led 19-5 at the break and, despite intense pressure, were not able to capitalise on their own bonus until Mitchell completed a fine afternoon with a try 20 minutes from the end.
And getting captain Shawn Muir back in the side, after he was injured in the warm-up against GHA in September, was an added bonus.
There were spells in the game, particularly early in both halves, that Hawick threatened to run away with the game but Musselburgh’s fighting spirit and resilience earned a point with the last kick of the game.
Hawick started the game on fire with tries from Mitchell and two scores following forward drives from Carryer.
Musselburgh put a foot in the game when Colin Arthur scored before half-time.
The centre partnership of Wiaan Griebenow and Mitchell proved crucial and the pack inspired the team, despite a yellow card for Bruce McNeil.
There were only 20 minutes left when Mitchell’s strength and pace brought a fourth try, when he broke through the visitors defence after continual pressure.
Yet Musselburgh were not finished. Michael Maltman and Craig Owensen each touched down in the final few minutes, with Danny Owensen adding the conversions.
Hawick: K. Ford; L. Ferguson, W. Griebenow, A. Mitchell, L. Gordon-Wooley; A. Weir, Gareth Welsh; S. Muir, M. Carryer, D. Johnstone, D. Suddon, S. Fairbairn, J. Linton, S. Graham, B. McNeil. Replacements: C. Renwick, R. Toogood, R. MacLeod, Glen Welsh, M. Bannerman.