Hawick up to third place in rugby’s Tennent’s Premiership after first win on road of season and Jed-Forest also on rise

Hawick are up to third in rugby’s Tennent’s Premiership after claiming their first away win of this season at the third time of asking.

By Darin Hutson
Monday, 11th October 2021, 4:31 pm
Selkirk's Joe Anderson being kept at bay by Marr at Philiphaugh on Saturday (Photo: Grant Kinghorn)
Selkirk's Joe Anderson being kept at bay by Marr at Philiphaugh on Saturday (Photo: Grant Kinghorn)

The Greens had lost on their two previous trips outwith the Borders, at Glasgow Hutcheson’s Aloysians and Edinburgh Academical, but they got third time lucky on Saturday, beating basement side Aberdeeen Grammar 24-0.

That lifts them up from fifth in the table to third, on 19 points from six games, five behind league leaders Marr.

A Kirk Ford penalty got Hawick off the mark on nine minutes, and tries from winger Morgan Tait and skipper Matty Carryer, both converted by Ford, made it 17-0 to the visitors at the interval.

Jed-Forest captain Gregor Young passing the ball to his brother Lewis to set up the hosts' last try against Musselburgh (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Only one further try followed in the second half, both touched down and converted by Ford, leaving Hawick just short of the four-try bonus point that would have put them level on points with second-placed Currie Chieftains.

Head coach Matty Douglas was just glad to see his side break their away duck, though, telling Borders Rugby TV: “It’s great to get a win on the road, our first away win onf the season.

“I challenged the players this week to get a win no matter what and change our mindset away from Mansfield Park. We’ve been very strong at home, but away it’s just inaccuracies that have cost us.

“We’ve not got the bonus point but I’ll take four points away from home at Aberdeen any day of the week. I’m really happy.”

Jed-Forest's Clark Skeldon winding up for a charge against Musselburgh at Riverside Park (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Jed-Forest were also victorious at the weekend, beating Musselburgh 32-21 at home to go seventh in the 10-team table with 11 points from five games, though they had to fight back from being 11-8 down at the interval for that bonus-point win.

Clark Skeldon, Paulo Ferreira, Nik Stingl and Lewis Young scored the Jedburgh side’s tries, with Gary Munro adding three conversions and two penalties.

Jed head coach Scott Tomlinson credits a change of approach to the game after the interval for that turnaround in fortunes against their visitors from East Lothian, saying: “Half-time couldn’t come quick enough for us, to be honest.

“We regrouped, we gathered and we played with a tempo and a pace that the crowd deserved in the second half, which was important for us, and we got the bonus point so it’s all good, and it was against a good Musselburgh team.”

Selkirk were the only one of the Borders’ three Premiership sides to fail to win at the weekend, but that wasn’t for want of trying.

The Souters, now second bottom of the table with six points from four games, were beaten 19-10 by Marr at Philiphaugh but they made their visitors work for that victory and head coach Scott Wight was encouraged by what he saw.

“I couldn’t fault the boys’ work-rate and effort,” he told the club website. “We definitely got a little bit of pride back, and that’s the bar set for our season.

“I thought our forwards, from one to eight, stood their ground and went toe to toe with the opposition. Marr have a big, dominant pack and are top of the table for a reason. I thought we competed well throughout.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hold on to the ball and build phases, and as a result we’ve come up short in the end.”

“Marr put us under a huge amount of pressure for long periods in the game. They take their chances, and when they do get chances they’re clinical and finish them off.”

Turning to the club’s injury difficulties, Wight said that because of the long-term nature of some of the players’ knocks, the team was now ‘in it for the long haul’.

“The squad is obviously quite thin at the moment, so it’s important boys turn up each Tuesday and Thursday for training and that we all stick together.

“We’ve got another game at home next week, which is a huge opportunity for us to get back out on the pitch and focus on our next task.”