The Greens had signed off for 2021 with three wins on the bounce and had been looking to maintain that momentum into 2022 to stay within reach of table-toppers Currie Chieftains, but their hosts on Saturday, Glasgow Hawks, had other ideas and sent them back south to the Borders smarting from a 31-10 defeat without even the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Hawick’s only try of the game was scored by Stuart Graham, with Kirk Ford adding a conversion and a penalty.
Home captain Paul Cairncross scored two tries for the hosts, with Ali Rogers and Jack McLean adding one apiece and Liams Brims supplying four conversions and and a penalty.
That loss – Hawick’s first since a 29-24 defeat to leaders Currie at Edinburgh’s Malleny Park back on Saturday, November 6 – leaves them and their opponents’ league positions unchanged, third and fifth place respectively, but the Glaswegians are now only 10 points behind their visitors’ tally of 47.
It also leaves head coach Matty Douglas’s side two points off second place and the prospect of a home play-off semi-final, with that spot’s current occupant, Marr, having a game in hand.
Prior to that, Hawick had beaten Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians and Edinburgh Academical at home and Selkirk away, and they’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways against Aberdeen, 12 points adrift at the bottom of the table with eight points from 13 games, this Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.
The Greens won the reverse fixture at Rubislaw 24-0 in October, thanks to tries by Morgan Tait, Matt Carryer and Kirk Ford, plus three conversions and a penalty by Ford, and Douglas is hoping his side can do the double against the Aberdonians. Mindful of the fact their visitors belied their league position by beating Hawks in November, he says his players will need to raise their game considerably from their showing last weekend to achieve that, however.
Looking back at last weekend’s defeat, he told us: “We were nowhere near the level we’ve been at and need to be at.
“We were miles below where we’ve been.
“Hawks were really good on the day and we didn’t match that, and it was as simple as that. It was one to forget.
“I thought our players would be ready for it but they weren’t, maybe due to the Christmas break or whatever.
“To be fair to them, they’ve held their hands up and admitted they weren’t up to the level we needed to be at, and I’ve got to look at our preparation too and see where we went wrong.
“A top-two finish has maybe slipped out of our grasp now after that result, but we’ve got to work hard to try to win our last four games before the play-offs and finish as high as we can.
“We’re going to try to finish off as strongly as we can and get a top-four finish. That’s our main goal.”