RBS BORDER SHIELD
Hawick Linden 38, Earlston 20
THE contenders met only four weeks earlier on league duty, and this Shield match followed a similar pattern, ending with an almost identical scoreline.
Following a line-out in the 10th minute, Nathan Murray was brought down just short of the line, but Graham Colville was in support to plunge over, with Barry Sutherland converting.
Soon after, skipper Sutherland showed the ball and, with the visitors’ defence caught out by the dummy runners, slipped through and under the posts, giving himself an easy conversion.
But the Royal Blues let Earlston back into the game. An intricate backs move following a line-out looked like it was going well until a pass was intercepted by Sean Megahy on the Linden 10m line.
He ran in for a try, converted by Harry Eves. The Earlston stand-off then reduced the deficit to four with a penalty goal.
The home team hit back when Ryan Hamilton took a quick tap penalty in the visitors’ 22 and Stuart Renwick’s neat grubber kick was pounced on by Sutherland for his second try.
Right on half-time, a tap penalty on halfway saw Sutherland, Renwick, Sean Fairbairn and Steven Bouglas all involved and, when quick ball was moved left, Murray raced in at the corner to put the Teries 24-10 ahead at the break.
Earlston were first to score in the second half when Ian McDade came up with the ball after a lineout catch and drive.
Linden replied when Sutherland secured his hat-trick of tries and added the conversion for good measure.
However, once more Earlston came back and after a tap penalty it was blindside flanker McDade who again went over from short range.
Linden had the final word when a lovely Sutherland pass put Greg Thomson in space. The latter showed his pace and drew the last man to give Sean Goodfellow an easy run-in. Sutherland converted to complete a personal haul of 23 points.
Earlston: I. Riddell; S. Shiel, S. Megahy, S. Bell, C. Norris; H. Eves, I. Dick; A. Frame, S. McDowell, G. White, D. Howatson, N. MacDonald, I. McDade, D. Cessford, L. Bottomley. Subs: A. Hogg, B. Watson, S. Denham.
Hawick Linden: N. Murray; G. Thomson, S. Bouglas, S. Renwick, C. Gracie; B. Sutherland, R. Hamilton; C. Turnbull, S. Harkness, J. Gilchrist, S. Fairbairn, K. Mabon, G. Wardle, G. Cunningham, G. Colville. Subs: B. Irving, B. Willison, S. Goodfellow, G.Bouglas.