EFFORT WAS 10 TIMES BETTER

Ayr's blindside flanker Tommy Spinks is unable to stop Hawick's hooker Shawn Muir (picture by Bill McBurnie).
Ayr's blindside flanker Tommy Spinks is unable to stop Hawick's hooker Shawn Muir (picture by Bill McBurnie).

Despite another weighty defeat last week, Hawick’s head coach praised his players for giving an 80-minute performance and for some creative touches in their play.

George Graham also said the effort shown was “10 times better” than the previous weekend at Edinburgh, where the Robbie Dyes hit rock-bottom form and Accies collected their first league win of the season.

However, the boss also said Hawick had made a lot of silly errors at Mansfield on Saturday against league leaders Ayr, who, not unexpectedly, made them pay for their shortcomings.

The Greens showed some good moves in attack early on but reserved their best form for the final 10 minutes or so, when they scored a brace of tries.

That put a more flattering gloss on the 12-36 scoreline, as Ayr had been 36-0 ahead until then.

Graham indicated, however, that Hawick would stick largely to what they had been doing when they headed tomorrow (Saturday) for Bridgehaugh to take on Stirling County.

The home side had enjoyed a very good 28-46 win away at Meggetland last week, so they would be dangerous opposition.

“We’re not going to change massively now,” said Graham. “We have two league matches left and a cup match, and a Border League final to play, so we are not going to change drastically but, obviously, we’ll be looking to tweak a few things and make the boys aware of what we are trying to do.

“ Stirling is a tough place to go,” he added. “They are hitting a bit of form and to beat Boroughmuir, at Boroughmuir, the way they did shows they have got their act together.

“We are going to have to dig in again this weekend and see what we can get from the game.”

Graham admited there was a long list of things wrong against Ayr – but his excoriating words from the week prior were replaced by credit where credit was due.

“The accuracy in play was not particularly good,” he said. “There were a lot of unforced errors. The scrum was under a lot of pressure and we gave away a lot of penalties.

“Once again, our lineout didn’t function and never got us good set pieces. We were dropping balls we should not have been missing and lineout balls we would normally catch.

“When you’re playing the top team, they will punish you. They will expose those weaknesses and take their opportunities, which they did.”

However, some set plays helped Hawick get on the outside of Ayr, added Graham, and they managed to manufacture a few two against one or three against two moves.

But, too often, the last pass would go forward, or go behind because their player had over-run the ball.

“Nevertheless, we showed we could get behind them, we made a few line breaks near the end, we kept playing for 80 minutes, we got two tries near the end, and we could possibly have got a third,” said Graham.

“Some people might say the game was finished and already lost.

“But, at the end of the day, I was quite happy that my boys played for 80 minutes.”

Dale Johnstone and Nicky Little were Hawick’s tryscorers, with Lee Armstrong converting one.