Jed-Forest rue shortage of player availability ahead of final run-in

Jedforest v Hawick
Jedforest v Hawick

Jed-Forest 5

Hawick 34


ATHOLL INNES reports from Riverside Park

HAWICK were comfortable winners of this Boxing Day clash, but the game probably threw up more questions than answers.

On a soggy pitch – even the supporters were banned from parking on the usual area due to the state of the ground – Hawick were the masters in all departments.

The fact that they scored two tries, one an interception with two minutes left, did not affect the result, and the game raised even more concerns for Jed coach Kevin Barrie, who is trying to get the club back in business by snatching a place in next season’s National League.

He already had Lewis Young banned for three weeks after his red card at Selkirk, while Gregor Young, Ewan Scott, Chris Page, Graham Slorance and Alan Frame all headed for the treatment room.

It got so bad, said Barrie, that John Skudrow, who had come to watch, ended up pulling on the shorts.

“It is hard on the players, but it is hard, too, that we can get only 19 players to turn up for a Boxing Day game,” Barrie said.

“We kept the ball quite well, it is just the cheap tries that cost us.

“But Hawick have quality backs and deserved everything they got.

“We have Hamilton away in the next league game and it will be difficult to survive, but you never say never.”

For Hawick, it was the opportunity to try out a few new players and combinations, and it gave Hawick coach Phil Leck an insight to what to expect as the club strikes out for Premiership rugby.

He told us: “When you play at this time of year, you are expecting lads who are amateurs to play ‘professional’.”

There was a reasonable crowd at the ground to shed off the Christmas turkey, and while the game was not a classic, the players on both sides were prepared to make the most of the conditions.

John Coutts (2), Shaun Muir, Finlay Simpson and Craig Smith scored tries, Rory Hutton being on target with the boot, while David Gobby’s try was consolation for struggling Jed.

Hawick were 7-0 ahead after only two minutes when Coutts raced clear of the field.

Sean Muir charged over for number two and new player Finlay Simpson added a third.

Rory Hutton, as usual, used the boot to good effect.

On the stroke of half-time, David Gobby gave Jed a lifeline with a try in the left-hand corner.

Jed fought well in the second half until Craig Smith and Coutts (interception) added to further festive cheer for the visitors.

Jed-Forest: I. Chisholm; C. Gillon, Gregor Young, E. Scott, D. Gobby; R. Miller, R. Goodfellow; David Grieve, S. Raeburn, A. Frame, Glen Young, A. McKay, J. Sudlow, M. Weekley and Donald Grieve. Subs: G. Slorance, J. Fraser, C. Page, D. Wallace.

Hawick: G. Johnstone; N. McColm, J. Coutts, G. Hogg, S. Anderson; R. Hutton, G. Cottrell; S. Muir, H. Scammell, L. Launders, C. Smith, D. Lowrie, F. Simpson, K. Davies and N. Mactaggart. Subs: L. Gibson, S. Graham, W. Douglas and K. Willison.