For the second time this season, Linden were left wondering how they failed to secure even a losing bonus point when visiting a team they, at least on paper, really should have beaten.
Late changes meant the Royal Blues took some time to settle and the home team took advantage with an early try from Mitch Walker, converted by Robbie Mott.
After 15 minutes, Graham Colville surged on, powering through several tackles to stretch out and touch down, with Kirk Ford’s conversion levelling the scores.
The visitors’ joy was shortlived as powerful running from Rob Ritchie and some weak tackling by Linden saw the Portobello winger go over for a try.
The half ended with the home side on the attack and Phil Mactaggart departed for 10 minutes, paying the price for one too many penalties by his side, compounded by consistent questioning of the referee’s decisions. Half-time: Portobello 12 Hawick Linden 7.
A half-time rollicking by assistant coach Ian Barnes ensured a vastly improved discipline in the second period. Whilst still a man down, good Linden pressure resulted in Portobello being penalised and a quick tap penalty saw Colville run over and Ford’s conversion put the visitors ahead.
Despite Linden having had their foot on the gas for the early part of the second-half, Portobello still had plenty left in the tank and, following a five-metre scrum, Will Murray drove over and Mott converted.
With the match into injury time, the visitors bravely chased the game, running from their own 22, but an interception saw Murray Boyter go over for the bonus-point try, converted by Mott, to deny Linden what would have been a deserved losing bonus point.