Linden in stirring comeback

Hawick Linden 17

North Berwick 14


IN A tense finish at the Volunteer Park, the Linden came from behind to defeat old rivals North Berwick.

It was the visitors who got off to a flyer, dominating possession with any Linden clearance kicks simply returning the ball to their opponents. North Berwick’s reward came from a tap penalty as they plunged over at the posts to allow an easy conversion.

Linden hit back, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard.

A penalty was missed and then Craig Smith looked likely to score as his arcing run took him to the corner, but a great cover tackle put him into touch just short of the line. From the resultant line-out, a scuffle saw Linden prop Terry Skeet yellow-carded and the visitors quickly made the extra man count as they worked their way upfield to score their second converted try.

The Linden upped their game as the match neared half-time. First Barry Sutherland kicked a penalty goal then Craig Smith, Nathan Murray and Stuart Renwick were all involved in a handling move that took their side within metres. Despite several good attempts on the line, however, the hosts just couldn’t get the ball over and were left with the feeling that this just wasn’t going to be their day when trailing 3-14 at the break.

What was perhaps the turning point came when the Linden scored a beauty of a try which instilled the belief they could go on to win.

A penalty right on their own try line was tapped and quickly worked wide to Greg Thomson.

He showed his pace and timed his inside pass to the supporting Murray to perfection, and the full-back scorched home from inside his own half. Sutherland converted and the home side continued to work hard for the score that would take them into the lead, and it came with eight minutes remaining.

Linden squeezed forward a scrum near the visitor’s line, Graham Colville picked and drove, and Sutherland’s pass found Steven Bouglas on a nice line and the centre crashed over near the posts for Sutherland to convert.

Hawick Linden: N. Murray; G. Thomson, S. Bouglas, C. Smith, S. Renwick; B. Sutherland, G. Stirling; T. Skeet, C. Telfer, S. Harkness, B. Willison, J. Tait, C. Mitchell, G. Cunningham, G. Colville. Subs: S. Goodfellow, K. Brown, M. Knight.