Linden manage to see off menacing Midlothian rivals

Air apparent - Penicuik narrowly steal a lineout from blue-clad Hawick Linden (picture by Bill McBurnie).
Air apparent - Penicuik narrowly steal a lineout from blue-clad Hawick Linden (picture by Bill McBurnie).

Hawick Linden 26, Penicuik 10

After the free-flowing rugby of the week before, Hawick Linden had to grind out a victory on Saturday in Tennent’s East Region League 2 over a

stuffy Penicuik side.

Not only did the Royal Blues eventually secure the win but, with the last play of the game, scored their fourth touchdown to add the try bonus point.

It looked like a dream start for the home team as Rory Graham kicked on loose ball and went over the line with a try was initially awarded.

However, the touch judge, who seemed well behind play, had his flag up and a line out was the outcome.

The Linden won the Penicuik throw and James Rowley charged through a number of tackles to go under the posts. Kieran Murphy’s

conversion made it 7-0 after just three minutes.

The total could have been extended when Penicuik were penalised in front of their posts. The Linden opted to run it but, when a pass was dropped, the opportunity came to nothing.

At the other end, Penicuik did elect for goal when awarded a penalty but failed to find the target.

On 32 minutes, the Midlothian side were on the attack when Jordan White turned over ball on his own 22. The Linden had men up on the outside but kicked ahead, which returned possession straight back to the visitors. Stand-off Sean Thomson capitalised fully as he slipped through to run in at the corner.

With no further scoring, the Linden held a narrow 7-5 advantage at the break.

A Matthew Mallin break, taken on by Graeme Anderson, took play deep into enemy territory. Pete Drysdale put in a neat grubber but Craig Glendinning couldn’t get there as the ball ran dead.

With 56 minutes gone, White drove on before Matthew Bell showed his dancing feet and managed to twist in the tackle to dot down near the posts for Murphy to convert.

Kris Rowley beat his man on the outside and was heading for the line with some support runners. A kick ahead ran away from the chasers and the chance was gone.

Soon after, the home team showed patience in their build-up, moving from side to side, before Drysdale ran straight and offloaded to Dave Montgomery, who hit a superb line to dive under the posts. It was a great way for the popular back rower to sign off in his last game before heading home to Northern Ireland. Murphy’s kick from the tee extended the lead to 21-5.

When the Linden failed to find touch with a penalty kick, it was Thomson who showed his running skills again to slice through the Royal Blues defence into acres of space and all the way to the line for his second try of the afternoon.

The Linden were now chasing the try bonus point. They missed one opportunity when a scoring pass was dropped with the line at their mercy. Deep into injury time, though, the Hair twins were back in tandem as Euan, returning after a long spell out injured, linked up with Stuart, which got in behind the Penicuik defence.

Showing good composure, the Teries eventually went wide and Kris Rowley gave the final pass to Glendinning, who dived over with the last play of the game. The final act saw Rowley’s conversion from out wide come back off the post.

It had been a stuttering performance by the Linden but they were relieved that they did enough to see off tricky opponents, gaining a vital bonus point at the death, and thereby maintained their 100 per cent record at the top of the table.

Hawick Linden: M. Bell, C. Glendinning, G. Alexander, G. Anderson, K. Murphy, R. Graham, E. Wood; J. White, P. Drysdale, M. Boyle, S. Hair, J. Rowley, L. Sharkey, M. Mallin, G. Colville. Subs: S. Donnelly, A. Fletcher, E. Hair, L. Stormont, D. Montgomery, K. Rowley, R. Renwick.