Hawick Harlequins 3, Murrayfield Wanderers 24
The biggest game in a number of years faced the Harlequins on Saturday as they hosted the only unbeaten side in East League 1, Murrayfield Wanderers.
Tipped to be a good game of rugby, the match at Wilton Lodge Park certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Quins got off to a good start and, after a quick tap penalty, Fred Stevenson broke down the touchline to put the Baker Street men on the front foot.
Wands conceded a penalty which, unfortunately, was not converted by Scott Peffers. Quins recovered the restart from the 22 and, when a kickable penalty was conceded in front of the posts, Peffers had no problem in putting his side ahead 3-0.
Murrayfield hit straight back with a penalty of their own to level it up. The big Murrayfield pack asserted itself and worked hard in trying to break down the Quins defence.
The Hawick side kept them at bay by knocking them back hard in the tackle and it almost looked as if Wands had run out if ideas when they finally got the break through. The ball was shipped wide for their winger to out pace the Quins defence and avoid a last-ditch tackle to score in the corner.
Murrayfield’s fly half Murray Hastie was as always reliable with the boot and slotted the conversion from out wide, giving them a 10-3 lead going into the break.
At half-time, Quins knew they needed to get the next score to keep themselves in game – and, after a perfect restart from Peffers, a Murrayfield player appeared to knock it on, but Wands were given the put-in at the scrum.
This gave Murrayfield a solid platform to pin the Quins deep in their own half, resulting in the Quins spending long periods of time defending on their own line.
When Murrayfield eventually scored out wide again, it looked as if it was a long way back for the Quins.
With the conversion added, Murrayfield increased their lead to 17-3.
The Quins, at this point, eventually got their hands on the ball and looked dangerous, with Graeme Lothian making a break and Liam Nichol finding his way through a hole in the defence to give the home support something to cheer on. But both plays came to an end when the final passes failed to meet their intended receivers.
After squandering the few chances they had, Quins found themselves defending in their own half again and leaked a the third try, again out wide.
With Hastie’s pinpoint accuracy, he added the extras to give Murrayfield a 24-3 lead.
The Quins tried to create a piece of magic to get them through the Wands’ defence but came up short.
The final score was 24-3 to the visitors but, in defeat, the Quins showed real courage and bravery and never stood off their opponents.
Despite the defeat, coach Gary Murdie was extremely pleased and proud of his boys’ effort and hailed their physicality in defence, as Murrayfield failed to pick up a try bonus point for the first time this season.
Quins look forward to this weekend’s game at home to Ross High, who recorded a surprise victory away to Berwick last weekend. It’s sure to be another tough test for the Baker Street men.