Hawick YM 39
NATIONAL SHIELD SEMI-FINAL
ROB HILL reports from Mansfield Haugh
What a match, what a nail-biter, what a heart-stopping last six minutes as YM triumphed in glorious sunshine in front of ecstatic support to march on to a deserved place at Murrayfield.
YM showed attacking intent at every opportunity and a penalty in front of the posts, after Dean McCracken had nearly broken through, was successfully kicked by Lee Armstrong to give the hosts a deserved lead.
The game moved up a gear in the 23rd minute when YM turned over position on the halfway line and a neat chip through saw Glyn Desport dive over for the first try which Armstrong converted.
Straight from the restart, YM were at it again. A poor attempt at a grubber by Linlithgow saw the ball go loose and Glyn Desport managed to get a boot to it.
The ensuing chase up the pitch was won by Ross Gibson, who controlled the ball with his foot and fell over the line to the joyous cheers of the home support. Again, Armstrong converted and, all of a sudden, underdogs YM had a three-score advantage.
Just a few minutes before half-time a shell-shocked Linlithgow managed to pull a converted try back and the teams went in at the break with the score 17-7 to YM.
The visitors exerted incessant pressure for the first 10 minutes of the second half and finally broke through for a converted score in the corner to close the gap.
With the scent of victory in their nostrils, however, the Redskins fought back and Steven Mabon finished off an excellent move and a further penalty by Armstrong put them 11 points ahead going into the last 10 minutes.
Linlithgow gave themselves a great chance when their second row barged over for a touchdown which was converted and suddenly with five minutes to go the dream was on a shoogly peg.
But fear not, straight from the restart came the coup de grace. From a ruck, Bruce Campbell fed Armstrong who, from inside his own half, just dipped his shoulder and left the visiting centre for dead.
He ran on and with only the full back to beat, did his famous dummy then ran in under the posts to the joy of the Mansfield Haugh support. The conversion was successful and Dean McCracken put the score in no doubt when a minute later he too strolled under the posts to seal Linlithgow’s fate and secure a place in the final.
Hawick YM: A. Weir; C. Ritson, S. McLeod, D. McCracken, G. Desport; L. Armstrong, B. Campbell; B. Lilly, G. Douglas, A. Turnbull, S. Mabon, L. Mallin, C. Robson, S. Hill, R. Gibson. Subs: R. Halliday, G. Cannon and S. Desport.