Hawick YM 15
NATIONAL DIVISION ONE
STUART CAMERON reports from Mansfield Haugh
THE remarkable record under coach Jammy McFarlane continued at Mansfield Haugh on Saturday as Hawick YM brushed aside Musselburgh in severe gales to close the gap at the top of the National League to just a single point.
The result was significant because it means, with YM having a game in hand, the title is now theirs to lose.
After well over 20 games unbeaten, YM lost their record ,on October 1 to a well-organised Musselburgh team by a point, and that hurt the Redskins more than they let on.
McFarlane said that records are meant to be broken and that the team would need to start again to build up another good run.
They have done just that, and since that disappointment they have won 11 on the bounce in competitive rugby and they were well prepared for the visit of the league leaders.
Having won the toss, they elected to face the strong wind, putting immediate pressure on their defence to keep the score down.
It was a severe test, but one they passed with flying colours. Their discipline was much improved and they gave away just three penalties in the first half.
They were all kickable, but Musselburgh fly half David O’Hagan slotted just one to put the visitors ahead 3-0 at the turn.The odds swung heavily in favour of YM, but they still had to get points on the board, and they were playing a team who had only lost one game from 16 all season.
A penalty on the hour from Ali Weir levelled things up, but it wasn’t until the 70th minute that the Teries scored the first try of the game, and it came from a mistake by Musselburgh.
Scrum half Danny Owenson’s clearance kick was charged down, Dean McCracken hacked on and Rory Scott sprinted in for the touchdown. Weir’s conversion was good and part one of the job was complete.
The pressure put on Musselburgh was immense. Their opponents and the wind were in their faces and try as they might they found it almost impossible to vacate their own 22. At the death another error saw a pass intended for a Musselburgh hand go instead to Ross Armstrong, who bounded towards the line.
He popped the ball up to Scott, who got his second try to seal the match and ensure the league leaders would go home with no losing bonus point.
It was a gutsy display but they have to do it all over again next week at home to fourth placed team Murrayfield Wanderers, then on February 11 against third side Dunfermline, also at Mansfield Haugh. There is still a lot of rugby to be played before they can be crowned National League champions a year after winning the National League Division 2 title, but confidence is high in the camp and there is no reason why the club cannot move further away from Duns, Berwick and Langholm to challenge as the region’s seventh top side with Peebles. This shows how far Hawick YM have come in the last three seasons.
YM’s Stephen Hill told TheSouthern: “That was a real battle for us. We stuck in well and put pressure on them. We’re chuffed to bits with that result.
“It sets us up for the rest of the season.”
You can see Rory Scott’s two tries on Borders Rugby TV at www.BordersRugby.net
Hawick YM: M. Douglas; M. Graham, R. Armstrong, D. McCracken, G. Desport; A. Weir, B. Campbell; B. Lilly, G. Douglas, W. Blacklock, G. Petrie, S. Mabon, S. Graham, R. Scott, K. Miller. Subs: S. Hill, A. Turnbull, R. Hogg.