Hawick 17, Selkirk 28
Selkirk ended Hawick’s quest for a 50th Border League title with a 28-17 victory at Mansfield Park last night and cast serious concerns about the Greens’ preparations for their crucial relegation play-off match next month.
A sloppy, penalty-riddled first half – in which Hawick emerged 10-7 ahead following a try from Neil Renwick and a push-over score from their forwards, with Ali Weir adding a single conversion – gave way to a second half dominated by the visitors from Philiphaugh.
Hawick simply couldn’t get out of their own way, penalised for simple mistakes, coughing up possession, and ultimately were just second best to every breakdown.
The Souters piled on three converted scores against a single effort from Gary Douglas, again converted by Weir, to claim the Pool A spoils and raise serious concerns about the Robbie Dyes preparations for next month’s BT
Premiership relegation play-off.
Hawick captain Bruce McNeil said afterwards that his side’s attitude had been wrong – they believed that, to win, they simply had to turn up.
“That’s not how you prepare for a team of Selkirk’s quality. They basically wanted it more than us,” he said.
The Greens had been targeting a four-try and 18-point victory, which would secure them a Border League final berth against Melrose, as well as pinning their hopes on a comprehensive victory to set up another competitive match in preparation for their relegation play-off.
However, looking beyond a Selkirk side which was eager to claim a Premiership scalp proved the Greens’ downfall.
The Philiphaugh men’s youthful, small-ball line-up against Hawick’s power-orientated system, who looked half-a-step off their opponent’s pace, worked in the visitors favour early when centre Darren Clapperton dived over and Josh Welsh converted.
Hawick hit back through their forwards and Renwick, Weir converting one, but it was Selkirk who looked more like the team in the higher division.
The second half, led by Welsh, who pulled the strings for Tom Ramage’s side at stand-off, was dictated by Selkirk. Hawick kept the game competitive with a late Douglas try and conversion from Weir, but the Greens were merely passengers as their BT National League Division I guests dominated.
Tries from Tythan Adams, Ciaran Whyte and Boni Siyothula built a heathy points tally for Selkirk that Hawick simply couldn’t rein in.