Glasgow Hawks 17
A heartbeat was finally found at frozen-looking Mansfield Park on Saturday as Hawick earned an impressive victory over Glasgow Hawks.
After flatlining for most of the 2016-17 season, Hawick rose from the depths of relegation purgatory to secure a come-from-behind victory over the play-off chasing city side.
The Robbie Dyes rode the production of Scotland under-20 standout, Darcy Graham, and an energised young squad that managed to fight back from a 17-7 second-half hole.
A brace of scores from Graham was added to by Shawn Muir, with Ali Weir chipping in with three conversions and a penalty to help the Greens secure a victory that lifted them into the relegation play-off places and four points ahead of bottom-placed Gala with three league games left.
“Without a doubt, we totally deserved that result,” said a delighted Greens captain, Bruce McNeil.
“That was a very good Glasgow Hawks team, filled with professionals, academy boys and Scotland 7s players.
“We had a game plan to turn their backs and make them really work for every inch, something we didn’t do when we played them on their pitch.
“Credit to Ali (Weir) putting up some very good kicks that turned them and guys like Huggy (Grant Huggan), playing at scrum half, and Darcy (Graham) getting us important points. Everyone played their part.”
McNeiil added: “That’s us won three on the bounce. Confidence is flowing but beating a team of Glasgow Hawks’ quality will be for nothing if we don’t continue to back it up.”
Hawick landed the first punch when Graham latched onto a pinpoint cross-field kick from Rory Hutton, plucking the ball from the air midstride before racing home untouched for the opening try, converted by Weir.
Ross Miller countered for the Glasgow side and George Horne levelled the scores. Andy Hill then gave them a 12-7 half-time lead after dotting down from a set-piece attack.
McNeil then fell foul of the new tackle rules implemented by world rugby with a yellow card, but the visitors failed to make their man advantage count and soon found themselves down to 14 men when Stephen Leckey was sin-binned for an off-the-ball scuffle. Weir used the subsequent penalty to pull the Greens within seven points and, from that point, Hawks couldn’t keep up.
Graham added his second score, quickly followed by Muir, with Weir converting both, as Hawick took a 24-17 lead into the closing stages.
Hawks did mount a final flurry with five minutes left but Hawick’s late-game composure allowed them to cap off the victory that may help save their Premiership status.