RHC Cougars 26
Hawick YM 33
NATIONAL DIVISION ONE
Rob Hill reports from Royal High School
“MADE in Hawick, for Hawick, by Hawick.”
That was Jammie McFarlane’s description of his National League-winning Hawick YM team following Saturday’s title clinching tie against RHC Cougars at Royal High School on Saturday.
Then he added: “But they played bloody terrible.”
The Redskins took the title after grinding out a 33-26 win at RHC. With his team needing at least a draw to record back-to-back championships in two incredible seasons, the YM coach was pulling his hair out by half time when the scores reached 13 all.
After pulling away in the second half, YM were forced into deflecting an RHC comeback towards the end. It was only when Bruce Campbell kicked to touch to end play that everyone relaxed and joined in the robust celebrations.
“Everything just went, including my legs, at the final whistle,” said McFarlane. “The pressure had just been building up and building up.
“We started the season off badly in our game against Langholm and with 10 games left to play we needed to win all 10, and pick up bonus points as well. On Saturday, we ended the season by playing badly. They were trying too hard when all they needed to do was get the simple things right and it was such a massive relief when the final whistle blew.”
Understandably the game was a nervy and jittery affair. YM’s Ali Weir kicked the first penalty in eight minutes followed by a quick riposte by RHC to tie the scores. In the 17th minute the YM, who defensively have been brilliant all season, left the back door open and a cross-field kick sent the RHC winger in unopposed and a superb touchline conversion left the YM support chewing fingernails as they went behind by seven points.
YM pushed hard but were finding it hard to get any change out of RHC until man of the match Rory Scott broke from the base of the scrum to send Glyn Desport roaring up the touchline to swan-dive into the corner for a superb try. Weir kicked the difficult conversion to tie the scores.
The sides traded penalties, with Weir tying the score at 13 each with the final kick of the half.
Two minutes after the restart the Skins got their noses in front when Michael Graham scored in the corner after a slick move and deft final pass from Weir. A few minutes later, RHC reduced the arrears with a penalty before Rory Scott was sent in for YM’s third try after RHC were penalised for slow play at the lineout.
At 23-16 YM, could not relax and RHC kept coming at them. Bruce Campbell grabbed YM’s bonus point try when he intercepted inside his own 22. He appeared to stop after an apparent knock on, but the ref played on and he was left to gallop the length of the field and just made it to the touchdown with the roars of the YM support ringing round the ground. Weir slotted another beauty of a kick, then added three more with a further penalty.
Still RHC refused to buckle and scored a further two tries. It wasn’t enough though as the ref blew the final whistle to bring the curtain down on another remarkable season for the YM.
As captain Stephen Hill and vice-captain Ali Weir stepped up to collect the National One trophy, the sun came out and the Champagne corks popped as the Redskins’ supporters joined in the celebrations. Thanks and respect also go to the RHC side and their support for staying on the field, warmly applauding the victors.
“I’m thrilled to bits for the boys,” said McFarlane.
“Their focus and mental strength has been second to none. Our team is made up of an unlikely bunch of characters who have been thrown together due to various circumstances but they are all Hawick lads and have all been 100 per cent committed to Hawick YM throughout this season without a single penny changing hands.
“The will to win got them through though and I’m incredibly proud of every single one of the players. We have to thank everyone who has given up their time to support the YM in one way or another during the season.”
Hawick YM will play in the championship next season as one of the Top 40 club sides in Scotland.
Hawick YM: C. Ritson; M. Graham, S. Mcleod, D. Mccracken, G. Desport; A. Weir, B. Campbell; B. Lilly, G. Douglas, W. Blacklock, G. Petrie, S. Mabon, S. Graham, R. Scott, R. Hogg. Subs: A. Turnbull, C. Robson, R. Armstrong.
NATIONAL DIVISION ONE
P W D L F A B Pts
Hawick YM 22 21 0 1 691 249 14 98
Musselburgh 22 20 0 2 794 219 14 94
Myfield Wands 22 14 0 8 800 275 19 75
Dunfermline 22 16 0 6 595 286 11 75
RHC 22 13 0 9 532 478 10 62
Kilmarnock 20 11 1 8 503 400 8 54
Ellon 22 9 0 13 416 538 7 43
Langholm 21 8 0 13 306 529 5 37
Edin Uny Blues 21 7 0 14 426 531 7 32
Linlithgow 22 5 1 16 202 512 5 27
Garnock 22 4 1 17 218 579 5 23
Livingston 22 0 1 21 166 1053 1 0