Christmas arrived a little early for Hawick with the reward last week of their first away league win in almost exactly a year.
In torrid conditions last week at Balgray, they came from behind with another measured and controlled tactical display to defeat Glasgow Hawks 10-7.
The success came within a day of the first anniversary of their last Premieship away triumph against Marr.
Head coach George Graham said his side had not panicked and had managed the game well while retaining their composure (match report on p30).
Graham said he was delighted to see the Robbie Dyes record their third straight win – but this Saturday’s visit by Watsonians would be a different proposition entirely.
“I was very pleased with the character the boys showed,” he said. “The conditions were horrendous for both sides – we made plenty errors and so did Hawks. But, in the second half, we showed a little more composure. We controlled the ball and controlled the territory a lot more than they did.”
The players stuck to the task and a great deal of the success was attributable to the forwards, said the coach.
“They did really well but the backs played their part defensively,” he added. “I thought they were excellent and everybody played their part.
“The boys will take a lot of confidence from that, as that’s three games on the run they have won, so we need to take the confidence from that into Watsonians , which is a different game.
“Watsonians gave us a bit of a spanking (54-14) when we were up there last time,” admitted Graham. “But, by the same token, we have played against teams who have put a lot of points past us and managed to beat them. So, confidence is key – but, more than that, we have to make sure we execute the plays we have practised and make sure we play in the right areas of the field.”
The players knew what they needed to do and have confidence that what they were doing was working, said Graham.
Both teams would want to finish on a high before Christmas and Hawick’s form at Mansfield Park was very good.
“We are getting better – we are managing to find a way to win,” said Graham. “The conditions on Saturday were different to weeks gone by but we managed to grind out a win. Our scrum was under a lot of pressure in the first half but the boys dug in there and worked really hard, and we started to be the dominant scrum inthe second half.
“Our lineout functioned well, although we made a few mistakes, but so did Hawks.
“It was not really a game for the supporters – more for the purists. There was a lot of tight play going on and I think, generally, we came out on top of that. They put a lot of pressure on our line but the boys stuck to their guns.
“We kept everybody on the field, kept the penalty count down as much as we could, and forced turnovers when we needed to. That’s what releases the pressure valve, and we capitalised. We worked our way down the field and kept them in that area.”
Watsonians were a top five team, said Graham, but Hawick had beaten Currie, Stirling County, Edinburgh Accies, Hawks and Gala.
“We need to make sure we turn up and do the things we know we are capable of doing.”