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Hawick :27 - Currie :26
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 8.10.16

Hawick 27 pts (t 3, c 3, pg 2) v Currie 26 pts (t 4, c 2)

Hawick are not the rugby colossus they once were, but even after their previous week’s mauling, you can never write off the ‘Greens,’ especially in front of their home crowd at Mansfield Park. For the first, and then the final quarter of this match it was all Currie, but either side of halftime Hawick bustled and bludgeoned their way into a lead that they just about managed to keep intact with guts and faultless goal kicking.

Currie continued where they had finished last weekend, with an opening display of fast attacking rugby that stunned both the opposition and the usually vociferous Mansfield crowd. The ‘Greens’ defence was stretched and put under severe pressure; if it were not for their scurrying well-executed cover, Currie could have been in for some early tries. In the first four minutes of play the action never stopped as Currie recycled and probed down both flanks; indeed twenty three minutes had passed before Hawick got into the visitors’ 22, but this was a rare occurrence during most of the first half.

Charlie Shiel made a tremendous break from 40 metres out, and with support to his left and right, a try looked certain, but the Hawick blitz defence did enough to disrupt and the ball bobbled agonisingly forward 5 metres short. Harvey Elms, Cammy Gray and Ben Robbins had electrifying runs that were once again stopped by some heroic tackling. With thirty minutes on the clock, plus the majority of possession and territory going Currie’s way, and as Hawick still hung on, the travelling support were wondering if this was going to be ‘one of those days.’ Finally the visitors got reward for their efforts. The ball moved slickly along the line to Ben Robbins, who, in little space, accelerated for the try line; James Bywater converted. This gave the visitors the fillip that they needed and a few minutes later some more sparkling rugby had Hawick in utter confusion. From the 22, the impressive Cameron Hutchison side-stepped two tacklers for a splendid solo try that James Bywater had no problem converting.

The Currie half of the pitch was a foreign country for the home team, but with halftime looming they made the most of an infrequent visit. The ball moved back and forth across the field, but Currie’s well-organised defence seemed to be in no danger. The ball took a long time to appear from a breakdown 10 metres out; suddenly, the dynamic bulk of Bruce McNeil flew from the heap of players for the line; Ali Weir converted.
From the re-start, Currie once again resumed their assault at the other end, although the home team were now showing more urgency and aggression. In a fine passage of play it looked as if an angled run from Ben Robbins had given Currie another try; unfortunately the referee called play back for a crossing infringement.
Halftime score – Hawick 7 pts, Currie 14 pts
As so often happens at Hawick, the home team were clearly pumped up when they emerged from the dressing rooms at the start of the second half to dominate proceedings. With roles now completely reversed, Currie had difficulty getting out of their 22 and obtaining any possession. Their plight was not helped when Thomas Gordon was binned for holding on. Ali Weir kicked the penalty and a couple of minutes later converted a Jack Cosgrove try, after the home team had bullied their way over the line. Hawick had now established a lead, and when another Ali Weir penalty goal sailed through the posts, they were almost in complete control.

Into the final quarter and the ‘Greens’ were starting to blow and lose some of their steam. Restored to full numbers, the visitors kept plugging away and created a huge overlap, but disastrously the ball never reached the free runners on the wing. The nail-biting stuff continued and eventually Harvey Elms eluded the defence for an excellent try, wonderfully converted by James Bywater.

The one point lead was not maintained for long. Hawick again battered their way to the Currie line, and the visitors crumbled under the pressure; Ali Weir converted Wesley Hamilton’s try. The remaining period of play was all in the ‘Greens’ 22, Luke Crosbie and Steven Ainslie went close as countless phases, only 5 metres out, were repelled. On eighty minutes, Cammy Gray squeezed over, but even after two attempts the difficult conversion could not surpass Hawick’s one point lead. Malleny Park next Saturday v Boroughmuir, KO 3.00pm. IJS, 9.10.16

Updated 10/10/2016 by Ian Gidney