Hawick v Peebles
Despite the cold weather, there was a reasonable support for this Booker Border League match against Peebles. The Hawick coaches had selected a development team from all the Hawick clubs, partly to give the younger players an opportunity and partly to rest first team players in what is a very overcrowded season. With Peebles giving some of their younger players a chance, this led to an entertaining and highly competitive game in which several future Greens players showed their potential.
The game started well for the home team when, after 7 minutes, the Greens put in a strong drive in mid-field, the ball was moved quickly to Sam Bandeen and the winger outpaced the defence for a good try converted by Kyle Brunton. Peebles regrouped and put in a sustained spell of pressure and possession that eventually led to scrum half Johnstone, going over near the posts, although the conversion was missed.
Shortly afterwards, the visitors showed good handling and running skills when winger King finished off a good move with another unconverted try. The home side were stung into action and raised their game as the interval approached, and a sustained period of forwards pressure in the Peebles 22 produced a gap for the backs to exploit as Bandeen reached the corner for his second try. Brunton added the extras with an excellent conversion from the touchline and the Greens went in for half-time 14-10 to the good.
The Greens looked less well organised as the second half started and poor handling in their own 22 led to an easy Peebles try under the posts converted by Ginnia to take the lead. This seemed to focus the Hawick players who raised their game and encamped in the visitors red zone, leading to an inch-perfect chip from Grant Huggan to the right corner for Kirk Ford to win the sprint for an unconverted try putting Hawick back in the lead at 19-17 with 20 mins remaining.
However, this Peebles side were not to be beaten and were able to take advantage of some Hawick errors and indiscipline, with their strong running back division finding gaps in the mid-field and on 32 mins, they managed an unconverted try in the right corner to re-take the lead at 19-22. The young Greens showed good spirit and commitment and threw everything at the visitors as time ran out and it was only when Peebles’ Ginnia converted a penalty in extra time for a 19-25 lead that the game was decided.
The Greens support were reassured that there is a good deal of promising talent in the town for the future and it was also encouraging to see that a composite Hawick fifteen can produce such a competitive performance.