Hawick v Marr
The weather was cold but clear for this BT Cup 2nd round tie as Hawick welcomed visitors Marr RFC for their first visit to Mansfield Park. Marr, enjoying a good winning streak in NL1, were seen by the home fans as a potential threat and they were glad to see a full strength Greens side in the program.
The game began with a tight up-front match with Hawick forcing a penalty on the Marr 22 after only 4 mins, which Weir knocked over easily. The visitors returned the compliment shortly afterwards with a similar distance penalty from stand-off Sturgeon. Marr were competing strongly at this stage and giving the Hawick defence work to do when home hooker, Renwick, was sent to the bin for 10 mins for a tip-tackle offence. However, if anything, the Hawick side seemed to up their game as winger Graham made a blindside break, fed inside as he was tackled and Cottrell was in support to run in under the posts, with Weir adding the extras.
Hawick made a mess of several chances and the Marr forwards forced several turn overs at scrums, line outs, and rucks to put pressure on the home side. visitors stand-off, Sturgeon, reduced the deficit with a fine penalty attempt from the 10 metre line which went over off the crossbar for a narrow 10-6 lead to Hawick at half-time.
Whatever coach Walker said at half-time seemed to work wonders as the home side produced their best 10 mins of the game immediately from the kick-off. Firstly, from open play, the Hawick backs set up a break on the right wing finished off by Armstrong in the corner. Weir knocked over a lovely conversion from the touchline. Then, after Sturgeon failed to take advantage of a penalty, Hawick winger Graham produced a lovely chip and chase on the right wing to score his second try, with Weir adding two points off the woodwork. This made the score 24-6 and for the first time in the game, the Marr players looked off the pace and the crowd sensed that the game was safe with 30 mins still to play.
In fact, both teams seemed to go off the boil after these scores and the game slowed into a forwards contest with few moments of excitement. With 5 mins still on the clock - which inexplicably counted backwards throughout the entire second half - MOTM Darcy Graham with a lovely run past several defenders went under the posts for his second try. Ali Weir finished off fine kicking performance with the extra points for a final score of 31-6 to the Greens.
The scoreline was perhaps a little flattering to the winners but there was no doubt that the home side were faster and more accurate on the ball, and despite Marr’s forward huge efforts, they found it difficult to make progress over the gain line against the firm Mansfield defence. Overall, this was a typical cup-tie played with spirit and Marr have every reason to feel satisfied with their efforts against an experienced Premiership