The improvement in the Greens’ form in recent weeks gave heart to the travelling support who made their way to Meggatland for their crucial BT Premiership relegation battle against Boroughmuir. Hawick had, unusually, two visiting professionals available this week and the Hawick coaches had some difficult selection decisions to make prior to the match. The match had the added spice of being for the Hugh MacMaster trophy, which last years winners, Hawick, hoped would be returning to Mansfield Park.
The game started at a fast pace with both teams playing open, wide rugby although handling errors spoiled good chances at first. The home team were quickest into their stride with a try in the corner from flanker MnCube round the back of a ruck. Hawick's Mattie Douglas closed the gap with a penalty from the 22 metre line but ‘Muir extended their lead shortly afterwards with a second MnCube try near the posts after Hawick had failed to convert a long spell of pressure in the home half. This was converted by Laidlaw for a 12-3 lead. Again, a Douglas penalty shortened the gap but near to half-time, the home team scored the try of the match when, against the run of play, Laidlaw put up a pin-point up-and-under for McConnell to collect on the full and run almost to the line from where back-row Keddie was able to drive over under the posts. The conversion gave Muir a 19-6 half-time lead.
Hawick showed their customary grit and determination in the second period when they quickly put pressure on the home defence enabling Hutton to make a half-break, then a kick into the corner for Darcy Graham to chase for an unconverted try. This was followed up by more Hawick success as they drove strongly upfield and gave Graham an opening for a close range second try under the posts for a 19-18 score with the final quarter to come and Hawick looking favourites to score next.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the balance shifted dramatically when their professional prop, Cosgrove, was sin binned for a block tackle. This gave the home side the advantage of more possession and position and they forced a bonus try under the posts as the Greens defence finally loosened. Only a last minute penalty from Douglas gave Hawick the precious losing bonus point and a final score of 26-21.
Hawick now face a very difficult final few games if they are to avoid the drop to National League rugby next season.