Hawick v Gala
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11th February 2017 - HAWICK 16, GALA 6

The best known rivals in Scottish rugby met in cold, wet and windy conditions for this crucial BT Premier league match which would leave the losers staring relegation in the face. A large support for both teams braved the elements and gave a loud and lively backdrop to the game.

As expected, with Hawick playing with the wind initially, the Greens had the upper hand in the kicking department and against a very stuffy defence managed to force a number of kickable penalties, mainly from ruck offences. Hawick’s Ali Weir struck three out of four between the posts while his opposite number, Gregor Hunter, managed two against the wind before half-time. The play was tense and tight with both sides on edge, which resulted in some bad-tempered incidents including when the Green’s scrum half, Campbell was yellow-carded for taking the law into his own hands when a maroon-clad leg deliberately lay over the ball in a ruck! The Hawick crowd looked worried at half-time, when 9-6 seemed a small margin to face the wind after the interval!

The second-half saw the visitors throwing themselves against a staunch Hawick defence in which MOTM David Lowrie, and the McNeil brothers were outstanding. The pressure got to the Hawick captain when he was sinned binned for over-enthusiastic conversations with the referee! Hawick were briefly reduced to 13 men when flanker Stewart Graham, was yellow carded for a clumsy tackle on Hunter which saw him leave the field with a head injury. Despite the numerical advantage, Gala were unable to break the Hawick defence and, with increasing desperation as time rolled on and with the Hawick forwards gaining the upper hand, tried to run the ball in front of their own posts. A dropped pass gave Kyle Brunton an opportunity to pounce on the ball and dive over for a converted try giving Hawick a precious 10 point lead with less than 10 mins on the clock.

Gala threw everything at the home defence but were unable to break the Hawick line. An opportunity to gain a precious losing bonus point was missed when a penalty in front of the Hawick posts was taken quickly, just as the kicking tee was being brought onto the field. The game ended shortly afterwards with the home crowd feeling more relieved than elated and with a great deal of genuine sadness that their old rivals were facing the drop to NL 1 next season.