Hawick v Gala
Hawick welcomed old-rivals Gala to Mansfield Park for a Booker Border League clash to open their home fixtures for the season 2017-18.
The home side started with the wind in their favour and found themselves 15 points up in as many minutes. The Greens kept their visits pinned in their own half during the opening exchanges and new recruit from Kelso Dom Buckley crashed through from close range for Ali Weir to convert. Youngster Lewis Ferguson benefitted from a Gala error as he picked up to sprint to the line following a kick-chase led by skipper McNeil. A penalty goal by Weir completed a blistering start by the Greens.
The visitors were able to stem the tide temporarily as winger Wilkinson finished off a bout of handling for Hunter to convert. Shortly after, however, the 15 point margin was restored when another of Hawick’s new recruits – winger Ross Combe stepped his way past three defenders to touchdown against his former club. Weir’s conversion was successful in making the score 22-7, after 25 minutes. The remainder of the half saw plenty of endeavour when didn’t produce any more points as players were possibly pushing things too much as bouts of ’15 a side sevens’ were the order of the day.
After the interval, Gala started to control the game and pinned the home side deep in their own half. The Hawick pack, with evergreen Landels (replacing the injured Little after 30 mins) and Fairbairn on for the injured Keith McNeil (just on half time) were up against an improving visiting eight.
On 50 minutes Hawick made three changes Anderson , ex-Jed player Munro and Davies replaced Ferguson, Cottrell and Graham respectively. Gala almost immediately cashed in as Hawick re-organised as a wayward pass gave the visitors a strong foothold and following a scrum, Hunter initiated a run around move and Jeffrey run through unopposed for Hunter to further cut the deficit with the conversion. This score was almost inevitable as Gala had passed up a well-worked overlap, while full-back Speirs had been tackled into touch near the home line.
Five minutes later Gala made the score 22-21 as Hunter cut through the Hawick defence and ran in, without a hand being laid on him, from the 22m line, his conversion was successful.
Hawick introduced player-coach Hamilton at this point and he immediately made this presence felt as from a close range line-out the Hawick pack drove over for Landels to touch down after a previous attempt had been illegally stopped. Weir missed the conversion to leave the game intriguingly poised at 27-21.
The final fifteen minutes saw the visitors in the ascendency however, the home defence held firm and in fact one of the best scoring opportunities came Hawick’s way when a breakout involving Anderson, Armstrong (twice) and Brunton nearly ended positively. Gala ended the game pressing in the home 22m area until a final dropped pass ended the chance to record a victory. Hawick ended with Brunton in the bin and fourteen greens working overtime to thwart Gala.
Hawick ended up with a bonus-point win in their first Booker Border League game of the season.
Hawick – Weir, Ferguson, Armstrong, Buckley, Combe, Brunton and Cottrell. Carryer, Renwick, Little, K McNeil, Redpath, Graham, B McNeil, Gibson.
Replacements - Landels, Hamilton, Fairbairn, Anderson, Davies and Munro.