Dominant Hawick bolster top-four credentials

Lee Armstrong, seen here against Boroughmuir at the end of last season, had a great day with the boot at Meggetland on Saturday.
Lee Armstrong, seen here against Boroughmuir at the end of last season, had a great day with the boot at Meggetland on Saturday.

An impressive Hawick side “moved up a gear” to record their third consecutive BT Premiership win with a 31 points to 18 victory at Meggetland on Saturday.

The Robbie Dyes, who also gained some overdue revenge for their BT Cup final defeat at the hands of Boroughmuir in April, have now replaced their city rivals in the top four. And since losing three of their four opening games, the Greens have won their last three league contests, while posting an average margin of victory of 35.6 points, the highest in the division over that stretch.

Few teams have been able to match Hawick’s outstanding pace of late which full-back Ali Weir attributes to a renewed sense of belief and confidence.

He said: “In our past three games we have really kicked on and started to play like the Hawick team we really know we can be.

“We started the season with a tough stretch of games and we weren’t really playing the way we wanted, but now, after racking up some great performances, we’ve really moved up a gear and are playing with a confidence that should frighten people.

“In the six games so far this season I would say Saturday was our best performance. We seemed to have complete control and there was a 20-minute period at the end of the first half where Boroughmuir simply couldn’t handle us. We ran play after play without much resistance.”

Weir continued: “Without overemphasising the victory, I do believe that the result and performance will make a lot of people look up and take notice. This year we have a unit that I would say is the best side I’ve been involved with in my eight years at the club, and I’ve played with some Greens greats. It is a squad which is deep and has the talent to really take it to everyone this year.”

Hawick were simply dominant throughout the contest, controlling possession and territory, in a statement game to prove that they truly belonged in the play-off conversation, and one where revenge for a hugely disappointing cup final loss was also on their minds.

“We had this game circled for multiple reasons, not least because we wanted to exact some revenge for that cup final,” added Weir.

“I am not going to say revenge was our only motivation because there were a lot of other reasons why we wanted the win but we did want it a little more.

“We are in the play-offs as we talk now and it’s a great victory to have earned, one that definitely makes us more relevant in the division, but it is still only one win. There’s a lot more work to be done before we’ve nailed down a top-four place.”

Led by Armstrong, who scored 11 points, the Greens set the tone early, beginning the game much stronger as they pushed forward through Craig Russell, Sean Goodfellow and a powerful front eight.

Armstrong booted the first of his five place-kicks to put Hawick 3-0 up. And although the hosts responded with a three-pointer of their own through Robbie Steel, the Greens went on to rampage through the Meggetland side with 21 unanswered points.

Tries from Russell, Wiaan Griebenow and Weir, Armstrong converting all three, put Hawick in control and 24-6 up at the interval, with Steele adding a second penalty before half-time for Boroughmuir.

Griebenow crossed for his second touchdown and the bonus-point score after the break, with Armstrong landing with his fourth conversion to stretch the Greens’ lead to 31-6.

Muir did stage a brief third-quarter rally, scoring 12 points through Steele’s boot and a touchdown from Callum Reid, but ultimately Hawick were head and shoulders above their hosts and secured the victory along with the Hugh MacMaster Trophy.

Hawick: A.Weir, S. Chapman, R. Hutton, W. Griebenow, C. Russell, L. Armstrong, S. Goodfellow, S. Muir, L. Gibson, N. Little, B. McNeill, C. Charters, N. Mactaggart, R. Scott, K. Davies. Replacements: G. Douglas, M. Landels, S. Graham, R. Gibson, J. Coutts.