Hawick’s BT Premieship victory over Edinburgh Accies may not have been pretty or scintillating – but they did the necessary for a vital win.
Victory at Accies’ expense reinforces the sense that momentum is increasingly with the Robbie Dyes and with damage inflicted on close rivals Gala by Melrose, the Greens’ objective of a top-four finish has moved a lot closer with one game remaining.
Both sides toiled in the freezing conditions and on a deteriorating playing surface, but Hawick kept to a settled game, while Accies’ attacking threat was more fitful.
Quality was in short supply due to the incessant penalty and handling errors in the opening half, but while Accies were still digesting their opening-minute yellow card to Duncan Morrison, John Coutts crept home in the corner for the game’s first try.
The winger was granted freedom of the pitch by the visitors who struggled to cope with the pacy hands from Greg Cottrell and Rory Hutton that had opened the gap for the score. Lee Armstrong’s conversion attempt fell short, but the full-back extended Hawick’s advantage five minutes later, comfortably guiding a penalty home which left the Greens ahead 8-0 after 26 minutes.
For Accies, the inevitable anxiety crept in as they looked to avoid an ignominious relegation, which was confirmed at full-time with Boroughmuir’s victory over Glasgow Hawks.
The visitors resorted to throwing long, risky passes, launching counter-attacks with little support which were compounded by poor decision-making. They embodied a desperate side who failed to muster any real threat to Hawick’s try-line.
During a rare foray into the Greens half, Accies did, however, manage to cause enough problems at the lineout to force Mike McKee into tackling Ronan Seydak in the air, resulting in a yellow card for the Hawick lock. But the visitors couldn’t find a way through as the home side held onto their 8-0 lead.
The second half started with a series of frenzied attacks by the Edinburgh side, but for all their intent, Accies only had one converted try nine minutes after the interval from Alex Glashan to show for their efforts, against a pair of Armstrong penalties as Hawick chiselled out a comfortable win.
The Greens now sit on the brink of history with three titles not beyond the realms of possibility. And much credit is due to thetheir management and coaching staff for their ability to coax such a strong renaissance from a campaign that had once been on the brink of unravelling.
Hawick: L. Armstrong, N. Walker, J. Coutts, J. Dominguez, S. McLeod, R. Hutton, G. Cottrell, S. Muir, L. Gibson, M. Landels, M. McKee, B. McNeil, N. Mactaggart, K. Davies, R. Scott. Replacements: N. McLennan, S. Fairbairn, R. Gibson, S. Goodfellow, N. Renwick.