Hawick finished their pre-season schedule with another defeat in Northumberland on Saturday as Tynedale ran out comfortable winners.
The visitors had their moments, most notably Darcy Graham’s first-half touchdown, but their penchant for turnovers and basic mistakes, albeit in difficult conditions, gifted their hosts a simple three tries to one victory.
“A bit disjointed as we took 27 players so there was always going to be disappointments with constant interchanging of players,” said head coach Nikki Walker.
“Both Darlington and Tynedale put up big, physical challenges. They asked questions of us and gave us a good test.
“The result at the end of the day is not massively important,
“But we did sit down post-match to have a long talk about what needs to improve and where we need to put more work in to make sure that we are 100 per cent ready for the start of the season.”
Hawick rolled into Corbridge, Northumbria, on Saturday looking to secure what captain Bruce McNeil had called “a momentum-building performance ahead of a tough season opener” but what they ended leaving with was another loss that left more questions than answers.
“Conditions played a part on Saturday, there is no denying it. That said we should have been able to deal with Tynedale and not make silly mistakes that cost us,” said utility back Ali Weir.
Hawick were the better side in the opening quarter, taking the lead through Scotland Under-21-star Graham, who finished off a blistering attacking move that had many spectators believing the Robbie Dyes would come away from Northumbria with a comprehensive victory.
But it was clear Tynedale, using the tough December-like conditions as their support, were much better than advertised, eventually exposing Hawick’s deficiencies.
Dictating the pace with their big, physical front eight, the hosts smothered Hawick preventing them from playing their favoured wide-style of rugby and dragging them into a close-quarters ground and pound battle.
The English National League two side rumbled over a pair of forward-oriented scores, one converted, to take a 12-5 half-time lead before a third came after the break to complete the scoring and leave Hawick winless heading into the 2016/17 season.
“We didn’t play terribly, we just couldn’t play our wide blend of rugby,” added Weir.
“The tempo was high but It was a game that was played in close and we should have done better to adapt.
“It’s a game we probably needed.
“We put in a good performance against the professionals of Darlington and I think this brought us back down to earth.
“Tynedale showed us there are areas where we still need work, and hopefully once this week is over we will be in good shape heading into Saturday’s league opener against Stirling County.”