HAWICK coach Phil Leck has hailed Saturday’s team performance.
And he wasn’t just talking about the players on the pitch who extended their unbeaten run in the National League to ten matches and leapfrogged Watsonians at the top of the table.
Some 70 or so volunteers helped clear Mansfield Park of snow on Saturday morning, allowing the game to go ahead.
Leck said: “At 8.30am there were probably 30 people, by 9am there were 60 people and by half past there were two snow ploughs, quad bikes, people with trailers, people shovelling snow.”
And although it resembled more of a ploughed field at the start and a quagmire by full-time, the efforts from the hardy home supporters were well worth it as the Greens gained a vital bonus point win over Kelso.
“As we were taking it off you could tell it was soft. But at the end of the day we’ve played it soft before and to be fair we’ve probably wrecked it. But five points is what we wanted and that’s what we’ve got,” added Leck.
It was Kelso who took the lead with a penalty from Murray Hastie, but Lee Armstrong levelled proceedings after 15 minutes when the visitors strayed off-side.
Both teams were struggling in the early exchanges and handling was poor with a host of dropped passes and knock-ons.
After a series of Kelso infringements referee Neil Muir eventually lost patience and sent Tom Wilson to the sin bin.
And Hawick took immediate advantage when Rory Hutton launched a high kick and Armstrong juggled before gathering. The ball was worked wide and Scott McLeod scorched down the right wing to score.
Armstrong’s conversion effort fell short but he was back with an almost carbon copy of that attempt just a minute later.
Straight from the restart Lindsay Gibson barged forward and a kick ahead was taken on by McLeod and then Davies before John Coutts dived over for his first of three tries.
Although the conversion was again missed, Armstrong made amends just after the interval with a penalty.
Hawick continued to press and captain Greg Cottrell, Gibson and David Lowrie were to the fore.
Cottrell was instrumental in Hawick’s third try of the afternoon as he picked up a loose ball and darted past despairing tackles, popping a pass up for Coutts to go over.
A rout looked to be on the cards, but it was Kelso who scored next against the run of play when they intercepted inside their own 22 and broke up field with former Greens star Michael Robertson finishing the move off.
Any hopes of a comeback, however, quickly disappeared and after Gary Johnstone went close Neil McColm grabbed the bonus point try, flying in down the left wing after strong running from Hutton and Davies.
Three minutes later and it was Kieran Willison’s turn to score, with Armstrong adding the conversion.
And there was plenty time for the home side to add a further try. A great break from replacement Graham Hogg – a late call-up for Steven Anderson who was forced to withdraw before kick-off due to injury – saw him pass a bewildered Kelso defence and pass to Coutts who notched his second hat-trick for Hawick in as many games.
Craig Smith was shown a yellow card late on and Kelso were awarded a penalty try, but it couldn’t take the shine off a muddy, but fully merited win.
READ GRAHAM HOGG INTERVIEW IN FRIDAY’S PAPER