Opening day defeeat for Greens

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Hawick 16

Aberdeen 23

HAWICK opened their league account back in the Premiership with a narrow defeat to Aberdeen at Mansfield Park this afternoon.

The Greens were without captain Greg Cottrell and Rory Hutton through injury but were able to call on Edinburgh professionals Gregor Hunter and Rory McAlpine.

And it was former Gala man Hunter at stand off who stood out with a particularly impressive performance.

The Greens got off to a lightning quick start, but an early Hunter penalty was cancelled out by his opposite number Rob Aloe soon after.

Still the hosts looked the more threatening and Keith Davies thought he’d scored when he took advantage of sloppy Aberdeen play at the lineout, only for the referee to adhudhe the Hawick skipper had knocked the ball on.

He was at the cutting edge of Hawick’s next attack as Greg Anderson burst through the middle and released Davies, only for Will Wardlaw to complete a last gasp tackle.

Peceli Nacamavuto showed what he had to offer with a scything break, but the attack was ended with a spilled pass.

Hawick proved more clinical when the forwards battered on and Hunter created an overlap for Gary Johnstone to go over. And Hunter added the extras to increase their advantage.

Aloe kicked another penalty to reduce the deficit, but Hunter again showed his mettle with a huge boot from the halfway line.

However, right on the stroke of half-time Sam Bingham scored his first try of the afternoon.

And soon after the restart he notched his second to give Aberdeen a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

It was looking ominous for Hawick when Morgan Ward added another try and Aloe converted.

But a Hunter penalty ensured an exciting finish as he dragged the Greens to within seven points of the visitors.

However, despite some late pressure, with the held of replacements Wullie Blacklock and Matt Landels in the scrum, Hawick couldn’t find a breakthrough and had to settle for a losing bonus point.

HAWICK: A. Weir, N. McColm, L. Armstrong, G. Johnstone, G. Anderson, G. Hunter, B. Campbell, S. Muir, L. Gibson, L. Launders, R. McAlpine, K. Willison, S. Graham, K. Davies and B. McNeil. Replacements: M.Landels, W. Blacklock, C. Smith, S. McLeod and J. Parker.