Finishing touch eludes winless Hawick

Edinburgh pro John Houston, supported by Matt Landels and Steven Anderson, carries the fight for Hawick at Raeburn Place
Edinburgh pro John Houston, supported by Matt Landels and Steven Anderson, carries the fight for Hawick at Raeburn Place

The Greens remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table and still looking for their first win of the campaign after losing out to fellow strugglers Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place.

The availability of Edinburgh pro John Houston and committed performances from some of their more experienced players including Bruce McNeil and Greg Cottrell offered some hope for a dogged Hawick side that refused to surrender without a fight.

But it was a familiar story when it came to capitalizing on scoring opportunities and the outcome was a sixth successive defeat.

There were worrying signs in the opening ten minutes when the Greens had a decent share of the possession but turned the ball over three times and handed the initiative to the home side.

Accies led 8-0 at that stage through a penalty by Ruaridh Bonner and a try from Jake Knight that came against the run of play.

But the visitors were matching the Edinburgh side for commitment and remained in the game at the break which they reached 13-0 in arrears after Knight had touched down for a second time.

At that point, Hawick could only rue the chances that went begging – Cottrell (pictured) booted a penalty into the danger zone then saw the hosts snaffle ball at the ensuing lineout, Steven Anderson chipped neatly over the heads of the advancing defence but watched as the ball ran agonisingly beyond the dead ball line, then the Greens made it over the whitewash only to be held up.

The visitors also made a positive start to the second half, and applied steady pressure. But once again they were unable to finish off the scoring opportunities, either through ill fortune or a lack of confidence to have a go.

Coach Rocky Johnstone introduced Lee Armstrong at stand-off and moved Cottrell to scrum-half, where his slicker service brought an injection of pace. Armstrong also showed what he could add to the proceedings with a deft kick ahead that just eluded Steven Anderson.

Nevertheless, the Greens were still finding a breakthrough impossible and allowed Accies to regain the upper hand when Greg Campbell crashed over at the corner and Bonner added the conversion.

There was still half-an-hour to go and although the Greens had not opened their account, there was a feeling that a breakthrough might just open the floodgates.

Danny Landels (pictured) entered the fray and McNeil moved to the front row. Again the switch bought renewed vigour to the visitors and they had another spell in the ascendancy. However, once more, the pressure had no impact on the scoreboard and it was left to the home side to snatch the bonus point score in the final minute of the game. Knight, an Australian import who was making his debut, sprinting over to complete his hat-trick.

So, while the Greens could take heart from their efforts, the prospect of finishing in the bottom four and facing a battle to retain top-flight status next season is looming ever larger by the week. It gets no easier, with the next assignment being Saturday’s derby against an in-form Gala outfit at Mansfield Park.

P W D L F A B Pts

Melrose 6 6 0 0 210 109 4 28

Gala 6 5 0 1 146 111 3 23

Dundee 6 4 0 2 177 140 6 22

Boroughmuir 6 3 0 3 158 149 5 17

Ayr 6 4 0 2 116 127 1 17

Currie 6 3 0 3 188 119 4 16

Aberdeen 6 2 0 4 151 155 5 13

Stirling Co 6 2 1 3 135 160 2 12

Edin Accies 6 2 1 3 138 169 2 12

Heriot’s 6 2 0 4 115 156 2 10

G Hawks 6 1 1 4 100 183 1 7

Hawick 6 0 1 5 91 147 3 5