Greens lay bogey to rest with Border Cup win over Selkirk

Graham Hogg squares up to the Selkirk defence at Mansfield Park on Saturday during the RBS Regional Cup match
Graham Hogg squares up to the Selkirk defence at Mansfield Park on Saturday during the RBS Regional Cup match

WHEN asked what he thought about his team’s new strips on Saturday, Hawick captain Bruce McNeil replied “they’re mint”.

Whether he was referring to the rather unusual shade or the fact that while wearing them his team managed to power their way to a rare victory is anyone’s guess. But one thing’s for sure, Hawick certainly managed to breathe some freshness into their performance and come away with a tasty win over their local rivals.

Selkirk were quick off the mark and keen to get points on the board with David Cassidy kicking over a penalty in the third minute.

Deadlock ensued with both teams having their chances at running the ball but neither making much headway.

Hawick were dominating the set-piece and so confident were they in this area that when given the chance to equalise through a penalty they chose to run the ball. The decision paid off and following a massive shove over the line, prop Rory Sutherland came up ball in hand to claim the try. Neil Renwick converted and the Greens moved into the lead.

Now playing with their tails up, the hosts were quickly back into the Selkirk 22 and when another push over was adjudged to have been held up they shipped the ball out to the waiting hands of Keith Davies (pictured) who ran over and touched down, with Renwick adding the extras.

Selkirk tried to get themselves back into it and were awarded a penalty but Cassidy’s long-range attempt fell short. Ultimately it was a Hawick error that led to Selkirk closing the gap with Calum Johnstone grabbing the lose ball just metres from the home line before forcing his way over to score.

Just before the interval, however, Hawick managed to break away again and although they didn’t quite reach the line they did increase their lead through a Renwick penalty.

It was a piece of individual brilliance that got Selkirk back into the game at the start of the second period. Sevens supremo Fraser Harkness scooped up a loose ball in his own half, jinked his way past two or three tackles, ran, chipped ahead and won the race to the Hawick try line to pounce and secure the score. Rory Banks missed the conversion but slotted a penalty minutes later to take the visitors to within a point.

Then came arguably the turning point of the game when Selkirk were reduced to 14 men with 18 minutes of the second half played as Gordon Patterson was handed a straight red for stamping.

Despite the numerical difference the Souters still managed to apply pressure but the disadvantage eventually took its toll and a break by Rory Hutton paid dividends for the Greens when the number ten strolled over for the try which was converted by Renwick.

Hawick continued to make the numbers count and with seven minutes left Sutherland produced an amazing turn of speed for a prop to run in try number four.

Two minutes later the versatile forward did it all again to rack up his third of the game. Renwick converted both to end the scoring.