Gritty Greens dispose of sorry Souters in wind, rain and mud

Scottish Cup second round



IT wasn’t pretty, but at least it was a game of rugby. And the two teams deserve credit for even taking to the field at Philiphaugh on Saturday on what was an absolutely miserable afternoon.

As a result, sometimes the fare on offer was little better.

The Greens at least had the luxury of playing a friendly match against Jed-Forest during the enforced eight-week lay-off because of the wintry weather.

Selkirk didn’t have that luxury, and it showed.

With the wind at their backs, Hawick took the game to their hosts from the off and their early pressure was rewarded when captain Bruce McNeil polished off a fine move by bulldozing his way over at the posts. Their enterprise involved breaks from Rory Hutton and Steven Anderson, while Michael Robertson and Lindsay Gibson took over in the forwards with excellent pick-and-drives.

Hutton added the conversion and the former Edinburgh pro, who showed flashes of his old self with accurate kicking from hand and superb line breaks, kept the scoreboard ticking over as he took possession on the Selkirk 22 and waltzed round their defence to go over in the corner.

The combination of Hutton and Greg Cottrell at scrum-half was providing a perfect platform for the Greens to attack, but Selkirk weren’t helping themselves.

When they were penalised by referee Charles Samson, Hawick were all ready to take a kick at goal. But some overzealous remonstrations from Selkirk’s Fraser Harkness saw the award marched forward 10 yards. And from the scrum, Selkirk’s indisicpline continued to the point where Mr Samson was forced to give the Greens a penalty-try as the Souters recklessly kicked the ball while it was in the set-piece.

Hawick’s endeavors, led by powerhouse forwards McNeil, David Lowrie and Robertson, saw them dominate the line-out and heap pressure on their opponents, but the deteriorating conditions and a stubborn Selkirk defence kept them out.

Scott Hendrie briefly lifted the hopes of the home supporters with a brace of second-half penalties, but for the second time this season on their own turf, Selkirk were unable to breach the Hawick try line.

As the weather got slightly better, the match proceded to get worse and a series of dropped passes from both sides was interspersed with a yellow card to McNeil and further yellows for Lowrie and Selkirk prop Matt Martin.

Only a result of giant-killing proportions by Morgan Academy will now prevent Hawick from qualifying for the last 16 of the competition.

HAWICK: N. Renwick, N. McColm, G. Anderson, G. Johnstone, S. Anderson, R. Hutton, G. Cottrell, B. McNeil, L. Gibson, S. Linton, C. Charters, K. Davies, D. Lowrie, N. Mactaggart and M. Robertson. Replacements: K. Willison, G. Lowrie, C. Ritson and M. Landels