Blood, sweat and jeers at historic clash

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ON THE eve of the first ever competitive match between Hawick and the YM a new spirit of cooperation was revealed.

But there was little evidence of that at Mansfield Haugh 24 hours later from both sides amid blood, sweat and jeers, as they went in search of the ultimate local bragging rights.

For several years the Redskins have been very much the noisy neighbours as they have progressed through the divisions.

But they were silenced somewhat by the Greens. And while the scoreline may have flattered the men from Mansfield Park, greater fitness and a razor sharp cutting edge ultimately proved the difference between the two sides.

Phil Leck’s back division was at their sublime best but they more than met their match in the forwards where the pack clad in red caused all sorts of problems.

During a tense and scrappy opening to the match, which was switched to Mansfield Haugh at the last minute when the Greens’ pitch was deemed unplayable, Hawick opened the scoring from the boot of Neil Renwick.

The full-back, who was on the bench for the previous week’s match against Kelso, was a stand out performer racking up 28 points.

But the YM quickly levelled with a penalty from Dean McCracken and continued to excerpt some pressure with winger Greig Wylie breaking through and Garry Douglas taking play on.

Despite their efforts they couldn’t find a way through, whereas their opponents always looked capable going forward.

Rory Hutton, Renwick, David Lowrie and Gary Johnstone all played their part in a quick move down the right but the final pass to Scott McLeod was ruled forward.

Renwick restored Hawick’s advantage with another penalty and Johnstone thought he had scored only for the ball to be held up by YM full-back Michael Graham.

The opening try was merely delayed though. Keith Davies, who had another impressive outing, picked up at the base of a scrum and Renwick twisted and turned his way past despairing tackles to touch down.

He slotted the conversion and it looked like he’d scored try number two just minutes later but referee Rob Dickson ruled it out for a previous infringement.

The YM tried desperately to get a foothold in the match 
and looked to be threatening with a kick to the corner. But Hutton gathered and dodged his way past Wylie and Jason Hendrie before passing to 
Davies who galloped on and found Greg Cottrell on his shoulder with the Greens captain running the length of the half to touch down.

Renwick converted but the game began to turn into a niggly affair with Hutton and McCracken enjoying a difference of opinion and a match-up akin to David and Goliath when YM captain Bruce Campbell and Matt Landels squared up.

The scrappy nature of the game continued into the second half, with the YM, led in the scrum by the powerhouse Wullie Blacklock, trying to rumble play forward.

Hawick repelled their advances and when the backs got hold of the ball alarm bells started ringing.

Cottrell did well at the base of a ruck to send Davies over for a well deserved try, converted by Renwick and then John Coutts was left frustrated as a neat chip ahead and pick-up saw him go over at the corner, only for the referee and touch judge to conspire against him.

The score did come though and it was Renwick again.

The YM, however, still had plenty of fight left in them and when the forwards bullied Hawick on their own line, a series of infringements eventually ended in a penalty try, converted by McCracken.

It was to prove little more than a consolation though as Graham Hogg added try number five and then a tremendous cross-field kick from Renwick was gathered by Craig Smith over the line.

The former converted both and it was up to ex-YM hero Lee Armstrong to complete the scoring and it was only fitting that Renwick had the last say by adding the extras.