Hawick woke up in time to preserve their status as one of Scotland top 10 sides with a 23-20 victory over Edinburgh Accies.
Down 20-6 deep into the second half, Hawick summoned the sorcery of the rugby gods to stun Edinburgh Accies, who looked the part of spoilers for 60 minutes, in what will undoubtedly be one of the greatest comebacks in Hawick club history.
When skipper Bruce McNeil sneaked over from five meters out and Lee Armstrong added the conversion and penalty, completing a 23-20 victory that defied the bounds of credulity and secured the Robbie Dyes BT Premiership status, his teamates rushed the field and hugged anyone who moved.
“We weren’t looking great heading into the second half,” said McNeil.
“We actually started the game pretty well for a change, putting them under pressure and looking good but then we went away from what we were doing well and they got a couple of easy points, our heads went down and they looked comfortable.
“We switched-off and they started getting points, it was really difficult.
“I wouldn’t have said the result was ever in any doubt, as I knew we had the talent to turn it around, I just didn’t know if we would be able to get going to get it back on our terms in time. I thought we had left it too late.”
The Greens trailed by 14 points with 23 minutes and 34 seconds remaining in the second half – never really looking like the team from the higher division or one that had shown they were capable of winning – and they still, somehow, won.
Theywon because man-of-the-match and talismanic club captain McNeil spotted the narrowest of gaps in Accies’ defence when standing with possession five metres out after the Edinburgh side had be pinged for a penalty.
McNeil gambled with a tap and go to touch down and the rest is now history.
“Thankfully it worked and I don’t need to move out of Hawick,” added McNeil.
“When I had the ball in my hands three meters out I had a plan, quick-tap penalty was all I was thinking, but I knew if I messed it up it could be curtains.
“I was thinking our restarts hadn’t been that great all afternoon so I thought if we had gone for the three points and then they kicked off and won the ball back we might fall short. So I went for the quick-tap and they were too slow off their line to stop me.
“It wasn’t exatly how we wanted to win the game but we managed to get there in the end. Everyone worked hard and it was a team effort to keep us where we belong in the Premiership.”