Hawick 38 Selkirk 29
Hawick clung on to book their place in round two of the BT Cup with a 38-29 edgy victory over National One high-fliers Selkirk on Saturday.
Hawick’s defensive ghosts continued to haunt them at a damp Mansfield Park over the weekend, but the Robbie Dyes managed to keep them at bay just enough to finally enter the 2017-18 season win column courtesy of five tries and 15-points from the boot of Ali Weir.
“It was our first win of the season and while it wasn’t exactly a pretty performance we got there in the end,” said a relieved Hawick captain Bruce McNeil post-match.
Saturday could have easily ended in an 11th consecutive defeat for the Greens, who conspired to throw victory away by squandering a leading position on five separate occasions and gifting Selkirk easy points through basic defensive errors.
McNeil even admitted the Souters “did more than enough to win the game”, as the visitors dominated possession and territory.
Hawick, however, produced just enough quality when it counted to secure their place in the second round of the Cup and inject some long overdue joy to the Mansfield Park changing rooms.
“There were periods when it could have easily been another defeat as Selkirk played well and did more than enough to win the game,” added McNeil.
“We never really played well but in the end we did just enough and finally got that long overdue win.”
Heading into Saturday’s contest both clubs sat at either end of the form spectrum. Selkirk visited Mansfield Park having won eight of their last ten games and were looking to secure a BT Premiership scalp while Hawick were aiming to record a first win of the season.
Neither club managed to establish a lead or hold it throughout this back-and-forth derby battle until the waning minutes.
Selkirk had taken an early 7-0 advantage with Hawick responding immediately through a Guy Graham touchdown, Ali Weir converting, to level the scores.
By half-time the game was finely balanced at 15-15 as both clubs cancelled each other out with a penalty each and two well-worked forward-dominated scores.
After the interval Hawick, who last won the Cup in 2002, were able to showcase their Premiership pedigree.
The Greens shifted the ball from sideline to sideline, stretching the play enough to take a narrow 31-29 lead into the final minutes before securing victory when Andrew Bailie dotted down, with Weir slotting the conversion.
“A win’s a win and while it wasn’t a great performance hopefully this is the start of something, hopefully it gets the ball rolling in the right direction for us,” continued McNeil.
“The main thing for us was that we got the win. If we play like that this weekend [against Peebles] or even when we play Stirling in the league then we will get a beating, but hopefully the win gives the boys a bit of a confidence boost.
“I felt they did a lot more right and scored three or so tries in areas like the breakdown that we had been working on in training to prevent. Our defense was not pretty again.
“I think boys need to start asking themselves tough questions about if they are up for the challenge or not. Our tackling was not good and I think it’s a mental thing for boys. You either want to tackle or you don’t. Teams are cutting us open too often and clearly big improvements are needed still.
“We’re still a work-in-progress but we got the win and hopefully we can follow that up this weekend against Peebles.”
McNeil extended, on behalf of all at Hawick RFC, well wishes to former Teri star, Neil Renwick, who suffered a dislocated knee playing for Hawick Harlequins on Saturday, saying: “I want to say on behalf of everyone at the club get well soon to Renzo.
“It was a horrendous injury and we are hoping he makes a speedy recovery.”