A resilient Hawick side’s well-deserved victory over Kelso was due to their ability to adapt the better of the two teams to the dreadful conditions at Mansfield Park on Saturday.
The Greens were in need of some important game time following the cancellation of the cup match against Hawick YM the week before, and although the atrocious weather dashed any hopes of flowing rugby, the Robbie Dyes did at least get a run-out ahead of the visit of Premiership leaders Gala to Mansfield Park tomorrow (Saturday).
Kelso’s inexperience, which was compounded by dropped passes and general sloppy play, allowed Hawick to open the scoring early on. Lee Armstrong breaking the fragile visitors’ defensive line with ease, before linking up with Keith Davies who rounded off a well-worked try under the posts. Neil Renwick goaled the conversion.
Seizing on Kelso’s continuing struggles in the testing conditions, Hawick managed opened up a comfortable lead through flanker Rory Scott and stand-off Greg Cottrell, both of whom capitalised on basic Kelso mistakes for a two-try burst, with Neil Renwick adding the conversions.
Despite these early setbacks, Kelso managed to get themselves back into the contest, sustaining good pressure on the Hawick back line, before taking full advantage of some slack play by the home side. Andy Tate hacking a loose ball through for Mark Wilson to collect and cross over for their opening try. Mathew Douglas landed the conversion.
The Poynder Park outfit, who were aided by the wind in the opening half, added three successive penalties from the boot of Douglas, cutting Hawick’s lead to five points. But their comeback was shortlived as they were unable to add to their tally from here on.
The closing stages of the first period saw the match becoming somewhat farcical, with the two sides practially indistinguishable from the other, and a succession of passes from both sets of players going astray.
When the teams emerged after the break, both sides resembled something close to their usual look, however that luxury was short lived as the conditions worsened. Heavy rain and strong winds made any brand of rugby nigh on impossible, with credit due to both teams for continuing to make a contest of the match.
Hawick managed to secure an important bonus point, again through the influence of Armstrong who finished off a move he started to cross over under the posts, with Renwick adding the extras to maintain his 100 per cent record.
A serious injury to Hawick prop Shawn Muir saw the referee making the decision to abandon the game after 63 minutes, thus avoiding further injuries, and much to the relief of the players and last remaining spectators.