greens score at will as they trounce armstrong’s charges

BIGGAR are sponsored by a renewable energy company but it was Hawick who were full of beans on Saturday.

Fresh from defeat at Watsonians the men from Mansfield Park had the wind in their sails and simply blew the opposition away.

They made sure it was to be no happy homecoming for former coach Derek Armstrong and Teri exiles Alistair Marsh, Craig Russell and Rory Sutherland.

For the latter, in particular, it was a disappointing day as the heavy defeat was compounded by a shoulder injury and an early departure from the match.

But this wasn’t about players of the past, this was about the current crop, who produced the performance of the season so far to thrash their South Lanarkshire opponents.

Ten tries, nine conversions and a penalty – and coach Phil Leck admitted afterwards it could have been more.

He said: “We’ve made lots of mistakes but we’ve still come away with 71 points. I’m trying to prove to them that by how we play that that is the way we’re going to open sides up and it did time and time again which was good.”

While Hawick were boosted by the inclusion of Rory Hutton in their ranks after he recovered from a shoulder injury, Biggar arrived with a threadbare squad due to injuries and suspensions – the most notable absentee being former Greens captain Bruce McNeil.

Still, they took the lead with a Craig Parker penalty, although this was quickly cancelled out by the boot of Neil Renwick as Hawick clicked into gear –and that gear was overdrive.

The talented full-back was at his best as he scythed through the Bigger defence and a neat exchange with Gary Johnstone saw him flip a pass up for Stuart Graham to open the try account.

Man-of-the-match Lee Armstrong followed up in the opposite corner and played a key role as Hutton galloped in from 40 yards to stretch their lead.

Renwick was just warming up, with two conversions under his belt, when his afternoon was cut short by injury and he was replaced by Graham Hogg.

That thrust Armstrong into kicking duties and the outside centre, who was moved to full-back, was a more-than-able depute, slotting a conversion after winger Steven Anderson had powered home.

Parker hit back with a penalty right on the interval, but that would end the scoring for the visitors, while the home support was left wondering if the intensity could be maintained after the break.

That was emphatically answered and after conceding a succession of penalties Keith Davies sprung them back into action, dragging Michael Dunlop along the ground back towards his own line. Possession was quickly turned over and Lindsay Gibson barged on, with support from Hogg and Nick Mactaggart, while Shawn Muir was on hand to take the final pass and touch down.

The tries kept coming and just minutes later Hogg was instrumental in punching a hole through the Biggar rearguard and Craig Smith crashed over.

With the visitors clearly struggling, the only thing stopping Hawick from scoring was Hawick themselves as handling errors and over-excitement caused a brief pause in the scoreboard.

Normal service was resumed though when Hutton hoisted a high up-and-under and Armstrong claimed the ball superbly before showing the desperate defenders a clean pair of heels.

It seemed as though every Biggar player was limping in one way or another and their cause wasn’t helped by huge tackles from Greens captain Greg Cottrell, forwards Liam Launders and Gibson, and Hogg and Johnstone, in particular.

And Hawick were certainly in no mood to show any sympathy as Graham grabbed his second score of the match with ten minutes remaining.

With time running out it was a question of how many Hawick could score and they didn’t disappoint as Anderson and Scott McLeod combined superbly for the latter too go over.

And it was only fitting that the club’s top scorer, Davies, got in on the act when he romped home and rounded off the scoring with his seventh try of the season.