A rampant Hawick side’s fluid, run-orientated brand of rugby earned them a well-merited victory in last Friday night’s match in sub-zero conditions at Riverside Park.
Jed-Forest were left chasing the game after a series of dropped passes, poor clearances and general sloppiness which enabled the Greens to run in simple, well-worked tries, all of which were converted by Neil Renwick who maintained a 100 per cent record in front of the posts.
Following the disappointment of narrowly losing to Melrose in their opening cup match, Hawick were looking to avoid making the same early mistakes against a tough Jed-Forest outfit. The opening exchanges this time around were far more promising, though, and straight from the kick-off, Hawick had the home side on the back foot, turning possession over with ease. Bruce Campbell using the turnover to distribute quick ball out to Lee Armstrong who skipped past the home defence before crossing for the opening score of the game. Renwick added the extra points.
The hosts were visibly stunned by Hawick’s early pressure and intensity and compounded matters for themselves by giving away a penalty right in front of the posts following a breakdown infringement. Renwick made no mistake to put the Greens 10-0 up within seven minutes.
Given these early setbacks, Jed did well to get themselves on the front foot for a spell, and sustained pressure on the Hawick back-line saw an Ali Weir pass intercepted by Iain Chisholm who raced in from the halfway line to give the home side their first points, with Chris Laidlaw adding the conversion.
The Greens controlled the remainder of the half and their slick rugby was rewarded with another Armstrong try when he danced his way past the static Jed-Forest defence following quick ball from Campbell at the breakdown. Renwick found his range again with the conversion.
After the break, Jed came out determined to make a real game of it, and Chisholm again capitalised on sloppy Hawick passing, this time from Campbell, timing his interception perfectly to run the length of the pitch and score under the posts, with Laidlaw adding the conversion.
Despite conceding the early try, Hawick has still started the second half the stronger of the two sides, and Wullie Blacklock added to their tally when bulldozing his way over from five metres out, with Renwick kicking the conversion.
The Green Machine clicked into gear at the point and the Robbie Dyes started to show their steely edge and class. Jake Evens receiving a Scott McLeod pass to score easily in the corner, while poor concentration at the ruck gifted Neil McColm a try under the posts.
Renwick converted both to give the visitors a 38-14 advantage going into the final 10 minutes.
Jed were eventually rewarded for their persistence at the scrum, with Declan Wallace forcing his way over in the corner to give the hosts a sliver of hope. That hope, however, was soon extinguished as Armstrong’s quick tap-and-go from a Hawick free-kick saw him race past the Jed defence for his third touchdown. Renwick landed the conversion to stretch Hawick’s lead to 26 points.
The home side had the final say in the closing minutes, with substitute Sean Goodfellow collecting clean ball from Robert Lovett before nothching Jed’s fourth try. Laidlaw rounded off the scoring with the conversion.