Hawick like ‘Real Madrid of rugby’

HAWICK played a game of anything you can do we can do better at Mansfield Park on Saturday.

After racing into a 14-0 lead inside the first seven minutes, the Greens answered everything Hamilton threw at them.

And as the scoreline suggests, there was plenty thrown – in both directions.

If their west-coast visitors scored, then Hawick scored too. If they kicked a conversion, then Neil Renwick slotted one as well.

And when Chris Stannage raced from his own line to touch down for a superb score in the second half, Rory Hutton bettered it by bobbing and weaving his way through desperate tackles to cross the whitewash.

An exhausted coach Phil Leck told the Hawick News: “It was like when you tease a cat with a piece of string, that’s what they did to me today.

“One of the boys said in the changing room we were like the Real Madrid of rugby, if they score one we’ll score more, and that’s what it was like.

“I’m still in shock. What a great result. What a strange result though.”

There was no hint of the drama to unfold as Scott McLeod and Nick Mactaggart went over for early scores, and Neil Renwick, returning from a back injury, added the conversions.

Andy Hill replied for Hamilton, and Owen McLeish kicked the extras, but Hawick kept up the pressure and the bonus point was in the bag by 20 minutes following tries from Craig Smith, who enjoyed arguably his best match in a Greens jersey, and Neil Renwick, the latter having no problems with the conversion attempts.

It was Hamilton’s first ever visit to the home of the Greens and they weren’t there to simply make up the numbers.

With Hawick a man short as a result of a yellow card for youngster Stuart Graham, John Selfridge reduced the deficit with a converted try.

But, as was the way with this match, the Greens always had the upper hand and Keith Davies took advantage of great work from Lee Armstrong and Steven Anderson to charge over.

Winger Anderson was in the thick of the action minutes later. McLeod chased down his opposite number and won possession inside the ‘22. Anderson was on hand in support and passed to Hutton, but his swivel and stretch landed just in touch.

Hamilton hit back before the break with another Hill try and when Stannage hacked on from his own five-metre line and won the race to touch down, suddenly there were only seven points separating the two sides.

Step up stand-off Hutton. When he took the ball deep inside his own half there looked to be little danger. A trademark burst and a bob and a weave later, followed by a neat exchange with Smith and he was under the posts as the Hamilton defence was left chasing shadows.

And he added a second score just five minutes later, capitalising on another monumental effort from the Greens forward pack.

Renwick had the luxury of missing a penalty after Dirk Danen was penalised for a high tackle on Gary Johnstone.

But the visitors weren’t finished just yet and Hill grabbed his hat-trick of tries.

Armstrong managed to cancel that outwith a try of his own, before play raced up the other end and Stannage notched his third score of the afternoon.Amazingly Hill quickly took a drop goal for the conversion and despite the ball clearly missing, to the left of the upright, Gala referee Ian Heard awarded the two points.

The decision was academic, though, as deep into injury time Graham made up for his earlier misdemeanour by going over in the corner to complete the scoring.

Leck added: “If we’re going to compete then we need to keep that attacking intensity, but we’ve got to learn to defend and to defend our set piece better.

“The amount of work we’ve done on it, it should be there by now, but they’re like naughty schoolkids, they just don’t want to do that.”