Hawick 23 Watsonians 41
A six-try second-half blitz from Watsonains doom Hawick to a 23-41 home defeat, heaping further pressure on the embattled BT Premiership club.
Leading 13-3 after an all-round solid first-half performance, Hawick imploded after the break, shipping 38 points in a one-sided second half.
Two Ali Weir penalties and a conversion of a Dom Buckley try were erased in the second-half by touchdowns from Andrew Chalmers, who added four conversions and a penalty, James Miller and a brace each from Chris Dean and Rory Drummond as Watsonians comfortably waltzed to the bonus-point victory. Keith Davies and Lewis Ferguson replied for the Greens.
“The first half we looked dangerous, then the second-half happened and there isn’t much to say about that,” said Hawick captain Bruce McNeil, who singled out Edinburgh rugby professional Dean as a major factor in the end result.
“Bringing on a guy like [Chris] Dean makes a massive difference, especially when you’re playing against guys who were pretty fatigued. His professional quality was a big difference.
“I’m not about to say that was the only reason for the loss. We made a number of mistakes that gifted them the game.”
Saturday’s home return presented Hawick with the opportunity to not only secure their first league win of the 2017 season, but pull another side into what is shaping into a race between themselves and Boroughmuir for the relegation play-off place.
After the opening 40 minutes, the Robbie Dyes seemed to have finally found the right formula for success following weeks of struggles. The Greens defended with intensity and dominated the set-pieces with gile. Summer signing Buckley dotted down midway through the half, converted by Weir who added two penalties, which handed Hawick a well-deserved 13-3 lead, then the second-half happened.
Watsonians inserted Edinburgh centre Dean and fellow replacement Drummond into the fray at the break and those changes were enough to doom the Greens to a six successive league defeat.
Dean’s poise in attack to go along with Hawick’s bizarre defensive implosion resulted in a six-try masterclass, which left the watching Mansfield faithful in shock. Tries from Davies and Ferguson had hinted at a potential fourth try bonus-point of the season for the Greens but their efforts were in vain as Watsonians yielded little for the remainder of the contest and sealed the win.
“We missed tackles and gifted them possession, it wasn’t good enough,” continued McNeil.
“We just didn’t play well after such a good first half. I mean we didn’t touch the ball for the first 17-minutes of the second-half. Defending for that length of time would kill most teams.”
The Hawick Force maintained their unbeaten start to National Reserve Division 2 with a 39-3 victory over Musselburgh 2XV at Mansfield Haugh.