Hawick 16 Gala 6
Mission accomplished. Hawick rescued their season with a 16-6 victory over Gala at Mansfield Park on Saturday.
A Kyle Brunton try, Lee Armstrong conversion and three Ali Weir penalties. It might not sound like much, but for Hawick RFC it is exactly what was needed.
Both teams did their level best to win – and had the referee been more beady-eyed, Gala might have been the victors – but Hawick did just about enough to edge this relegation showdown that all but consigns Gala to National One status and leaves the Greens to live to fight another day.
The game was notable for a number of forceful performances from both sides, but one of them, Brunton, a second-half replacement, proved to be the deciding factor as his second-half score ensured the points stayed at Mansfield Park.
“If I am honest, I wasn’t expecting to get on the pitch as the game was so tight and you never really want to change much, but when I was called on I got it done,” said a delighted Brunton.
“When I scored I was sort of expecting the whistle to go for a knock-on earlier in the move, so when all the boys were jumping around me after I went over it was just a great feeling.”
Apprentice joiner Brunton’s score after Weir and Gala’s Gregor Hunter had traded penalties to leave the scores finely balanced at 9-6, ensured Hawick 2016-17 season lurches slightly towards the safety of eighth place on the BT Premiership table.
The Robbie Dyes are not out of the woods just yet, Boroughmuir have a game in hand and a win for them can consign the Greens to the fate of a relegation play-off contest.
But they would take that outcome gladly after spending eight out of 17 weeks anchored to the foot of the Premiership table.
“We knew what was at stake so there wasn’t really much chat pre-match about how important the game was etc, it was all or nothing really,” continued Brunton.
“They had a bigger team, not as fit or mobile as us, so what we wanted to do rather than run through them was that we wanted to run round them.
“We wanted to turn their backs and make sure they either had to kick it back to us in space or run it back from inside their own half.
“Essentially run them off their feet and then take them apart.
“They did pose threats, especially forward-wise, Gregor [Hunter] is an excellent goal kicker so he always loomed.
“But we played to our strengths and with us being a smaller side we used speed and space to our advantage and eventually managed to get the win.”