Hawick’s top four and title hopes suffered a huge blow after a 32-8 defeat by Melrose at the Greenyards left them nine points behind fourth-placed Gala, writes Alexander McLeman.
The Robbie Dyes surrendered a four-game unbeaten run following two first-half Richard Mill penalties and a Nick Beaven try before Hawick’s Rory Hutton touched down late in the half to make it a contest.
Neil Renwick moved Hawick to within five points of their hosts before the reigning champions ran in three unanswered tries to seal a bonus-point victory.
With Hawick facing a tricky trip to Stirling County next weekend, Greens hooker Lindsey Gibson accepted Saturday’s performance was not good enough and conceded the remaining league games are all must-wins if they are to maintain their top-four ambitions.
“Defence and discipline let us down,” said Gibson. “You can’t give teams like Melrose so many opportunities to get field position.
“We didn’t start well but responded to give ourselves an opportunity to back into the game but in these Border derbies it is a fine line. The defeat probably means that we now need other results to go our way and for us to win all four of our remaining league games to have any realistic chance of a top-four place.”
Gibson added: “If we want to finish in the play-off places then we need to bounce back from this defeat with a big performance in a must-win against Stirling on Saturday.”