Hawick succumbed to their second defeat of the season in the RBS National League, but they did not go down without a fight and a spirited second-half performance saw them edge to within three points of the Myreside men, having gone in at the interval 13 points behind.
It was a case of the Greens creating problems for them-selves in the first period as a lack of discipline combined with the robust nature of the Watsonians pack allowed the home team to rack up a healthy lead.
Right from the kick-off Hawick were under pressure as Watsonians attempted to get on the front foot. Brian Walls, the home side’s srum-half converting an early penalty after Hawick were penalised for holding on at the breakdown.
The loss of a cheap penalty seemed to inspire the Greens, and a promising break from winger Scott McLeod saw him bursting through a few tackles before looking to pass to his outside man. However, the ofload went astray and the attack came to a halt. Watsonians extended their lead on 13 minutes when full-back Rory Steele, who caused the Hawick back line all sorts of problems, dived over for his first try of the match following a break down the far touchline. Walls was on hand to convert and extend the home side’s lead to ten points, and the latter landed another penalty after Hawick found themselves offside at the breakdown.
Greens stand-off Rory Hutton began to orchestrate matters in the Hawick back division, and he played a key role in the build-up as the Robbie Dyes replied with three points from full-back Neil Renwick, after a quick penalty that caught the Watsonians defence off guard and led to an infringement in the ruck.
Hawick were making their presence felt but too often the final pass was missing as they edged towards the hosts’ line.
Again, though, they shot themselves in the foot, giving away a needless penalty for being offside at the breakdown just before half-time. Walls gratefully accepted the three points.
With five minutes gone in the second period, Hawick got the breakthrough they needed. A great effort in the scrum giving centre Gary Johnstone the opportunity to sprint clear of the Watsonians back line before passing to Stuart Graham who was left with the simple task of running in under the posts. Renwick added the extras to close the deficit to 16-10.
Hawick can count themselves unlucky when Watsonians responded five minutes later with a converted try. A hopeful kick forward just outside the visitors’ 22 creating havoc in their defence, and as the ball trickled along the surface and edged towards the touchline, Steele dived over for the try as Hawick attempted to scramble it away.
The Greens did not let their heads go down, and, if anything, they then enjoyed their best period of the match.
With 52 minutes gone, a Renwick penalty from just outside the Watsonians 22 was followed by a converted try as Hawick battled their way back into contention. A superb run from Johnstone saw him breaching the home defence, allowing Keith Davies in for the touchdown, with the former unselfishly offloading as the try line lay ahead.
Hawick, just three points behind at 23-20, were then pushed back as Watsonians full-back Steele claimed his hat-trick on 60 minutes. The ball being passed out wide to exploit the gaps in the visitors’ defence. Walls again did the necessary with the conversion.
With 15 minutes remaining, Hawick’s woes were again self-inflicted when McLeod was sin-binned for a high tackle. From the resulting penalty, Watsonians prop Riaan Basson drove over the line, and Walls kicked the conversion.
A nasty collision between Steele and Hutton saw the latter being taken off clutching his shoulder after 70 minutes. Hawick coach Phil Leck later admitted that Hutton is a major doubt for Saturday’s Biggar clash.
A try apiece for each side in the final five minutes completed the scoring, with Renwick crossing the whitewash for the Greens and Scott McKean doing likewise for Watsonians.
HAWICK: N. Renwick; S. McLeod, L. Armstrong, G. Johnstone, N. McColm; R. Hutton, G. Cottrell; S. Muir, H. Scammell, L. Launders, C. Smith, K. Willison, S. Graham, N. Mactaggart, K. Davies. Subs: B. Keown, L. Gibson, D. Johnstone, R. Armstong, A. Weir.