Patchwork Hawick side falter after good start

Sam Bandeen provides the scoring touch for Hawick
Sam Bandeen provides the scoring touch for Hawick

Hawick 19 
Peebles 25

A developmental Hawick side but up a brave fight but ultimately fell short in a tight Border League encounter with Peebles last Friday.

Hawick were well short of their usual standards, as a patchwork team consisting of players from the three other sides in the town laboured to find any rhythm.

This seemed hardly surprising – given only one training session together on Thursday – against a Peebles squad that grew into the game.

A first-half brace from Sam Bandeen, with Kyle Brunton converting both, handed Hawick a 14-10 half time lead.

But, as the physicality and pace increased after the break, the visitors rallied.

Peebles crossed the whitewash twice, one converted, to take a 22-19 advantage. Kirk Ford crossed for the Greens before Peebles hit a penalty with six minutes to go to seal the bonus point victory.

Hawick provided a glimpse into what the future might hold for the club as head coach Nikki Walker named a developmental squad to face a similar-looking Peebles unit beneath the Friday night lights of Mansfield Park.

The Greens consisted of young players plucked from Hawick Harlequins, Linden and YM, as Walker and his coaching staff moved to hand breaks for his established first XV players ahead of a busy second half to the season while offering up opportunities to fringe players.

All in all, the Greens’ lack of orientation wasn’t much of an issue in the opening half.

Hawick led 14-10 at the break and were good for every point of that lead. Winger Brunton scored two tries, both sparkling efforts of wit and improvisation, and Ford converted both efforts.

Peebles’ scrum-half Murray Johnstone and winger Justin King hit back to keep the visitors alive.

It appeared heading into the second half that Hawick could secure a first Border League win of the season, despite their obvious deficiencies, but Peebles made changes and the effect was pronounced.

While the abundance of scoring opportunities wasn’t there, two tries did follow, one converted, to hand the Gytes men a 19-22 lead. Ford replied for the Greens before a penalty six minutes from time secured the 25-19 victory.

Walker said afterwards: “It was great to have Hawick clubs pulling together and allowing players the opportunity to develop.”