An impressive Hawick side helped restore smiles to the faces of the Mansfield Park faithful with a convincing win 36-16 win over Boroughmuir on Saturday at Mansfield.
After spending the first few months of the BT Premiership season sliding towards the foot of the table, the Greens may well have turned themselves around and could finally be about to gain momentum after their sluggish start to the campaign.
They looked to have returned to their best against the capital outfit, imperious and disdainful, kings of free flowing rugby with the bit between their teeth throughout.
Having gone backwards in recent defeats against Edinburgh Accies and Stirling County, Hawick marched forward all afternoon against the men from Meggetland, their dominant pack gaining territory with ease. Boroughmuir, braced for a heavyweight assault up front, had little answer to the Greens front row of Wullie Blacklock, Nick McLennan and Lindsey Gibson. The powerhouse trio threw everything into scrummaging and were clear winners against an inexperienced Muir pack who began to wilt as the game wore on.
With such an steady stream of ball from the home pack, Rory Hutton, Nikki Walker, Lee Armstrong and Neil McColm were handed individual moments to shine. There were, however, rare moments when Hawick threatened to drop points, but for the most part, Boroughmuir made things reasonably straightforward as the Greens took the lead early in the opening half. Wullie Blacklock scooting over for an opportunist try to put the home side 5-0 up on 11 minutes.
Chris Laidlaw’s cultured boot kept ’Muir within touching distance with two penalties either side of a converted Rory Hutton score.
What little attacking menace shown by Boroughmuir all period came alive as Cal Davies caught the Hawick defence napping, touching down on the stoke of half time to keep the Edinburgh side in contention at the interval, trailing 12-11.
A one-point lead was scant reward for Hawick’s 40 minutes of industry, but they put this right in emphatic style in the second period, carving openings whenever they went into full attacking mode with Nikki Walker the first to touchdown, before Armstrong, John Coutts and Sean Goodfellow completed the rout.
Boroughmuir’s blindside flanker, Craig Keddie, added a late consolation score for the visitors but Hawick had secured a memorable 36-16 victory, with a distinctly upbeat mood prevailing around Mansfield Park compared to that of a couple of weeks ago.
Hawick: L. Armstrong, N. McColm, N. Walker, R. Hutton, S. McLeod, A. Weir, G. Cottrell, N. McLennan, L. Gibson, W. Blacklock, M. McKee, N. Mactaggart, B.McNeil, K. Davies, M. Robertson. Subs: M. Landles, S. Muir, R. Gibson, S. Goodfellow, J. Coutts.