Glasgow Hawks 7
MATT VALLANCE @ Balgray
MELROSE coach Rob Chrystie was “very pleased” to have come away from what he described as a difficult trip with this seven-tries-to-one victory, which moves last season’s champions to just a point behind pace-setter Ayr (who lost at Currie) in the Tennent’s Premiership league table.
Of course, Melrose were the warmest of favourites to win, but, towards the end of what Chrystie rightly said was a “tough uphill first half”, Melrose were a narrow 14-7 up, when winger Patrick Anderson found space where none existed to score a cracking solo try.
“That score was crucial – it opened up some daylight and we pulled clear,” added the coach, who was pleased with some individual performances – Russell Anderson‘s brace of tries, and an excellent cameo off the bench from Ian Sim, their player who is dual-registered with Kelso. However, the loss of Fraser Thomson, who aggravated an existing back injury, could be a worry.
Hawks coach Finlay Gillies agreed that the Anderson try was a pivotal moment. “Hugely frustrated,” he declared at the end. “We were right in the game before Patrick Anderson scored that key try, right on half time, and after that we were struggling,” he said.
Again, Hawks did a lot of good things, but made too many basic errors at key moments. “And against a side as clinical as Melrose, you cannot afford to make the mistakes we made,” Gillies added.
Hawks had the first chance, but Liam Brims pulled a penalty chance wide in seven minutes. Eight minutes later, Melrose scored; Hawks defended a dangerous rumbling maul well, then, out of nowhere, Russell Anderson found the gap and was through, with Struan Hutchison adding the extras to kick off what ended up as a perfect seven-from-seven display with the boot.
Try No 2 came in 19 minutes. Bruce Colvine took Murdo McAndrew’s box kick and great continuity rugby sent Rory Darge over. But, when Russell Anderson saw yellow, Hawks took advantage three minutes into the ten, with skipper Gary Strain going over at the back of a driving maul, with Brims converting. And that’s how it stayed until Patrick Anderson’s terrific try on the half-time break.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were fairly even, but, once James Head had driven over for the visitors’ bonus-point try, it began to look bad for Hawks. Replacement Jason Baggot then ran a great line onto a suspiciously forward-looking pass for try No 5 and, as the match moved into its final quarter, Russell Anderson grabbed his second try, again at the back of a maul. Patrick Anderson had the final word late on, his touchdown concluding yet another passage of great continuity rugby from the now rampant visitors.
Glasgow Hawks: J Couper; J McCready, M New, C Symes, R Beattie; L Brims, P Boyer; G Strain, P Cairncross, L Skinner, A Kirkland, F Hastie, S Down,G Wilson, G Adams. Subs: A Fraser, P Henderson, C Harrison, K Barreto, R Thompson.
Melrose: F Thomson; B Colvine, G Taylor, G Wood, P Anderson; S Hutchison, M McAndrew; G Shiels, R Anderson, R McLeod, J Head, I Moody, N Irvine-Hess, R Darge, S Lawson. Subs: F Scott, C Young, G Runciman, J Baggott, I Sim.
Referee: F Brown.
Glasgow Hawks: Try: Strain. Con: Brims.
Melrose: Tries: R Anderson 2, Darge, P Anderson 2, Head, Baggott. Cons: S Hutchison 7.
Scoring sequence (Hawks first): 0-5, 0-7, 0-12, 0-14, 5-14, 7-14, 7-19, 7-21 (h-t) 7-26, 7-28, 7-33, 7-35, 7-40, 7-42, 7-47, 7-49.
Yellow card –
Melrose: R Anderson
Man of the Match: Melrose stand-off Struan Hutchison did not just produce a faultless kicking display off the tee, he ran the Melrose back line brilliantly and also kicked well from hand.
Talking Point: No question, the Hawks youngsters have talent, but, lack experience and perhaps a couple of older, guiding on-field coaches. But their patches of great play are too often compromised by silly errors, a failing which is clearly frustrating coach Fin Gillies.