Edinburgh Accies 28
ATHOLL INNES @ Mansfield Park
IT was a game neither side wanted to lose as the basement battle ended in a dour but compelling struggle at Mansfield Park. Accies were just one point better off in the Premiership league table at the kick-off, and by the end of an absorbing game, it was Hawick who emerged victorious in a controversial finish.
With injuries to Dalton Redpath, Dom Buckley and Ruaridh Macleod, who was stretchered off with a suspected dislocated ankle, the game ran deep into injury time.
Lee Armstrong, who just pipped Shawn Muir as the man-of-the-match, found a gap for the winning try, which was awarded by referee Sam Grove White, who then overruled the two judges, who said that the stand-off’s conversion kick had split the posts. But Hawick coach George Graham took the result and the bonus point to seal his club’s first win of the season.
“It was a relief and I thought that we could have controlled the second half better,” said Graham. “But we have a lot of spark and there is character in the side. We came back and we scored the try at the end.”
Meanwhile, Accies coach Derek O’Riordan reflected that: “We made a good start, and we lost the game in the first half (not with the final score).”
Accies made the best possible start when forward power pushed Hawick back and Callum Black was driven over the line, then Richard Mill converted for a 7-0 lead after five minutes.
Hawick responded well, but counted the cost when they lost turn-over ball close to the Accies line. However, they were not to be denied and home skipper Muir led by example after a succession of penalties, feeding Deaglan Lightfoot a score which Armstrong converted.
The home forwards continued to dominate and Muir brushed off a challenge to score close to the left-hand corner and Armstrong again added the goal points.
It was one-way traffic as the Hawick pack took control and the referee awarded a penalty try after several penalty and scrum awards to the hosts.
Accies found it hard to get their hands on the ball, but when they did, they made it count when, with Hawick No. 8 Bruce McNeil in the sin-bin, Robbie Davis found space of the right and Mill converted.
Hawick replied quickly and an Armstrong penalty on the stroke of half-time saw the Greens turn around 24-14 ahead.
The game was evenly poised after the break, with both sides guilty of their fair share of mistakes. Hawick edged further ahead when Armstrong added his second penalty for a 27-14 advantage.
Accies again responded quickly only to find the stubborn Hawick defence defiant and resolute until Black added his second try and Mill converted – and at the same time Buckley hirpled off injured and was replaced by Kyle Brunton. Not long later, Macleod had to be stretchered off after a lengthy stoppage and Jae Linton took his place.
It looked as is the game was going to swing out of Hawick’s reach when George Spencer scored against a stretched home defence and Mill’s kick put Accies back in front. But Armstrong had the final say meaning Hawick picked up a full quota of points and Accies had to be content with two.
Hawick: K Ford; K Young, A Mitchell, D Buckley, F Robson; L Armstrong, D Lightfoot; S Muir, M Carryer,, R Macleod, D Suddon, D Redpath, S Graham, B McNeill, D Davison. Subs: C Renwick, J Linton, D Lowrie, G Welsh, K Brunton.
Edinburgh Accies: T Brown; C Gray, G Spencer, W Stephen, R Chalmers; R Mill, R. Davies; C Taylor, C Black, J Pearse, A Inward, R Lovett, J Sole, N Hall, R Campbell. Subs: A Wood, C Imrie, M Badenhurst, M Sinclair, R Mill, . Armstrong.
Referee: Sam Grove White.
Yellow cards –
Hawick: Bruce McNeil.
Hawick: Tries: Lightfoot, Muir, Penalty try, Armstrong; Cons: Armstrong 2; Pens: Armstrong 2.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Black 2, Davis, Spencer; Cons: Mill 4.
Scoring sequence (Hawick first): 0-5, 0-7, 5-7, 7-7, 12-7, 14-7, 19-7, 21-7, 21-12, 21-14, 24-14 (h-t) 27-14, 27-19, 27-21, 27-26, 27-28, 32-28.
Man of the Match: Match winning try was the icing on the cake for Hawick playmaker Lee Armstrong.
Talking point: A bold move by referee Sam Gove White to overrule his touch judges on Armstrong’s late conversion. Fortunately it didn’t have a bearing on the outcome.