Hawick Harlequins RFC 20 Berwick RFC 36
Berwick play Joker to claim points against Hawick’s Harlequins.
Berwick took the road to Hawick on the back of a good week in training and with the side bolstered with the signing of prodigal son Ali Grieve from Hawick. The game was always going to be a hard game given Hawick’s winning record against Berwick and on the back of them being Champions for the last 2 seasons. The game started brightly with a gusty wind blowing down the pitch the only negative in otherwise perfect rugby conditions. The game started at high tempo with the referee keen to let both sides get on with running rugby. The players responded to the referee’s positivity in a good way by going for it in a furious series of attacks from each side. First blood came to Berwick after a series of rucks eventually drew a penalty chance which Andrew Skeen converted to earn the 3 points. Hawick though fought back almost immediately. After a few scrums were shared Hawick strung together a few phases to put the pressure onto the Berwick defence. Eventually the space was created and Hawick’s outside centre Neil Anderson popped through the line to score a well worked try. The conversion was missed but the home side had taken the lead at 5-3. Berwick though continued the fast start to retake the lead through second row Euan Thompson. The try came after a great run from full back Rory Hindhaugh had carved the defence open and then quick recycling saw Thompson gather the ball on the 5-metre line to burst over the line to score under the posts. The formality of the conversion from Skeen saw Berwick 5-10 in front.
Berwick continued to keep the tempo high and the fast pace of the game with free-flowing rugby earned them another try shortly afterwards. This time it was Skeen who made the break and then with good awareness of his support he stepped off his right foot to cut inside to free up Gareth Hill to take the pass on his outside to let the veteran wing the sprint up his wing to score. Skeen converted the try with a wonderful kick out wide in windy conditions. The Blacks were deservedly in front 5 – 17. Hawick’s quality earned them a good try of their own as they put the Berwick defence under pressure straight from the restart. Hawick rucked well and drew in the defence moving forward with each phase. Eventually Berwick ran out of defenders to allow the home side to touch down. The conversion from Scott Peffers for Hawick was also a good kick and the game was balanced at 12-17. Berwick responded to conceding a score by striking back within a couple of minutes. They showed some wonderful handling skills to create the space with Hill adding his second try with a determined run and score out wide. Again, Skeen added the points from a difficult position to stretch Berwick’s lead to 12 -24. The pace of the game was breathless with both sides committed to attacking play making it a great game to watch for the spectator. Berwick still had time to add another try before half time and it came from full back Hindhaugh who has been really enjoying his rugby this season with his confidence growing with each game. Again, the pack were making ground through sheer grit and hard work from 1 to 7 each playing for their teammates before releasing the free running back line with Hindhaugh providing the finish. The conversion was added to secure the bonus point before half time with Berwick fully deserving their 12-31 lead.
Hawick Harlequins are proud Champions and they showed their pride straight from the restart. They upped their tempo and the pack showed they weren’t ready to give up yet after a forward drive someone got the ball down to make it 17-31 within a few minutes of the restart. Hawick had their tails up and the momentum was very much with them and they earned a penalty chance after Berwick fell foul of the new tackling laws which full back Peffers duly struck through the middle of the posts to close the gap to 20 – 31. Berwick regrouped though and with a series of injuries and scrums slowing the pace they weathered the storm from Hawick with no further scoring until mid-way through the second half. The game was still anyone’s and it was Berwick who made the pivotal score through full back Hindhaugh. The try was worthy to win any game and started deep in the Berwick half. The forwards made the platform for the backs to take centre stage. Quick hands and an abundance of confidence saw them set off from their own half to allow Hindhaugh the overlap with inches to spare. The speed of movement, support play and angle of running was first class and although the conversion was missed from distance Berwick had stretched the lead to 20 -36. The score deflated the home side and they knew that they had an Everest to climb if they were to get the win. Unfortunately for them they didn’t have a Hillary or Tenzing in their ranks and Berwick’s hard-working team were in no mood to let them have any more chances. The game ended with Berwick taking maximum points with the final score being 20 -36. Unusually the home side finished with no points despite all their efforts – a rare occasion for Hawick at home.
The challenge from last week’s game was for the Blacks to up their performance. The whole squad didn’t just accept that challenge they exceeded expectations. The forwards were awesome with Captain Tom Jackson leading from the front and fully backed up by the whole pack who all put in the hard yards against a very determined Hawick pack. The backline has a settled look about it and the interplay between them was almost telepathic at times with the ball whizzing backwards and forwards with style. This was easily the Berwick sides best performance of the season and their commitment when Hawick were on the front foot in the second half was awesome. There are always things which could be improved upon but with Berwick having a free weekend next week they can enjoy their short break and build again for their next match which sees them play host to North Berwick at Scremerston on October 13th – kick off is 3pm.
1) Darren Goodfellow 2) Ryan Wilson 3) Tom Jackson - Captain 4) Euan Thompson 5) Scott Owens 6) Mason Emery 7) Alistair Grieve 8) Tommy McColl 9) Adam Hardie 10) Jack Webster 11) Jamie Pick 12) Duncan Hardie 13) Andrew Skeen 14) Gareth Hill 15) Rory Hindhaugh
Adam Pearson, Aidan Rosie, Cameron Rogerson and Stuart Gilchrist. – All used.