Cumnock XV 7 - 54 Glasgow Hawks
GLASGOW Hawks help bring up Cumnock RFC’s half century in style. Report by David Kerr.
Premiership giants Glasgow Hawks were in Cumnock this weekend to kick start the clubs 50th anniversary year.
Cumnock fielded a team which included many current first XV players as well as a few familiar faces and friends from the club’s past and a handful of players from Garnock Rugby club.
Despite the hastily flung together team, the Cumnock side went about their task with relish against the Glasgow giants. Hawks fielded a strong team and tried to impose themselves on the game early on by moving the ball quickly from touchline to touchline to try and stretch the home defence. However, stubborn tackling from the Cumnock backs kept them at bay. For the first game of pre season, the match was played at furious pace with teams attempting to play out wide quickly. Prominent in the Cumnock attack was former player and coach Stewart Magorian who was typically strong on the ball. Other impressive performers were Tony Foster who put in a try saving tackle early on when Hawks appeared set to score and guest stand off Rory Walker whose steady playmaking and accurate kicking kept Cumnock out of trouble.
However, Hawks dominance of the early possession meant that a break through was always possible and eventually they got it after a loose Cumnock kick found their full back who showed his pace to create the opening score of the game.
Cumnock fought back with Campbell Reid carrying strongly when on the ball. The Cumnock forwards were all well up for the battle against the larger Hawks pack and props Graham Montgomery and Donald Hunter did a fine job of anchoring the scrum.
The home team got on the score sheet after a typically strong scrum allowed last season’s player of the year Scott Houston to make a trademark burst up the blindside. He was caught short of the line but found David Kerr in support and the Cumnock captain managed to hold off the attentions of the Hawks defence just enough to touch down in the corner. Walker nervelessly added the conversion and Cumnock found themselves level after twenty minutes.
The game continued to ebb and flow with both teams having chances though the speed that the Hawks played the game at meant that Cumnock frequently had to scramble to stop their guests from adding to the score sheet. Another two former Cumnock stars took to the field with former president Alex Dunsmuir coming on at scrum half and former player Alan Hill making an appearance on the wing. Another friend of the club to make an appearance was former Scotland international Ian Jardine who replaced Magorian in the centre.
Despite Cumnock’s best efforts Hawks managed to grab another try which was almost a carbon copy of the first after a loose kick ahead was gathered up against their back three who showed their blistering pace and counter-attacking nous to find the spaces in the Cumnock defensive line and grab another try to regain the lead.
Cumnock stubbornly refused to let the Hawks take control of the game before half time with Stuart Hunter and Gregor McMillan putting in countless tackles on the wings.
The second half continued in much the same vein with the Hawks proving unrelenting in their intensity of attack. Cumnock showed that the hard work that they have put in during pre season had been worth it as proved capable of keeping up with the pace of the game. The home team had their chances in the game with Stuart Hunter making a strong burst up the wing and Campbell Reid surging through the middle.
However, the Hawks were still impressive when on the ball and they grabbed a third try again off a counter attack with their pacy winger getting round the Cumnock defence.
The Cumnock team were starting to look a bit more ragged with the pace finally getting to them as well as the constant changes to the line up causing disruption. The home side continued to battle valiantly but gaps were starting to open up in the Cumnock ranks and the Hawks were sharp enough to pick up on them and they frequently broke through, forcing the defence to scramble back. Hawks added two more quick tries to take the game comfortably out of reach.
Cumnock did not give up and they worked their way into a good position deep in Hawks territory. Replacement Jason Robb made a good half break down the wing while second rows Kevin Brady and Graeme Dick both had tilts at the Hawks defence. It held firm however and the ball was eventually spilled allowing the visitors to clear their lines.
The final ten minutes proved just two much for Cumnock as the Hawks managed to run in another few tries to add gloss to the score line which had remained tight for the majority of the game. Cumnock could take a lot from this performance as they look to build up to the start of the league season.
Club president Jim Morrison said: “The game was a great way of marking our 50th year.
“I was very impressed by the intensity that the team played at and if we can manage a similar level then we will be very competitive this season.”
Coach Steven Miller said: “It was a very encouraging start and I would like to thank the players that came into the side from other clubs who all played very well.”
A thank you also has to be made to Glasgow Hawks for providing the opening day of the 50th anniversary season with an enjoyable game and for contributing to the other aspects of the day.
Cumnock now move on to starting a series of pre-season fixtures, beginning next week against Cambuslang at Broomfield.