Relegation-threatened Hawick showed why they deserve to remain in the BT Premiership by holding the defending champions Heriot’s to a draw at Mansfield Park in a match that revived memories of the long-running rivalry between these two sides.
Pleasing for Hawick was that they were able to compete against a bigger forwards and were able to cope comfortably with the presence of the Edinburgh and Scotland squad player Cornell Du Preez at No.8 for Heriot’s.
The Greens’ assistant coach, Scott McLeod, praised his side’s ability to stop the Heriot’s attack. He said: “I thought our defence was very good today. We got off the line quickly and marched them back. The performance for us was everything. Winning or losing it was great having that attitude of wanting to win.” said the former Scotland lock.
McLeod’s nephew, Darcy Graham, was one of the stand-out Hawick players yesterday, the Scotland under-20 wing, injecting a huge amount of pace into the Greens’ game and capping a quality performance with a second-half try.
For Heriot’s this match should have been a banker given the Goldenacre team’s position in the Premiership.
A win looked probable for Heriot’s for much of the game but the Phil Smith’s men were perhaps a bit lacking in judgment when they eschewed a kick at goal in the opening minutes of the game.
“We expect a tough match every time we’re down here and we get it. We didn’t put the game to bed when we had our chance.
“We didn’t kick at goal in the first half when we should have and when we opened up an eight-point gap in the second half we didn’t get that extra surge to make sure of the game,” said coach Phil Smith.
Heriot’s looked certain to score from a penalty kick to the corner but Hawick opted not to engage the driving maul and saved the day.
Then when the Greens worked their way into Heriot’s territory the ball was spun wide to Bruce McNeil whose inside pass gave wing Wesley Hamilton a try converted by Ali Weir.
Hawick messed up the restart and then conceded a couple of penalties the second of which gave Heriot’s another chance to drive the line-out.
This time Hawick were forced to collapse the maul and Heriot’s were awarded a penalty try converted by Alex Hagart.
Heriot’s began the second half with intent with a move that twice involved Du Preez and which ended with full back Charlie Simpson scoring.
Hagart and Weir exchanged penalty goals before Graham again showed his quality first with a kick and chase and then with a try in the corner to draw the game.