And it was Boroughmuir who won the right to move up after a tense encounter that produced six tries and had the home side fending off a determined Hawick assault in the final minutes.
Hawick conceded two penalties in quick succession in the first five minutes, allowing Muir to gain territory and roll a maul over the line with blindside flanker Aubrey Mncube, pictured, grounding for the try.
Hawick hit back immediately and full-back Matt Douglas kicked a simple penalty in front of the posts. Hawick kept up the pressure but never really looked like scoring again. Muir absorbed the Borderers’ attack and broke out in spectacular fashion with an inch-perfect cross-field kick by stand-off Chris Laidlaw gathered without breaking his stride by winger Grant McConnell who travelled 50 metres before being tackled a few metres short. The ball was recycled and openside Craig Keddie carried over for the try. Laidlaw converted.
The game got towsy and the referee had to speak to both captains to calm things down before Douglas added a second short-range penalty to reduce the deficit but within minutes Muir had stretched away again as Mncube got his second try. Laidlaw converted to make it 19-6 at half-time.
After the break Hawick stepped up the pace and when stand-off Rory Hutton delivered a cute grubber kick outside centre Darcy Graham won the race to touch it down for his team’s first try.
Neither side was controlling the game and both were trying too hard to force things to happen with unwise offloads and risky passing. But it was Muir who looked the more likely to come good, even when Laidlaw’s 30-metre penalty attempt drifted wide.
However, Hawick showed real character to battle the odds and produce some flowing passing movements that sent Graham beneath the posts for his second try. Douglas’s conversion brought the Greens to within a single point as the game went into its final quarter.
Graham was almost away again as he tried to run out of his own half. Laidlaw felled him with a flying tackle but injured himself in the act and had to leave the pitch. Hawick prop Jack Cosgrove followed him when he earned a yellow card.
Muir made sure of victory when replacement Greg Cannie crashed over for the bonus point try. Dougie Steele converted. But there was just enough time for Hawick to kick a late penalty and grab a losing bonus point.