CURRIE grabbed the final play-off place and the right to play BT Premiership champions Heriot’s next week in a game that ended in a moment of high, drama.
The teams were locked at 10-10 and Currie knew a draw was not good enough so were relieved to be awarded a penalty in front of the posts as time ran out. James Semple took the kick but smacked it off the post and looked to have blown it, except he reacted first, caught the rebound and shifted it wide immediately for Scotland age-group winger Ruaridh Smith to score the winning try.
The last-gasp victory ousted Gala from the play-offs and leaves Glasgow Hawks having to beat Stirling County if they are to avoid the relegation play-off spot they currently occupy.
It was Hawks who had the first chance to open the scoring after two minutes but stand-off Jack Steele’s penalty attempt from just outside the 22 flew wide and Currie went all the way to the other 22 with a tremendous break by outside centre Fidias Efthymiou into the strong wind. But when the inevitable penalty came at the breakdown, the home side chose to go for the corner rather than take the points and the Hawks defence held them out.
Currie retained possession through a succession of phases but the wind-assisted visitors confined them to their own half. Then a Hawks lineout inside the Currie 22 was taken by Scotland under-20 lock Andrew Davidson and transformed into a rolling maul that trundled to the line for ex-Warriors hooker Finlay Gillies to claim the try. Steele could not deliver the conversion and minutes later had to leave the pitch after a heavy tackle.
Currie fancied their chances at the set scrum, calling for resets after being awarded penalties and winning cleaner ball and driving at the Hawks defence which eventually broke as No.8 Ross Weston barged over from close range just before half time. Semple’s conversion attempt was short and the teams went in at the break all square at 5-5.
Currie restarted with the wind at their backs and kept up the momentum so that after less than four minutes Smith was over in the corner. Semple’s conversion again dropped short.
But Hawks battled back and the referee warned Currie that any more offences at the breakdown would earn a yellow card.
Hawks got to within five metres and went for the pushover but when the scrum stayed solid No.8 Tommy Spinks picked up and went through a gaping hole for the try, Paddy Boyer missing the conversion.
Currie rallied and an exchange of passes between Efthymiou and Weston almost unlocked the Hawks defence but the visitors came away with the ball and the promised card saw Currie’s Robbie Nelson go into the sin bin.
A Currie lineout led to a messy pile up of bodies on the line but the referee ruled the ball was held up by Hawks. From the five metre scrum, the ball went left but was then turned over.
Play got frantic as time ran out. A big hit by Currie prop John Cox on hooker Finlay Gillies dislodged the ball but the kick ahead rolled dead. Hawks kicked the drop out straight into touch and Currie ran at them from the scrum resulting, after several phases, in that penalty in front of the posts.
The drama of a last-minute score suddenly acquired an even more dramatic twist when Semple hit the post before catching the ball and passing it to Smith to go over the line for his second try. The conversion was wide but it didn’t matter.
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