Currie Chieftains prevail in top-of-table clash with Hawick

Steven Hamilton touches down for Currie as Hawick's Gareth Welsh tries in vain to stop him. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Steven Hamilton touches down for Currie as Hawick's Gareth Welsh tries in vain to stop him. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A top-of-the-table clash that had been expected to be close turned out to be a one-sided affair in most aspects of the game. Currie Chieftains won the try count 6-2, claimed two full scores for no loss when they had a man in the sinbin in the first half, and were winning the second half 14-0 until an all-too-late consolation for Hawick.

Curiously, though, given those statistics and indeed the final score, the visitors had the upper hand in the scrum for most of the match – a factor that usually provides a platform for victory rather than leading to a heavy defeat. But, as well as being sharper in attack, Currie defended superbly in open play to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Premiership – a record they will take on Saturday to Marr, the only other club with maximum points after three games.

“We executed really well,” Chieftains coach Mark Cairns said. “We took our chances. Hawick managed to create some opportunities, and they’ll be disappointed with the return rate on those opportunities, whereas I’m delighted with the way we managed to finish off. We were very efficient in that way.”

Hawick had come into this match level on points with the Chieftains, but they only briefly threatened to make a real contest of the match either side of half-time. After scoring through Craig Bachurzewski to narrow the deficit to 26-8 at the break, they tried to carry that momentum into the second 40, and scrummed three penalties deep in the home 22 as their dominance up front began to tell.

A penalty try for a fourth offence appeared inevitable, but it was Currie who won the penalty instead. In the ensuing five minutes the home side added two more tries to the four they had scored in the first half, and the Hawick challenge was over.

“That’s a key moment for us,” Cairns added. “If they had managed to score then, it’s a completely different ball game.”

Hawick coach George Graham had a simple explanation for his team’s defeat: the players had not worked hard enough, and failed to do what they had talked about doing all week. “The problem for me was our intensity,” he said. “We never really had any.

“Currie are a well-drilled team. The only way you’re going to break them down is to move the point of contact. We worked on that religiously. It’s so frustrating for me that we then never did that. It didn’t happen.

“We’re way, way better than that. I’m bitterly 
disappointed.”

Cammy Meager and Mike Vernel got the first couple of tries for Currie, who added two more through Wallace Nelson and Cammy Scott when full-back Charlie Brett was in the bin for an off-the-ball tackle. Archie MacLean and Stephen Hamilton added two more tries in the second half, with Gregor Hunter converting five of his team’s six touchdowns.

Captain Ali Weir had opened Hawick’s account with an early penalty before going off injured, and Gareth Welsh got their second try, converted by Bailey Donaldson.