Glasgow Hawks vented their frustration at losing out in the Super 6 bidding process by overwhelming Jed-Forest in the BT Premiership/National League One play-off at Lasswade RFC’s Hawthornden ground.
Hawks’ Super 6 disappointment was sublimated into a performance of focused power that gave the Glasgow men complete dominance in the scrum, resulting in a match of one-sided possession stats.
The Glasgow side’s forward superiority resulted in a slew of scrum penalties against Jed and to compound matters for the Borderers, Darren Gillespie was twice shown yellow resulting in the back row departing the pitch while prop Connor Hogg and skipper Gregor Young also went to the bin.
“To be honest we let ourselves down today,” admitted Jed coach Ross Goodfellow. “It just never happened for us. But all credit to Hawks. They played really well. People will say this shows the gap between the National League and the Premiership but I’ve seen Edinburgh Accies turn over Premiership sides and we beat Accies just a few weeks back.”
Arguably the men of the match for Hawks were the front row of Steven Findlay, Grant Stewart and Gary Strain whose combined strength and power blew Jed apart, so much so that the Borderers could not get hands on the ball for most of the first half.
“The technical nous and the cohesion of our front five was telling. The discipline of our side was also crucial. The penalty count was 10-1 against Jed in the first half,” said Finlay Gillies, the Hawks coach.
Hawks were also helped by the return of the under-20 caps, among whom stand-off Ross Thompson, wingers Sam Yawayawa and Kyle Rowe and centre Mark New contributed handsomely.
But it was the big men that gave Hawks a 18-0 lead at half time, back row Stephen Leckey driven over from a line-out and Stewart barrelling through from close range, the other points coming from two penalties and a conversion by Thompson.
After two ground gaining penalty kicks down the line, Yawayawa crossed for the third try, Thompson adding the extras. Jed’s inability to counter Hawks’ scrum power then led to a penalty try.
Even when the game went to uncontested scrums Hawks were still in the ascendant, scrum half Paddy Boyer and centre Bobby Beattie adding late tries both converted by replacement Liam Brimms.