Hawick may yet rue a lapse in concentration that allowed Glasgow Hawks to play their get-out-of-jail card with an injury-time try that squared a match seemingly safely in the pocket of the Greens and cost the Mansfield Park men two championship points.
Leading 17-10 after an impressive second-half performance, Hawick themselves threatened to add a try in injury time but, bizarrely, it was Hawks who ended up scoring the game’s final points from a break-out near their own line, a speculative kick ahead and a catastrophic failure by Hawick to hoof the ball over the touchline.
Whether it was the low luminosity of the floodlights (missing two bulbs) concealing the touchline, the torrential rain or the high viscosity of mud-churned surface, the ball remained in play, allowing Hawks’ Gavin Lowe to hack ahead and touch down, James Gormley’s conversion ensuring a draw was the final outcome.
Hawks had scored a scrappy try in the first half by Gormley from a similar failure by Hawick to deal with ball in mendacious mud, Mike Adamson’s touchline conversion, which subsequently proved to be the Glasgow side’s vital points, giving Hawks a 7-3 lead at half-time.
That scoreline became 10-3 with an Adamson penalty kick but, thereafter, Hawick, whose forwards became more assertive in the set-piece, assumed control, scoring after a long period of pressure through Bruce McNeil and then adding a try by Neil Renwick from mud-defying running and handling of the highest order involving James Johnstone, Scott McLeod and then Renwick.
Both tries were converted by Renwick, for a 17-10 lead and with full-time approaching it seemed that Hawick had four championship points in the bag. Sadly, for the Mansfield Park fans, Hawks were given the green light to score in injury time providing relief for the visitors and a how-could-this-have-happened question hovering over the Hawick camp.