IF ASKED to describe Boroughmuir’s emphatic triumph in Saturday’s BT Cup final then “professional” would be it. From first minute to last the Edinburgh club imposed themselves on their shell-shocked opponents with no let-up whatsoever.
Hawick - 17
Boroughmuir - 55
Referee: S Grove-White (SRU)
Day attendance: 10,074
Even when the spirit of their opponents had been broken – not an easy thing to do when those opponents are Hawick, for whom dogged indefatigability is in the blood – there was no mercy from the Meggetland men as they kept the foot on the throat and steamrolled their way to a fourth cup win and first in ten years.
In the dying moments they continued to run hard at the demoralised Hawick defence and brought up the half century with two minutes left. It could even have been 60 points if it weren’t for the slightest hint of foot-in-touch in the last move of the match – perhaps a case of the touch judge showing a shred of pity for the losers that was utterly absent from a brutal and brilliant Boroughmuir display.
For the Borderers, whose supporters turned up in numbers, it was a day to forget. When the Hawick Saxhorn Band struck up early in the match the men from Edinburgh were already calling the tune and scored their first try in just three minutes when they got the nudge on at the scrum and No 9 Johnny Adams ghosted over.
The Green Machine was stuttering as ’Muir racked up a point a minute in the first 29 – Magnus Bradbury hitting a perfect line for the second, Grant McConnell finishing a fine sweeping move on the right and then Bradbury picking up and finishing neatly after Carl Bezuidenhout’s clever kick through.
Hawick got a try back when Scott McLeod danced through next to the posts, but any suggestion of a momentum shift was snuffed out when prop Simon Berghan crashed over as the Boroughmuir forwards tightened the screw.
A half-time score of 36-10 suggested the game was practically over as a contest and so it proved in the second half as Hawick were again put on the back foot by ruthless Boroughmuir. Sub Mike Entwhistle had already touched down by the time Hawick got over for a consolation by Lindsey Gibson.
Iain Moody and Sep Visser burst over in the closing stages to rack up a hefty winning score of 55-17 that in no way flattered.
The P word was inescapable afterwards given the impact the victors’ professional trio had on the game.
Stand-off Bezuidenhout conducted proceedings with panache and plundered 13 points with the boot, prop Berghan was dominant in the tight and collected a try, while Edinburgh academy pro Bradbury was simply sensational.
It would be wrong to suggest these pros made all the difference, because Boroughmuir were superb all over the BT Murrayfield pitch on Saturday. But there is no doubt their involvement provided a key advantage over a Hawick side with none of their draft pros available.
“We work very hard on our draft,” said Boroughmuir head coach Bruce Aitchison after proudly watching his skipper Andy Rose lift the trophy. “We did a lot of background and obviously being the team promoted we got first pick. We knew what we were after and have benefited from it. But someone like Simon Berghan has not played for Edinburgh this year, he has very much been a Boroughmuir player.”
Boroughmuir’s excellent scrum-half Adams was picked as man of the match by Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg, but 19-year-old No 8 Bradbury can’t have been far away in the reckoning after an outstanding performance.
He will be graduating from elite development player status to a two-year full-time contract in the summer and on the evidence of Saturday looks to be destined for big things.
The former Oban Lorne forward, who moved to Merchiston Castle on a scholarship, made his full Edinburgh Pro12 debut by starting against Leinster away at the end of October and was a member of the Scotland Under-20 side that won three games in the Junior Six Nations, captaining the side in the closing win over Ireland.
Bradbury’s focus now shifts to the IRB Junior World Championships in Italy in June but he was delighted to sign off from his Meggetland stint with a BT Cup winner’s medal.
“For me, to come from Oban and down to here it’s been a great thing to be part of the Boroughmuir club,” said Bradbury. “It’s a great club to be part of and it’s been brilliant to be involved in this cup win. Having the pros on board must be difficult for Bruce to juggle. He obviously has loyalty to the club but, when it comes down to it, it’s all about winning games.”
Hawick player-coach Nikki Walker was certainly in no mood to make an issue of Boroughmuir’s professional edge. The former Scotland wing, who will decide in the summer whether he is to continue playing, explained: “You’re a hostage to form and injuries. We actually came away from the draft delighted but it never worked out well for us, with guys being involved with Edinburgh and being injured. It comes down to luck. They’ve been lucky in that the guys they’ve got are not just good but have have also really bought into the Boroughmuir way of playing and culture of the club which is exactly what you want from your professionals. Fair play to them and I’m not holding anything against Boroughmuir. Those guys, the Bezuidenhouts and Berghans, they’ve played for them all season so why shouldn’t they get to play in a cup final.”
Scorers: Hawick: Tries: McLeod, L Gibson. Cons: Armstrong (2). Pens: Armstrong. Boroughmuir: Tries: Adams, Bradbury (2), McConnell, Berghan, Entwhistle, Moody, Visser. Cons: Bezuidenhout (5), Laidlaw. Pen: Bezuidenhout.
Hawick: L Armstrong, D Graham, N Walker, J Coutts, S McLeod; R Hutton (capt), G Cottrel; S Muir, R Graham, M Landels, M Robertson, M McKee, N Mactaggart, R Scott, B McNeil. Subs from: L Gibson, N McLennan, W Blacklock, R Gibson, K Davies, S Goodfellow, M Douglas.
Boroughmuir: C Marshall, R McConnell, S Visser, D Reekie, J Edmunds; C Bezuidenhout, J Adams; R Wilson, C Davies, S Berghan, T Sutton, A Best, I Moody, A Rose (capt), M Bradbury. Subs used: S Bingham, J Latta, M Entwhistle, S Johnson, C Laidlaw, C Keddie, R Bradford