Watsonians held on in a dramatic finish to clinch a victory despite losing the try count 2-1 in a tense tussle at Mansfield Park.
Hawick just failed to gain their third win in a row as Lee Armstrong’s difficult conversion kick of Greg Walker’s try in the eighth minute of injury time fell wide and short of the mark.
Played in horrendous conditions of driving sleet and rain as well as a gale-force wind, much of the action came from the packs of both sides and defences dug deep to keep their lines intact.
Watsonians led 13-7 at the break, and Walker’s try was reward for a brave Hawick performance which might have produced another stunning result on another day.
However, Hawick defended gallantly, but twice gave away possession by failing to find touch.
“It was a tough game and the efforts from both sets of players were fantastic,” said Watsonians coach Steve Lawrie. “All credit to Hawick for getting that game on.”
George Graham, the Hawick coach, admitted: “We did not play particularly well in the first half, but Watsonians are a very good side. But the performance has come at a cost as Shaun Fairbairn has dislocated his shoulder.”
Watsonians struck in three minutes when Josh Rowland’s break set up the try for James Miller and Ewan Fox, who was in the side for the injured Lee Millar, converted.
Hawick kept up the challenge as play raged from one end to the other with neither side giving an inch. The rain made handling difficult, but Watsonians maintained the momentum and increased their lead in 28 minutes with a Fox penalty for offside from in front of the posts.
Hawick battled hard and were rewarded nine minutes from the interval when Fairburn, pictured, burst over the line for a score and Armstrong converted to cut the deficit to three points. Fairburn then left the field with an injury as Hawick continued to press.
But in injury time, Watsonians won a penalty, which they kicked to the corner, and then a second penalty for a high tackle led to Fox kicking the goal to give his side the 13-7 interval lead.
Watsonians’ driving play saw them encamped on the Hawick line as the hosts held firm against the onslaught. However, the visitors were denied by the defiant Hawick tackling until the forwards, with Bruce McNeil outstanding, produced equally strong defensive play from Watsonians.
The game ran on deep into injury time. Hawick kicked a penalty to the right-hand corner and Walker drove over for the try awarded after the referee consulted the touch judge – but too far out in the conditions for Armstrong to convert.