Marr 17-29 Hawick: Greens resist late fightback

Hawick's Bruce McNeill. Picture: Graham Stuart/SNS/SRU
Hawick's Bruce McNeill. Picture: Graham Stuart/SNS/SRU
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Marr were here reminded of one of the eternal truths of Scottish rugby – you cannot give a Hawick team 17 points of a start, and expect to win. Trailing by that margin at the end of the first quarter, the hosts took until the 50th minute to score – by which time the Greens had extended their lead, but, for all their fire and fury over the remaining minutes, Marr had left themselves too big a mountain to climb.

Hawick were on the front foot from the off and the only surprise when skipper Bruce McNeill, pictured, crashed over for the opening unconverted try after 12 minutes was it had taken them that long to score.

Five minutes later Hawick scored again, via orthodox handling off set-piece ball, Gary Munro touching down, Ally Weir converting. On 20 minutes, a superb break by Lee Armstrong was carried on by Gregg Cottrell before Guy Graham arrived at pace to power over for another unconverted try.

The half was delayed by some ten minutes, after Marr prop Fraser Watt went down in the 33rd minute, and had to be carried off. But, when it resumed, Hawick thought they had secured the bonus point with a try in the corner. It was ruled out, however, for a knock-on spotted by assistant referee Colin George.

The bonus did come in 44 minutes, Lee Armstrong bursting through a huge gap to score between the sticks and leave Weir with a simple conversion.

Then, at last, Marr began to rumble and a superb long advantage by referee Keith Allen allowed them to keep playing until Mackenzie Pierce crashed over in the corner for an unconverted try.

The game was much more even now, but it was Hawick who scored next, Armstrong dotting down their fifth try, and his second, after a good spell of continuity rugby in 67 minutes. The conversion was missed.

Marr hit back from the restart and after some good work by the pack, Scott Bickerstaff ran a great intrusion line off the wing to go over. Dougie Steele’s conversion was charged down, however.

The home side now had a fair head of steam up and, with time running out, they scored a third try, through skipper Angus Johnstone, who was there to take the off-load after lock Ewan Bulger’s wonderful run up the right saw him hauled down on the line.

Steele converted, but, there was not enough time left for Marr to secure the losing bonus point their late recovery had threatened to bring.