Glasgow Hawks 56
TOM Howie, chairman of Glasgow Hawks and a long-time servant of the game in the west of Scotland, called in the massed ranks of the press corps before this top-of-the-table clash. "I want to be constructive about this," he said, referring to the argy-bargy about the future of the game in Scotland which has broken out in the wake of the ill-starred Word Cup campaign.
"We at Hawks are happy being a feeder for the national side. There is a strong feeling within the club that we want to help." Did that mean he supported the present structure of the game? "I don’t want to talk about that. We should all stop bickering and get on with it."
Not exactly a clear-cut endorsement then. But perhaps it is worth cocking an ear to a club that tops the league with only one overseas player (if you discount Ulsterman Michael Rainey who came to Glasgow for the university not the rugby), no salary men and which is quite likely to provide the next centre partnership at international level (perm any two from Andy Henderson, Graeme Morrison and Tom Philip).
It was a cri-de-coeur for less politicking and more play-making which will find an echo in the minds of most non-aligned supporters of the game.
And the Hawks players went on to let their rugby do the talking as they put fellow championship contenders Heriots to the sword with some swashbuckling rugby. Phil Smith, the defeated coach, could only hold up his hands at the end. "If Hawks go on playing like that, they are the best team in the league by a street."
Ian Monaghan, Rainey and Steven Duffy, at 9, 10, and 12 respectively, were the stars of the show though they flourished on an apparently limitless supply of good ball sent back by the forwards.
A clever cross-kick from Rainey set up the attacking position for the first try scored by Monaghan after twelve minutes. Duffy hung onto a wobbly interception for the second which knocked Heriot’s off their stride just six minutes later. And then he scooped up another difficult pass for his second try after Wes Henry had made a great run up the wing.
The game was all but over by half-time but, for once, Hawks did not sit back and relax, scoring four more tries, the pick of which, from Henry, came from a little move off the back of a scrum. The fact that Cammy Little, who had just come on for the injured Colin Shaw on the wing, took and gave the pivotal pass in the move with his first touch, suggests that Hawks have something approaching a squad to call on. The promising debut of Stuart Low, another local boy, at full back (albeit his defensive skills were hardly tested) gave further credence to chairman Howie’s plea for just getting on with it.
Scorers. Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Monaghan, Duffy 2, Docherty, Rainey, Henry 2. Cons: Rainey 6. Pens: Rainey 3. Heriot’s: Try: Teague. Con: Monro. Pens: Monro 2.
Glasgow Hawks: S Low; W Henry, M Adamson, S Duffy, C Shaw; M Rainey, I Monaghan; E Milligan, C Docherty, G McFadyen, S Begley, R Maxton, S Swindall, R Currie, M Sitch. Subs: L McIntyre for McFadyen, N McKenzie for Currie (both 63 mins), C Little for Shaw (67).
Heriot’s: N Deluca; S Bennet, N Armstrong, G Smeaton, M Teague; A Munro, I Wilson ; G Talac, D Linton, A Dickson EGrewar, J Osbourne, J Syme, C Harrison, J White. Subs: A McDonald for White (50), C Sinclair for Wilson, F Smeaton for Bennet (both 57)
Referee: G Hannah (Kirkcaldy).