Hawick made an impressive start to the Tennent’s Premiership campaign, chalking up eight tries to see off a Musselburgh side that competed well for 60 minutes but were powerless as the visitors turned the screw in the final quarter.
However, even a half century of points failed to satisfy Hawick coach George Graham. “I’m disappointed with the performance. We are way better than that”, he said.
His Musselburgh counterpart Graeme Paterson acknowledged that it was a lesson in what playing at the higher level will mean.
“The level of physicality, the speed of the game, the type of game teams will bring – that’s shown us what we will face every week”, he observed. “We kind of knew that, but physically facing it is a different matter for the players.”
Among the positives for Paterson was the character his men showed after a slow start. It took the Borderers only five minutes to make their mark. Craig Greer showed good pace for a prop to pick up recycled ball and race over. Ali Weir stroked over the conversion but missed with his next effort after Logan Gordon-Wooley sprinted down the left flank to bag Hawick’s second try.
The hosts earned a penalty that was despatched into touch and a lineout drive was halted illegally. The referee awarded a penalty ty and sent Keith Mcneil to the sin-bin.
A high tackle on Rory Watt earned another penalty for Musselburgh and sparked a punch-up that ended with the visitors reduced to 13 men after Bruce Mcneil was sin-binned.
The momentum was with the hosts and smart-thinking scrum half Danny Owenson took a quick penalty from close range then darted over before adding the extras to establish a two point lead.
Although still one man down, Hawick regained the initiative when Greer thundered over from a close range lineout to bag his second try.
By half time, Hawick were in command, Shawn Muir powering over for the bonus point try and Gordon-Wooley claiming his second score.
Hawick restarted well but Musselburgh survived and revived their hopes when Paul Cunningham intercepted deep inside the home half and raced clear before freeing Tom Foley to go over and leave Owenson a simple conversion.
Hawick battered the home defence without success for a full 20 minutes before Bailey Donaldson finally found a way through with 15 minutes to play and Weir converted.
The home resistance was broken and further scores from Stuart Graham and Andrew Mitchell, both converted by Weir, completed the scoring.