A WAKE-UP call for both teams – but for very different reasons. For Hawick, it was the first piece of tangible evidence that they might be capable of claiming a few scalps at this level – and maybe even escaping relegation this season.
Edinburgh Accies 22 - 34 Hawick
Scorers: Edinburgh Accies – Tries: Allan, Glashan, Liness, Campbell. Con: Bonner. Hawick – Tries: Fedo, McLeod, Armstrong, Hutton. Cons: Renwick (4); Pen: Renwick (2).
Referee: James Matthew
Greens coach Phil Leck said afterwards: “The lads have come into it a little bit like frightened rabbits. We had opportunities to beat both Aberdeen and Hawks but we didn’t put them away – so it was good to get that monkey off our back today.”
“What we’re trying to do is adjust to the pace of the Premiership and it’s taken a bit of time. We’ve never had the same side out, we’ve had a few injuries and it’s been a bit of a nightmare, to be perfectly honest.
“Once we’ve got our missing players back and a settled team then we are perfectly capable of competing but we need to do that on a week-to-week basis because we can’t play a cup final every Saturday.”
For Accies, it was a painful lesson. Two narrow wins from their first two games does not suddenly transform a side into one capable of cruising to victory in third gear.
Their coach Jonny Else said: “We talked about how we wanted to play but we just weren’t at the races and made a lot of silly little schoolboy errors, especially during the second half.”
Accies were pedestrian in possession, so that their exciting back three of Jamie Farndale, Jamie Sole and Nyle Godsmark had few chances to shine.
And their defensive resolve, which had served them so well in their first two matches, was nowhere to be seen.
This was most starkly illustrated in the lead up to Hawick’s opening try midway through the first half when, after a loose Alex Blair clearance, Michael Fedo set off on a run which the Scotland Sevens player could scarcely have imagined would end with him touching down under the posts.
It was like a comedy sketch, with a succession of defenders bouncing off the open-side flanker as if he were made of rubber.
Despite this embarrassing set-back, Accies were still very much in the hunt at the break, with Alex Allan having rumbled over after Accies had taken full advantage of some good line-out possession, and Alex Glashan also getting on the scoresheet thanks to a neat half-break from Phil Cringle.
The arrival on the park after 50 minutes of Hawick’s talismanic stand-off Rory Hutton, who missed the start of the season with a knee injury, brought an added impetus to proceedings, with which Accies failed to cope.
Despite losing Greg Anderson to the sin-bin for recklessly (but not maliciously) taking Godsmark out in the air, Hawick started to pile on the pressure. Renwick hacked a loose ball ahead and was unlucky that it bobbled out of play just before he was able to touch-down. Accies won the subsequent line-out but once again sent a weak clearance up-field, and Hawick capitalised fully with Scott McLeod hitting a fine angle to dart over.
Hutton them sniffed out a gap with a flurry of dummies and side-steps before sending Lee Armstrong in for try number three, and the bonus point was secured when Hutton himself streaked clear after an exchange of passes with Anderson.
Accies rallied during the last ten minutes with Michael Liness and Greg Campbell touching down. It was too little, too late.
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole; J Farndale, E Campbell, R Bonner, N Godsmark (S Pecqueur 55); A Blair, A Glashan (C Dean 52); A Allan (D Morrison 46), M Liness, P Cringle (S Strudwick 64), G Campbell, J McCarthy, N Aitken, R Snape, T Drennan (A Findlater 25).
Hawick: N Renwick; S McLeod, J Johnstone, G Johnstone (L Armstrong 18), G Anderson; A Weir (R Hutton 50), B Campbell; S Muir, L Gibson, L Launders (M Landels 50), B McNeil, K Willison, N Mactaggart (R Scott 50), M Fedo, K Davies.