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Glasgow Hawks 33 GHA 14: Hawks rise triumphant but GHA get a feather in their cap

IN football terms, this RBS West Regional Cup final would be Partick Thistle vs Queen's Park, with the SPFL Premiership side from north of the river putting their less-exalted rivals in their place.

But although, yes, Hawks did confirm their pre-match favourites status, this was a lot closer than the scoreline indicates.

What the match did confirm is that rugby is alive and well in Glasgow, and about more than just the Warriors. This was a cracking cup final, with the result in doubt for the first hour and more.

Hawks made the early running, but were undone by some forward indiscipline and found themselves trailing to two Scott Lang penalties after the opening 10 minutes. However, they cut out the errors and, after Haddon McPherson had sprinted up the right, the ball was moved left and good work by the pack was finished by Craig Bachurzewski. The Hawks pack also laid the foundations of their side's go-ahead try, scored by centre David Milne on 32 minutes, before more grunt from the piano shifters was finished off and converted by scrum-half Dan Smart to make it 17-6 for Hawks at the break.

GHA had to narrow the gap after the break and they duly did, courtesy of a searing break by veteran Heffin O'Hare, some tigerish follow-up by the pack and a neat grubber kick by stand-off Neil Cassie, on which replacement Dominic Dunn pounced for an unconverted try.

With O'Hare rolling back the years with some great line breaks, and his fellow veteran and former Scotland centre Andy Henderson also to the fore, GHA pressed to further cut the difference. But in a tight third quarter the only other scores were an exchange of penalties from Lang and Hawks' Andy White, whose two successes made it 23-14.

GHA continued to play the more entertaining rugby in the final quarter, although captain Henderson's post-match assessment that "we maybe played it in the wrong areas" cut to the truth. And so the Hawks defence stood firm until, when White goaled his third penalty on 78 minutes, it was clear the Premiership side would win.

The final points, a somewhat controversial Jack Steele try following up a White hack and chase, skewed the scoreboard, with White's final kick conversion extending his side's lead to 19 points.

The first-half Smart try for Hawks seemed, from the press seats, to not have been grounded properly, while at the death Murray Houston appeared to have touched down White's kick before the ball spun loose and was pounced on by Steele. As earlier, however, the referee gave Hawks the benefit of the doubt.

The teams and supporters observed a minute's silence before the match in memory of one of the club's youngest members, who died last week. Sonny Kiernan, the 12-year-old son of television comedian Ford Kiernan, was a keen player and had been working his way up the ranks at Hawks.

"Sonny began playing at his school, Kelvinside Academy," said Hugh Barrow, a club spokesman. "Then joined the GHK mini-section. From there, he moved up to the Hawks set-up last year.

"He was a popular and enthusiastic player who will be sorely missed by his friends and team-mates, and remembered fondly."

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