whitecraigs 8

hawick 41


IN the good old days, Whitecraigs was noted for its Tennis Club dances, rather than its rugby and, even further back, Hawick was famous for its cricketing deeds prior to the game which made it famous.

So it was a truly sporting ambience which presented itself at West Lodge on a fine autumnal afternoon before a crowd 10 times its average size.

''The biggest match in the history of Whitecraigs'' trumpeted the programme. Six divisions between them - and over a century of tradition - and yet for the first half of this combustible game, it looked very much as if the Hawick lads would have been more comfortable at the Tennis Club dance.

No time at all before the Hawick worthies, back in Glasgow for a second difficult week were evincing some interest - ''Get intae this bliddy game Hawick, ye're playing like a lot of dumplings!''.

Succinct and indeed accurate; on a day when Boroughmuir, Melrose and Heriot's were putting 70 past their respective cup minnows, Hawick were trailing 8-7 at half-time, their only score having come on the whistle courtesy of their lively Kiwi No.8 Nick Martin finally making it to the posts after another touch-line take by Scott MacLeod.

If the Hawick pack were sluggish, their hinge was badly in need of lubrication, with David Irvine undergoing a fit of the fumbles at scrum half and Ryan Philbin, deputising for Keith Davison, running his threequarters in a lateral direction towards Ayrshire.

However, great credit must go to the Glasgow Southsiders whose youthful team covered themselves in first half glory. Teenage props and a sonsy second row laid the foundations of a torrid and totally unexpected gruelling time for the Borderers.

'Craigs got the first try after an assured lineout take by David Nimmo; Ricky Brown took clean ball and the entire home pack went over the line, the score being credited to the impressive teenage No.8 Stevie Swindall.

Unbelievably, it was an eight point margin 10 minutes later when Ryan Moffat slotted home a penalty goal.

Hawick were rattled, a judgement well illustrated with the sin-binning of their flanker Wattie Davies for an off the ball incident. However, as in all but one of the David and Goliath struggles, it was not to be!

While the four second half Hawick tries hardly flowed thick and fast, the traffic went down a one way street, with the power of Nikki Walker pretty impressive in his two scores; the running from deep of Colin Turnbull more than a latent threat; and the faultless goal-kicking of Gavin Douglas proving that Glasgow is a happy hunting ground for him.

Speaking of happy, the West Lodge beer repository took at pasting.

Whitecraigs G Fisher (A MacIntyre 40 min); S Henderson, C Dickinson, R Moffat, G Hutton; K Murray, D Logan; D Chalmers, C Donaghy, R Gibson, R Brown, D Nimmo, M Wilson, S Swindall, D Hume (A Milne 55)

Hawick3C Turnbull; N Walker, J Houston, G Douglas, C Murray; R Philbin, D Irvine (Douglas 70); A Gillie (McDevitt 70), G Scott, C Dunlea, S McLeod, G Petrie, W Davies, N Martin, R Deans

Referee M Valentine (Stewartry)

Scoring sequence (Whitecraigs first) 5-0, 8-0, 8-7, 8-10, 8-13, 8-20, 8-27, 8-34, 8-41

Scorers Whitecraigs, Try - Swindall (7) Pen Moffat (18) Hawick. Tries Martin (40), Walker (60), Dunlea (71), Walker (75), Turnbull (79) Cons Douglas (5), Pen Douglas (50) Drop goal Turnbull (55)