Glasgow Hawks Rugby Club Tangent Graphic

Match against Stirling County (21-Dec-2013)

Date: Saturday, 21st December 2013
Kickoff time: 14:30
Against: Stirling County
Team: Hawks 1st XV
Location: Home
Competition: Premiership Division 1
Final score: 10 - 25 (lost)

Glasgow Hawks 10 Stirling County 25

"Keep right on to the end
Tho' the way may be long,
let your heart be strong,
keep right on round the bend.
Tho' you're tired and weary still journey on,
till you come to your happy abode".

There was a feeling of weariness as the Hawks saved their worst performance of the season for the last league match of 2013. It has been a long year from the wild winter which led to the harum-scarum fixture backlog which saw the club gain promotion and the league title over Hawick, in such dramatic style. Then there was the new season and the challenge of 14 matches by Christmas at a much higher level. Yes, the side looked weary and they appeared to have left their “A” game at home on the night stand.
The game started poorly and Hawks were lucky not to go behind to a Brian Archibald penalty in the 4th minute as the County full-back mussed uncharacteristically. The reprieve was short lived as the visitors gathers Hawks 22 re-start and ran from deep with the ball passing down the backs as they glided past the home defence and allowing Richie Vernon to go over for a simple score. Archibald didn’t miss a second time as he added the extras. (0-7)
Hawks looked stunned and this was not what the home support were used to seeing, as all season Hawks have started games with high intensity, here they started in lethargic fashion.
It came as no surprise when they went further behind after 15 minutes. This time County were attacking in Hawks 22 and as the defensive line moved visiting stand-off, Stuart Edwards, put a deft kick toward the far corner over the Hawks midfield. A tremendous burst of pace saw Matt Lamb gather the kick and cross the line before running round to touchdown near the posts, with Archibald kicking the additional two points Hawks were floundering. (0-14)
As the half progressed, Hawks were authors of further misfortune as the turned over ball to County 8 times in contact by half-time. The handling was poor as well. Whilst the pack was clearly ascendant it failed to provide a platform for the team to get into the game. When they did strike the ball, A J Macfarlane was a constant menace to Ross Miller and had the upper hand in the battle with Sean Yacoubian first, then Dan Smart. Scott Wight pulled a penalty back in 25 minutes and struck the post with a longer kick but there was no real threat in the home sides play and the 3 points were negated just before half time as Archibald put a 3rd kick over on the stroke of half-time. (3-17)
Archibald, played his part as the Old Anniesland Grinch right from the restart, as he slotted over his fourth kick of the day in the opening minute. It really did seem unrelenting. There was gloom across the ground, both from the low winter light and the mood of the players and spectators. It seemed that it was only a matter of time before County put the home side to the sword.
In 65 minutes County prop, Jamie Bhatti was over from close range to secure hsis sides third try and there was little joy expressed when Archibald missed the conversion. (3-25)
There was a brief lift in home spirits, within minutes of the re-start, when Miller, playing his last match before he leaves for Australia, broke through the line. Indeed it was possibly the first proper line-break of the match for Hawks. He careered into a space behind the County midfield inside their 10 metre line. Realising that he was about to be pulled down he put his boot through the ball sending it hurtling toward the visitor’s in-goal. The County backs looked favourite to get to the ball first however Smart was having none of it and hared after the ball as it bobbled and bumbled through the in goal. The Kiwi was on it as it almost staggered through the back of the in-goal are. Wight converted but there were still three scores between the sides with less than 15 minutes on the clock. (10-25)
Hawks had the most of the next 10 minutes but it never felt anything other than too little too late as the game and the year staggered to the end.
As full time appeared on the horizon, wings Haddon McPherson and Matt Lamb saw red and it was not Santa’s hat, as the referee sent them to the stand for a fight, for which the SRU will probably reward them with a suspension in the New Year.
As the game ended there was a sense of relief that the score was not greater. Any Positives to be taken from the game? In truth probably none, however, Jamie Dempsey and Jimmy Sinclair do have a break before league action resumes which will allow the side to rest and return to their previous good form.

Glasgow Hawks 10 Stirling County 25

Tries​Smart (66)
Con ​Wight (66)
Pen​Wight (25)

Tries​Vernon (5), Lamb (15), Bhatti (65)
Con​Archibald (5, 15)
Pen ​Archibald (40, 42
Glasgow Hawks slumped to their worst defeat at home this year as the finished 2013 with a home defeat against a Stirling County side that outplayed them in every aspect of the game.
Hawks suffered a blow to their hopes early in the first half when the County backs sliced through the home defence in 5 minutes. The ease with which Glasgow warriors pro, Richie Vernon, finished off a sweeping backs move for an easy try. Brian Archibald added the conversion and even at this point it looked like Hawks would struggle.
This was hammered home in 15 minutes as the visitors increased their lead. Another wide move was just held out in the home 22 before the ball was recycled. County stand-off, Stuart Edwards put the deftest of angled kicks over the heads of the Hawks’ midfield which was gathered by winger Matt Lamb who gathered superbly to give himself the simplest run-in, which Archibald again converted.
A Scott Wight penalty was the only score for the Hawks in the first period as a persistent failure to hold onto the ball in contact saw them gift County the ball no fewer than 8 times. As the half was coming to an end Archibald put a penalty over for the visitors and it was 3-17 at half-time.
Archibald started the second half as he had ended the first with a simple penalty which increased the difference to 17 points.
As the game moved staggered on Hawks struggled put together any sort of passage of play. They looked very much like a scratch side.
Just beyond the hour County seemed yo be pushing home for a bonus as prop Jamie Bhatti went over from close range securing the third try.
Finally Hawks actually put a passage of play, when Ross Miller burst through the mdfield. Rampaging over the 10 metre line he saw he would not pass the cover and hoofed it toward the visitors goal=line as the ball rolled toward the dead ball, Dan Smart was first to it beating Stirling’s defence and scoring the try.
Wight added the conversion but although there was over 10 minutes left Hawks were adrift and it was too little too late.
Red cards for Hadden McPherson and Matt Lamb will see them disciplined but this was the last moments of the game and did not affect the outcome.

Team list for this match
Andrew Kirkland
Andrew Linton
Andy Redmayne
Brendan Cullihane
Callum Kerr
David Milne
Finlay Gillies
Haddon Mcpherson
Jack Steele
James Gormley
John Lohar
Neil Herron
Sean Yacoubian
Stephen Leckey
Steven Findlay

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