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Match against Boroughmuir (19-Oct-2002)

Date: Saturday, 19th October 2002
Kickoff time: 15:00
Against: Boroughmuir
Team: Hawks 1st XV
Location: Away
Competition: Premiership Division 1
Final score: 22 - 22 (lost)

Favourites' feathers are ruffled by Hawks


A VISIT to Meggetland, for the last couple of seasons at least, has been a daunting prospect for most teams, especially on balmy September afternoons like this when even the notorious Meggetland gale had subsided to a mere zephyr and conditions were ripe for the sort of running rugby that has made the Premiership 1 leaders such an attraction.

Full credit, then, to Glasgow Hawks for overturning the odds in emphatic fashion with a display of dogged resilience and stout defence that made the home side look, dare I say it, very ordinary.

"I don’t think they are as good as people have been making out," said Hawks coach Shade Munro after seeing his side grab two points and prompt the bookies to hastily revise the odds about the championship returning to Meggetland for the first time since the 1990/1 season.

The rival coaching duo of Sean Lineen and Iain Paxton would no doubt agree, Lineen in particular insisting that the title is far from the foregone conclusion that a lot of pundits have made out.

"For God’s sake, stop calling us favourites," pleaded the former Scotland centre as he and Paxton ruminated over the loss of their 100% record.

Boroughmuir were certainly guilty of over-elaboration and of failing to control the ball at crucial times, particularly in the second half, but most neutrals in the crowd would surely give credit to the fighting spirit of the visitors, for whom most of the 40 minutes after the interval were spent with backs to the wall.

Not only did they concede the softest of soft tries on the stroke of half-time to go behind for the first time but they also lost their scrum-half Kenny Sinclair for the last 10 minutes with a dislocated shoulder. Captain and centre Iain Leighton took over "for the first time in that position since I was about 13," as he revealed later.

For their share of the spoils, too, credit must go to a foraging Hawks back row, in which openside Greg Francis gets better in every match. Francis, No8 Mark Sitch and Neil Mackenzie consistently turned over Boroughmuir ball and such is the pace of Francis that he didn’t look out of place in the centre when he moved there in place of Leighton. It was his dash deep into the Boroughmuir 22 that set up their third try as full-time approached and gave Craig Hodgkinson the chance to kick the dramatic tying conversion.

Hawks had much the better of the first half and struck the first blow when, after an Ally Warnock break, Muir turned the ball over. Centre Graeme Morrison and prop Euan Murray took the ball to within a yard and Sitch picked up and drove over for the opening try.

The conversion was missed by Hodgkinson and Warnock responded within a minute with a penalty within a minute to make it 5-3. But Hawks were already playing like men possessed and on seven minutes stand-off Steven Duffy showed strength and commitment to twist over from close range after a ferocious charge by hooker Chris Docherty. This time Hodgkinson converted and Hawks were 12-3 up.

Boroughmuir finally got their act together and, after a charge from Alasdair Strokosch, Warnock spun the ball wide and Malcolm Clapperton was able to put full-back Tyronne Anderson over, too far out for Warnock to add the two extra points.

But then ’Muir’s No8 Ben Fisher was fingered for scooping the ball out of a disintegrating scrum and Hodgkinson kicked a penalty from just inside the home half to stretch the lead to 15-8. Finally the Hawks defence came in from the side of a ruck just outside their 22 and Hodgkinson kicked his second penalty. Then came what most of us considered to be the turning point when Hodgkinson’s pass infield from a missed Warnock clearance rolled obligingly back into the hands of the Boroughmuir stand-off and he ran in from 30 metres for the score that put the home side ahead for the first time at 16-15, the half-time whistle going at once.

Within five minutes, a concerted shove by the Muir pack had their opposing numbers reeling backwards at a rate of knots and referee Malcolm Changleng spotted a Hawks hand attempting to undo the damage and Warnock kicked his third penalty to give Muir a 19-15 lead.

The game appeared over when Anderson seemed to get over in the corner, but Changleng ruled he had been held up and gave Warnock a penalty bang in front instead, the stand-off kicking it.

With Sinclair off and Hawks seemingly in disarray, the visitors lifted their game and had the last word when Francis, out in the centre, made another surging run and Morrison clattered the rest of the way to the line with various ’Muir bodies hanging on in vain. Hodgkinson had the chance to level the scores and made no mistake from 30 metres. On this display, Boroughmuir may just have flattered to deceive in their first three games.

Boroughmuir: T Anderson; J Reilly, M Clapperton, L Graham, R Couper; A Warnock, C Cusiter; R Mathieson, D Cunningham, A Malloy (J Cox 72), A Ness, N Pike, S Reid, B Fisher (capt), A Strokosch (S Cross 47).

Hawks: K Baillie (S Little 54); C Hodgkinson, G Morrison, I Leighton

(capt), W Henry; S Duffy, K Sinclair; E Milligan (G Mories 65), C Docherty

(J Malacoty 70-74), E Murray, I Smith (P Reid 53), R Maxton, N McKenzie, M Sitch, G Francis.

Referee: M Changleng (SRU)

Scorers: Boroughmuir - Tries: Anderson, Warnock. Pens: Warnock (4).

Glasgow Hawks - Tries: Sitch, Duffy, Morrison. Pens: Hodgkinson. Cons: Hodgkinson (2).

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