Blacks power their way to impressive victory
Hawick Harlequins 20-36 Berwick
Berwick took the road to Hawick on the back of a good week in training and with the side bolstered with the signing of prodigal son Ali Grieve from Hawick.
The game was always going to be hard given Hawick’s winning record against Berwick and on the back of them being Champions for the last 2 seasons.
The game started at high tempo with the referee keen to let both sides get on with running rugby. The players responded to the referee’s positivity in a good way by going for it in a furious series of attacks from each side.
First blood went to Berwick after a series of rucks eventually drew a penalty chance which Andrew Skeen converted to earn the three points. Hawick though fought back almost immediately and outside centre Neil Anderson popped through the line to score a well worked try. The conversion was missed but the home side had taken the lead at 5-3.
Berwick though continued the fast start to retake the lead through second row Euan Thompson. The try came after a great run from full back Rory Hindhaugh had carved the defence open and then quick recycling saw Thompson gather the ball on the 5m line to score under the posts. The formality of the conversion from Skeen saw Berwick 5-10 in front.
Berwick continued to keep the tempo high this earned them another try when Skeen made the break and cut inside to free Gareth Hill to take the pass on his outside to let the veteran wing sprint to the whitewash. Skeen converted the try with a wonderful kick out wide for a 5-17 lead.
Hawick’s quality earned them a good try of their own as they put the Berwick defence under pressure straight from the restart. The conversion from Scott Peffers for Hawick was also a good kick and the game was balanced at 12-17.
Berwick responded by striking back within a couple of minutes. They showed some wonderful handling skills to create the space with Hill adding his second try with a determined run and score out wide. Again, Skeen added the points from a difficult position to stretch Berwick’s lead to 12 -24.
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The pace of the game was breathless and Berwick still had time to add another try before half time and it came from full back Hindhaugh. The conversion was added to secure the bonus point before half time with Berwick fully deserving their 12-31 lead.
Harlequins are proud Champions and they showed their pride straight from the restart by upping the tempo and going over for a try to reduce the deficit to 17-31.
Hawick had their tails up and the momentum was very much with them and they earned a penalty chance after Berwick fell foul of the new tackling laws which full back Peffers duly struck through the middle of the posts to close the gap further to 20-31.
Berwick regrouped though and with a series of injuries and scrums slowing the pace they weathered the storm from Hawick with no further scoring until mid-way through the second half.
The game was still anyone’s and it was Berwick who made the pivotal score through full back Hindhaugh. The try was worthy to win any game and started deep in the Berwick half. The forwards made the platform for the backs to take centre stage. Quick hands and an abundance of confidence saw them set off from their own half to allow Hindhaugh the overlap with inches to spare. The speed of movement, support play and angle of running was first class and although the conversion was missed from distance Berwick had stretched the lead to 20 -36.
The score deflated the home side and they knew that they had an Everest to climb if they were to get the win. Unfortunately for them they didn’t have a Hillary or Tenzing in their ranks and Berwick’s hard-working team were in no mood to let them have any more chances.
This was easily Berwick’s best performance of the season and they will be looking to build on it after a week’s break when they host North Berwick at Scremerston on October 13 – kick off 3pm.