Hill scores four tries as Berwick pile up points in big home win
Berwick RFC 75-0 Hawick Quins
Fortress Scremerston is no longer a hope. It is a reality after this convincing win over last year’s champions Hawick Quins on Saturday.
Berwick outplayed their opponents in every aspect of the game – scrum, lineout, kicking, defence and attack. Berwick have been guilty of starting slowly but that aspect of their game was notable by its absence in this game with Berwick’s pack showing they were up for the contest straight from the kick-off.
Led by captain Tom Jackson with great support from Ali Grieve and Scott Owens, the Berwick pack started the game with purpose and with some powerful runs. After five minutes of battering on the door, another powerful run, this time from outside centre Aidan Rosie, saw Rosie plant the ball down over the touchline using his height to stretch over. Andrew Skeen continued his recent good kicking form with the conversion and Berwick were 7-0 up.
Soon it was 14-0 as the pack took it in turns to pummel the Hawick defence before second row Scott Owens ran a good supporting line to take an offload and to gallop over the line. The conversion was kicked by Skeen and after only 10 minutes Berwick were in front by two tries.
The strong start continued with Hawick looking strangely off form. After 15 minutes, Aidan Rosie claimed his second try and this too came after strong interplay from the forwards before the backs took it on with Rosie scoring. The conversion was added and Berwick were 21-0 up.
Nonagenarian Gareth Hill continued his scoring form of this season by claiming the bonus point clinching try on 19 minutes as he finished off in tight conditions after some clever running. The conversion was added on the 20-minute mark and Berwick were in front 28-0 with Hawick not in the game.
Hill added his second try after some strong forward play from the pack saw Ryan Wilson go close before quick recycling allowed Hill to show how it should be done with a quick step and touch down. The conversion was missed from near the stand side touchline but Berwick were 33-0 up.
Hill claimed his hat-trick by half-time and this was all down to his individual brilliance with him intercepting the ball inside his own half before setting off on one of his trademark mazy runs to run it in. With Skeen adding the conversion, Berwick finished the half 40-0 up and in complete control.
Berwick’s scrum was so on top that the game went to uncontested scrums as Hawick ran out of front row replacements just before the break.
As the second half got under way, Berwick brought on some of the replacements as they rotated the squad on the field. The changes made little difference with Jack Dalrymple getting a try after Tom Jackson made the initial breakthrough before wisely offloading to his support runner who finished with some style. Conversion from Skeen made it 47-0.
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Hawick Quins’ injury woes continued as they then went down to 14 players. Berwick then evened up the numbers as Adam Hardie was adjudged to have knocked it on deliberately as he tried to intercept a pass.
Shortly after, Berwick went down to 13 men as Cameron Rogerson was also sent to the side-lines. However, this still didn’t slow Berwick down as the uncontested scrums played to Berwick’s advantage with number 8 Grieve picking up and, after drawing in the defence, offloading to his back-row apprentice Jamie Pick who swiftly scored – 54-0.
Pick also scored the next one in a similar fashion to the first but after the number 8 pick up the ball had to go through a couple of phases before he was able to dot down. The conversion was added and it was 61-0 with just over 10 minutes to play.
However, Berwick didn’t just let the clock play down. Instead they scored a quick-fire brace of tries which were created by clever kicking. The first was scored by Hill after a fantastically executed cross field kick from Skeen found his old mini rugby pal Hill out on the wing to catch and touch down for a simple, skilful, silky try.
The final score of the game also had its origins in the boot. This time Dalrymple chipped inside and with great follow-up on the receiver from Rory Hindhaugh and Ben Nicholson, the ball was turned over for Adam Hardie to skip over from a few yards. With the conversion being added, the game was finished with Berwick running out convincing winners 75-0, having scored 11 tries.
This was one of the most comprehensive victories of this league campaign so far against opponents sitting in fourth place in the league.
Asked after the game about the dangers of overconfidence and complacency, head coach Colin Young answered emphatically : “No, that will not be allowed. The coaching team have a lot of experience and we have too much respect for all of our opponents to take any game for granted.
“We haven’t won anything yet. The players have set themselves high standards and a few of them are feeling a bit flat because they felt that we could have got even more tries if we had been at our best throughout the game.”
Berwick’s next league game is away to North Berwick on February 23, but before then they face Hawick Quins in Hawick in the Borders Shield Regional Final on February 16.