1st XV vs Glasgow Hawks: Match Report
The programme notes, with justified percipience, welcomed ‘the physical presence of both George Hunter and Nick Campbell from Glasgow Warriors’. Although Kerr Gossman was awarded Man Of The Match, it was the control of the set piece – exemplified by Hunter and Campbell – that ultimately gave Hawks a comfortable victory.
We started well, however, and, from the early skirmishes, it looked as if we were going to be able to compete. Certainly Hayden and Scott seemed to relish the physical battle, and, with Andrew Hughes eager to stretch his legs, our backs looked man for man a better unit than the opposition. The time honoured plan seemed to be to move the heavier Hawks forwards around and eventually make our superior mobility pay. For this plan to be successful we needed to keep the mistakes to a minimum, and, unfortunately, this did not happen.
Hawks opened the scoring with a line out catch and driven rolling maul dotted down by Rory McKay (a great athlete – but, Rory, a haircut is required!) with Jericevich converting. We then pulled a try back, in similar fashion, with Reece O’Leary (on his last game for Stewart’s Melville) dotting down.
At this time of the year pitches tend to get firmer and it is easier to play open rugby, however the Old Anniesland turf has seen a lot of rugby and weather, so the surface was less than ideal. The lack of firm footing did not seem to compromise Kerr Gossman, who, in a ten minute period around half time, orchestrated tries for himself, Steven, and Kelbrick. The last of these tries secured a bonus point.
None of these tries was as a result of sustained pressure, but, rather, they stemmed from moments of individual brilliance from Gossman. Suffice to say we missed tackles that you would normally expect our players to make, and watching the video will be done through the slits in the fingers.
Half-time arrived with us 24-5 down, but the Hawks lock Kirkland was in the bin. Could we come back? We were playing a lot of good continuity rugby and, if we got an early score, the game might turn in our favour. Two yellow cards – firstly Wilson for a team offence, then O’Leary – upset our rhythm. Statham and Dixon came off the bench and the scrum steadied, but Rory McKay’s converted second try probably sealed the outcome of the match.
That man Gossman touched down again, but, as expected from our team, we never gave up, and probably had the better of the last twenty minutes. Angus Lean cut ‘against the grain’ and scythed through the defence to score underneath the posts. We played out the last ten minutes in the Hawks 22 but could not add to our score.
Kaide had an outstanding game against Jericevich and Donald Sangster played as well as he has done for us, leading many charges. Fraser did everything asked of him, and, under Kevin and Bruce, will continue to improve and develop. Neil, as ever, revelled in the dirty chores when he came on.
We have Jed-Forest and Heriot’s to come. A victory over Jed on the 17th will give us the Premier 2 title and then it’s Heriot’s on the 24th – tasty!
Peter Wright (Hawks Director of Rugby)
“Tough game. We never quite put Stewart’s Melville away, not much between the teams rugby wise but we had the greater physicality which comes from playing Premier 1.”
Cammy Rudkin (referee)
“Good game, good first half. I was slightly disappointed with Stewart’s Melville, to be honest, as I had heard good things (about you). But Hawks are a Premier 1 team when they want to be. They don’t always play like a Premier 1 team but they are one.”
“I suppose it’s a case of ‘a good big ‘un’ being better than ‘a good little ‘un’.”