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Home > News > Alex Gordon reports from Poynder Park
Your News Alex Gordon reports from Poynder Park

And then there were three...

Three games to take a title, three games to grab a piece of glory, three games to define a season. With just three games remaining in the league season, Hawks made another long trip to the Borders. This time to face Kelso at Poynder Park in a fixture which had been affected by the weather earlier in the season.

As the team travelled the weather gods descended again and snow, sleet and rain assaulted the Eastern half of Scotland. The match could be played but the weather had led the groundsman to predict that the pitch would struggle to cope with a match. The 12.30 kick-off, saw a sparse crowd and the early rumour that a couple of buses were travelling from Hawick proved to be false, although there were still a couple of dozen "teris" lending their "valued" opinions to the match.

Kelso kicked off and Hawks hopes took a blow within a couple of minutes as back-row forward Ally Maxwell lay prone on the floor. His injury was serious enough to see him replaced and take no further part in the match. Hawks took the game to Kelso up front making slow yards but even at this early stage the pitch was losing grass and gaining a heavy coat of mud. A 6th minute penalty for offside allowed Andy White to put the visitors into the home 22, here Hawks pitched their tent as the pack tried to to move forward in inches at a time. It looked like Hawks had pulled ahead when the referee seemed to signal for a try but after a consultation with the far-side touch judge it was decided that they had been held up over the line. A strong scrum on the 5 metre line saw Grant Strang pick the ball up popping a pass to Sean Yacoubian. The scrum half evaded the cover and jinked in for the opening try, which went unconverted. (0-5)

Hawks took Kelso back into their 22, but long clearances saw the home team frustate the hard yards gained by Hawks. When the ball fell to the back three, the conditions underfoot were such that Mike Adamson, James Gormley and Tony Herron struggled to gain any momentum in the counter attack.

Kelso were similarly frustrated on the ball, Hawks defence around the fringes saw the home side make little headway, even in short yardage. In their back line Dom Buckley had a very physical impact at inside centre but the potential of Greg Ponton on the wing was negated by Hawks stranglehold of possession.

What was concerning was the injury count for Hawks, the attritional nature of the game saw players at times strewn across the pitch. Between the mud and the bodies it started to resemble a scene from the Somme. This led to a series of improvisations by coaches Jamie Dempsey and Jimmy Sinclair as they used the available bench to best effect.

As the first half staggered to a finish, Hawks had a couple of let offs as Murray Hastie first hit the post and then missed with two kickable penalties in quick succession.

Whilst, the second half carried on in much the same vein as the first, Hawks did try to push for tries and certainly were the more positive of the two teams. Adamson broke after 50 minutes and put a pass to Gormley. Running out of room the winger tried to pass inside only for the ball to drop agonisingly short. Again, 5 minutes later Andy White managed to drag himself through the mud to beat the Kelso defence before getting a pass into the centre. Unfortunately a desperate home tackle saw the ball knocked on in the tackle.

In 63 minutes Kelso were reduced to 14 men after Buckley was sin-binned for a high tackle. There were calls from the visiting support for a penalty try as well, because Hawks had sight of the line, but in truth, given the conditions and the presence of other Kelso defenders it wasn't that clear cut.

Whilst Kelso, hadn't threatened the line at all in the second half, at 5-0, there was always the chance of a break and a score. It was therefore a relief for the small travelling support when Adamson put over a penalty to make the gap 8 points in 68 minutes. (0-8)

With this breathing space Hawks renewed their effort digging deep into reserves of energy. They pummeled the home line, faced with both a stout Kelso defence and also a pitch which increasingly looked like it was ready to have potatoes planted in it. The reward came in 72 minutes, when hooker Calum Kerr took the ball over the line from close range ducking under the Kelso defence. It was a just reward both for Hawks for their efforts and or Kerr, who like a number of team-mates had to cover some unfamiliar duties this afternoon. (0-13).

While the game slid to a muddy end only the sin-binning of Rory McKay in injury time was of any note. The referee blew for full time and Hawks, looking exhausted had done the job they had come to, taking the 4 points and narrowing Hawick's lead to 4 points. The league championship remains undecided but with a possible 10 points available to Hawks in the remaining two games it is still all to play for. This was an excellent performance and it should never be underestimated what is required to take any result away from the Borders.

Next week a trip to Jedburgh and Riverside Park beckons and by the end of that match the destination of the title may well be a bit clearer.

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