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Glasgow Hawks 21-55 Currie: Ally Donaldson's side defy fatigue to wrap up second title in four years

Published Date: 09 May 2010

By Iain Morrison

at Burnbrae

CURRIE secured their second championship in four years but they were made to sweat for it in the sun at Burnbrae, at least for the first 40 minutes.

When Currie won the title in 2007 they had things wrapped up by 23 December, but this time it has taken them to the second week in May. It's been a long, tiring season and it showed at times.

Currie were actually trailing Hawks 14-12 with five minutes of the first half still to play and had Hawks converted a couple of golden opportunities to extend that lead, then Ally Donaldson's legendary patience would have been sorely tested.

"We're absolutely delighted," said the Currie coach after the match, soaked with champagne. "Everyone else said that this was a done deal but nobody at Currie thought that we'd won the title before this match especially after Heriot's missed that penalty with the last kick of the game on Thursday night.

"I am really proud of the players, they have been outstanding all year. Nobody picked us to do this, in fact one journalist had us down for relegation and that's pinned up on our changing room. We thought we'd do well this year, you need a bit of luck with injuries and so on and we managed that.

"This is a more rounded team than the last time we won the championship when we got a bit of stick about our style of play, we were a bit forward orientated. This is a very young team, there are only two guys over 30 and there is only one who won't be here next year. Willie Moala would love to stay but his visa runs out. We've got a lot of good young guys coming through so this is a team that I hope can go on and improve. The U18s and U15s have won the Scottish cups so the future does look bright for us."

There was just one other aspect that the triumphant coach had to get off his chest before he departed to join in the players' celebrations. The whole thorny subject of money and Donaldson was insistent that Currie had not bought the title.

"You read all these online comments about Currie buying a team but our playing budget will be one of the lowest in the league. These guys like Andy Adam, Ross Weston, Mark Cairns, Richard Sneddon, are all here for the right reason and it's not about money."

There was a suspicion that this match was going to be something of an end of season Barbarian-style exhibition of running rugby and the opening three minutes only served to confirm it. Currie's flyer Moala opened the scoring in the opening minute of the match. he picked a neat line off flyhalf Andy Binikos directly from a lineout deep inside the Currie 22. Hawks defenders fell off both men as the Tongan ran in from 40 yards out.

If that was simple so was Hawks' immediate response when Mike Adamson scored straight from a set scrum and jumped up to skelp the touchline conversion over.

Binikos and Grant Strang added second tries for Currie and Hawks respectively, the second an interception that sent a wave of concern through the Currie supporters since it gave the hosts a two point lead.

Currie banged away at the Hawks' line in a series of pick and drives from their giant forward pack, but to their credit the home side refused to buckle and all Currie came away with was a Johnny Smith penalty. They would probably have settled for a one point advantage at the break instead they enjoyed their half time oranges 15 points ahead.

This match was effectively decided in the three minutes immediately before half time when Currie's John Cox scored two tries, the first made by Binikos, the second courtesy of some clever obstruction, to give his side a commanding lead that they never looked like losing. On both occasions the giant Currie prop ran right over the top of Craig Gossman who was left lying in his wake like roadkill.

The poor winger made a better fist of it than many others. In fact, tackling throughout this match proved no more than an extra option that neither side opted for.

At one point in the second half, Currie replacement Mike Entwhistle might have had "leper" written on his forehead since he shrugged half the Hawks team off in a ploughing forward run before he was finally felled just shy of the line.

With the likes of Adamson and Craig Gossman sidelined by injury, the second half became something of a procession, with all the traffic headed towards the Hawks' try line. Replacement James Johnstone grabbed his side's fifth touchdown and he was followed over the line by flanker Jamie Thomson.

Moala snatched his second and substitute hooker Neil Scobie was the last man up after a forward drive. Robbie Hair grabbed one try back for Hawks and would have had a second but for Binikos diving tap tackle as the game disintegrated into 15-a-side sevens.

Club rugby in Scotland has broken out of its traditional heartland and Currie's league success following fast on the heels of Ayr's cup triumph only goes to prove it. Welcome to the future.

Glasgow Hawks: Adamson; R Hair, Morrison, Harkness, C Gossman; White, Jericevich; Strain, Maclay, Cox, Hunter, Harvey, Whittleston, McKay, Strang. Subs: Niven, Kerr, C Taylor, McDonald, M Taylor

Currie: Smith; Moala, Kinloch, MacMahon, Fife; Binikos, Sneddon; Cox, Walker, Hamilton, Wilson, Adam, Cairns, Thomson, Weston. Subs: Scobie, Entwhistle, Burton, White, Johnstone

Scorers: Glasgow Hawks Tries: Adamson, Strang, Hair. Conv: Adamson, Hair (2). Currie Tries: Moala (2), Binikos, Cox (2), Johnstone, Thomson, Scobie. Conv: Smith (6) Pen: Smith

Referee: Lee (RFU)

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