Aberdeen Grammar 34 Hawick 22
Aberdeen Grammar put a difficult week behind them to surge into sixth place in the Premiership after registering a first win since beating Stirling County at Rubislaw on September 14.
Victory was welcomed by coach Kevin Wyness who said: “It has been a tough time of late. This is exactly the game we needed. I am indebted to referee Iain Heard for allowing the game to flow and also to Hawick for contributing to a fine game of running rugby, but it’s great to have recorded a double over them.
“We did it the hard way, coming back from 22-15 down at half-time, not something we have been doing in recent weeks.”
Having surrendered a 12-3 lead, patiently built up in the first half, Grammar hit back through stand off Mark Ryan, who had his best game in a Grammar jersey, kicking a penalty to make it 15-15. But Hawick then scored an converted try, thanks to the pace of centre James Johnstone, one of the standouts in their skilful back division.
But to the delight of the Rubislaw faithfull Grammar came out in the second period with a grim determination and controlled the game with effect and emphasis, running in three unanswered tries to claim a welcome winning bonus point.
Tom Preece led the way with the first of two tries to confirm his value to the side, although it was the effort of replacement winger Calum Gordon which brought the house down when he ran on to a perfect chip over the Greens defence from fellow winger Peceli Nacamavuto.
Preece underlined the home side’s supremacy with his second try which was converted by Ryan’s replacement Graeme Clow to bring down the curtain on a long spell of uncertainty for the club. But with three away games coming up, no one at Rubislaw should be taking anything for granted.
In the opening quarter Grammar looked like they would run away with the game on the back of a rampant pack, enabling winger Erlend Oag to run in the opener which was converted by Ryan.
Even when Hawick full back Neil Renwick kicked a penalty, Grammar were able to raise their game to set up prop Struan Cessford for an unconverted touchdown to make it 12-3.
Hawick then enjoyed a purple patch, orchestrated by the excellent Renwick, who scored one try and made the other for prop Shawn Muir, one of which was converted.
At 15-12 down, Grammar kept their heads, while looking vulnerable to the rapier thrusts of the Mansfield Park back division. Locks Jamie Metcalfe and Andy Cramond were standouts behind the rampant front row of Matt Schosser, Sean O’Connor and Cessford, while centre Harry Duthie was a shrewd captain.
“It’s a great relief to have won, but we’ve never lost faith in ourselves.” Said Duthie.
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Grammar: Will Wardlaw; Erlend Oag, Sam Ryan, Harry Duthie (captain), Peceli Nacamavuto; Mark Ryan, Morgan Ward; Matt Schosser, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford; Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe; Sam Bingham, Tony McGinness, Tom Preece.
Replacements: Graeme Clow, Calum Gordon, Rob Cessford, Chris Allan, Mike Cox.
Hawick : Neil Renwick; Scott McLeod, James Johnstone, Gary Johnstone, John Coutts; Ali Weir, Jake Evans; Shawn Muir, Ross Graham, Wullie Blacklock; Rob McAlpine, Kieran Willison; Keith Davies (captain), Stuart Graham, Bruce McNeil.
Replacements: Matt Landels, Liam Launders, Nick Mctaggart, Neil McColm, Lee Armstrong.
Referee: Iain Heard