Currie Chieftains v Hawick RFC, 6 November 2021

As the two teams were lining up for the start of this match, the persistent rain of the past few days was blown away on the gale force wind and everyone realised the conditions would have a considerable influence over this crucial Tennent’s Premiership encounter.

Currie kicked off with wind advantage and they were soon threatening the ‘Greens’ line. After 10 minutes camped in the Hawick 22, the Chieftains looked set to continue their assault. But the resolute well-organised Hawick defence tackled ferociously and kept their line intact.

A combination of strong carries from forwards Rhys Davies, Hamish Ferguson, and Gregor Nelson plus slick handling by the Chieftains’ backs looked likely to prevail. Then, a gust of wind and a Currie player slipping on the wet surface produced in a loose rolling ball. This was fly-hacked the length of the pitch and the Hawick wing touched down for a converted try, against the run of play.

Currie regrouped, and with the aid of the relentless wind they were soon back in control. Gregor Hunter kicked a fine penalty and on 15 minutes converted the Chieftains’ opening try. The pack had secured a lineout and Gregor Scougall protected the ball at the back of a juggernaut driving maul. Finally, Paddy Boyer released the elusive DJ Innis who took out three defenders and cleverly flipped the scoring pass for Cammy Gray to race in under the posts. Hawick were finding it difficult to get out of their half, but Currie could not break through their solid defence. On 25 minutes Gregor Hunter’s long-range penalty shot drifted wide. But, following sterling forward work leading to a tremendous try for Rhys Davies, Gregor was back on target with this kick at goal.

As halftime approached the visitors ventured into Chieftain territory with a scintillating display of powerful running and handling which ripped through the Malleny team’s defence culminating in a superb unconverted try. The visitors continued to attack, and when near the home 22 they shunted Currie’s scrum backwards; thankfully, Wallace Nelson cleaned up and Cairn Ramsey came away with the ball. The prop’s fine pass to James McCaig sent the speedy wing scooting down the stand-side touchline and Fergus Scott took the inside scoring pass which stretched the Chieftains’ lead. Halftime score: Currie Chieftains 24 pts, Hawick 12 pts.

The strong swirling wind was certainly an advantage, and 10 minutes from the restart Hawick had scored a try after their forwards had created the opening for stand-off Kirk Ford, who also converted the touchdown. With only 5 points separating the teams, and Hawick hammering into the home defenders, things became tense. Currie held on to possession when it came their way and edged into the opposition 22 with a penalty lineout. Once again, Hamish Ferguson secured the ball and the pack drove to within 5 metres of the line. Prop Graeme Carson in close support stormed in for a crucial score but unfortunately Gregor Hunter’s difficult conversion rebounded off the post.

In the final 15 minutes Hawick narrowed the margin through a forwards try, which was unconverted. They then maintained their pressure right to the end of the match. However, a combination of Currie’s fierce defence and their ability to retain the ball when they got it, saw them to the final whistle at the end of a truly excellent match.

Final Score: Currie 29 pts (t 4, c 3, PG 1) v Hawick 24 pts (t 4, c 2)

I.J.S – 8.11.21.