Glasgow Hawks v Currie Chieftains, 9 October 2021
Another dreich autumn afternoon on a soft, very green Balgray pitch that glistened with water droplets, did not hold many prospects for open rugby. Frequently the ball squirted from players’ grasp which made for exciting, if unstructured play, which rarely got beyond the 22-metre line of either team. Whenever there was a threat, the ball was punted well away from the danger zone in the other direction.
Currie’s energetic start had the big Hawks pack defending desperately, but they were well up to the task and their excellent play-maker, Liam Brims, belted the ball to safety, a task he repeated throughout the afternoon. On 5 minutes, as play moved into Chieftains’ territory, they were penalised for being offside and Hawks took a three-point lead.
A few minutes later, following a series of precision touch kicks from Gregor Hunter, the Currie forwards secured a 5-metre lineout ball and drove over for an unconverted try accredited to the on-form Rhys Davies.
Both scrums were solid but on several occasion Hawks’ lineout misfired, and Currie tried to capitalise, going close with effort from Hamish Ferguson and DJ Innes. Adam Hall made a clean mid-field break, but as with similar surges by the Hawks mobile pack, the attack fizzled out in the damp conditions.
The nip and tuck rugby continued, and Currie were warned about several high tackles. Just on halftime, as Hawks were enjoying more possession and territory, Currie gave away a penalty which standoff, Liam Brims, converted to give the home side a narrow lead. (Halftime score: Glasgow Hawks 6 pts, Currie Chieftains 5 pts.)
The second half Chieftains began with Chieftains continuing to impress as Coach Mark Cairns took advantage of his strong bench. New lock forward, Cody Roman added height and weight to the forward effort, but neither team could take control in the deteriorating wet conditions.
Currie were winning the lion’s share of territory, but frequent handling errors or a stout Hawks defence prevented any tangible advantage. The Hawks game plan, to pump the ball into opposition territory and keep them well away from the home goal line was working well and consistently frustrated the visitors.
As the match progressed it appeared that the only way Currie would secure points was through the boot of Gregor Hunter, who added three penalty goals to the Chieftains’ total, to put Chieftains ahead 6-14. However, the Hawks pack produced a storming passage of play which took them deep into the visitors’ 22 metre area. When Chieftains were penalised for a high tackle the alert Liam Brims took a quick tap penalty kick and shot over for a try which he converted.
The remaining 10 minutes were a tense time for the visitors and their supporters Hawks pressed for the win, but the Chieftains managed to hold on and secured the outcome 13-14.
The prevailing weather conditions did not suit Currie’s natural game, as past-experience has shown. However, the team took sensible options rather than play ‘pretty’ rugby and there were notable performances from the Currie front row, where AP McWilliam, Graeme Carson, Ryan Stewart and Gregor Scougall shone. There was also solid defence under the wet high ball from Charlie Brett, James McCaig, Cammy Lessels and the ever-reliable Gregor Hunter.
Final score: Glasgow Hawks 13 pts (t 1, c 1, pg 2) v Currie Chieftains 14 pts (t 1, pg 3)
I.J.S. – 10.10.21.