Monday, 10 October 2011

Hawick RCF - Mansfield Park

8th October 2011

Hawick 0-14 Gala

If any fixture can be regarded as some sort of Scottish club rugby “Old Firm” clash, then I suppose it is this one.  Certainly for guys like me of a certain vintage, who recall this pair’s duopoly of the Scottish Rugby Championship from its inception in 1973, almost unbroken until 1988.  

The programme talked about attendances of 3,000 in 1982, and 4-5,000 in the 1960s for the fixture, but there looked to be only around 600 or so at Mansfield Park this particular afternoon.  Still impressive, in these post professionalism days.

The attendees were pretty much divided equally between the Ruffty-tuffties, who stood on the terracing in the relentless rain (many without brollies), and the Softies, who took to the impressive stand.  There were, not surprisingly, no Softies on the pitch however, although I was taken a touch aback at the youthful look of some of the home lads.  Maybe, one should add Hawick Backs to that list which includes policemen and doctors: - individuals who seem to look younger and younger, as one gets older.

Panorama of Mansfield Park, Hawick.

The Mansfield Park stand

The Mansfield Park terracing.

From the rugby ground can be seen Albert Park,
home of the East of Scotland side Hawick Royal Albert.

Another view of the stand.

Panorama of the ground from the east.

The match found the two combatants enjoying/enduring vastly different fortunes so far this season with Gala, sitting second in the Scottish Premiership, visiting a Hawick side still looking for their first win.  And as the match progressed, it was not difficult to see why as, for all of their possession and territorial advantage, it became clear this Hawick side was very much a blunt instrument, despite the constant prompting and probing of the impressive Greg Cotrell.

Gala themselves didn’t look any great shakes, although they didn’t really need to be.  They won by the simple expedient of setting themselves up as an immovable object into which the totally resistible force of their hosts, bashed itself fruitlessly for 80 minutes.  Gala took advantage of the one clear opportunity they created, Allen EDMOND sprinting in for a try in the 21st minute, and then relied on Lee MILLER to pop over whatever penalties came their way; something he seemed able to do with a remarkably effortless looking technique.

14-0 to the visitors it eventually finished, although with a kickable penalty in the dying minutes, I was surprised Hawick didn’t go for the 3 points just to get rid of the slightly humiliating 0 from the scoreline.

As I was leaving the ground, I overheard (?eavesdropped on) a woman relating the result to someone on her mobile phone:

“It was atrocious”, she reported grumpily “I could hae bid at hame, and made ma Christmas Cake!”


The ball looks as if it is never going to come down.

Gala on the attack in the first-half.

This size of this chap's lens did make me feel decidedly inadequate -
 even more so than usual. 

Cotrell prepares to set up another fruitless atack.

A pair of Hawick replacements making the Beast With Two Backs.

Lee MILLER'S third succesful penalty.

Clubhouse with electronic scoreboard.
Panorama of Mansfield Park, taken from the stand.

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