Currie overcome Hawick in quest for play-offs

Currie head coach Ben Cairns hailed his side’s battling qualities after they defeated Hawick 17-15 to keep their charge for a championship play-off spot in the BT Premiership going at Malleny Park. 

At times it was not pretty with so much at stake for both sides, but the hosts held on despite some late pressure from Hawick.

The result leaves Currie in third place with two regular season league matches left while Hawick are sixth with two matches to go.

The Greens took a losing bonus point from this one and could still force their way into the top four in the coming weeks.

Cairns said:  “At times we tried to force things a bit too much and made things difficult for ourselves, but I cannot fault the guys’ efforts.

They stuck to it when Hawick threw a lot at us and now we have to build on this and try and go on and secure a home semi-final in the play-offs.”

Hawick got off to a good start and were just a couple of yards short of the Currie try line when they conceded a penalty that let the hosts out of jail.

They also seemed to get the upper hand in the early scrummaging exchanges despite Currie having Scotland caps Ryan Grant and Mike Cusack in the prop positions.

However, it was Currie who took the lead in the 17th minute when some patient build-up play eventually saw second-row Mike Vernel go over from close range for the try.

Stand-off James Semple converted and it was 7-0.

Four minutes later Hawick got themselves on the scoreboard when stand-off Lee Armstrong kicked a penalty.

Straight from the restart Hawick let the ball bounce though and it allowed Currie back-row Travis Brooke to run onto it.

He got close to the try line, but was stopped in his tracks by some dogged defence although a penalty was conceded.

Semple kicked the easy three points while Vernel had to leave the field moments later after taking a knock, being replaced by Scotland under-20 hopeful Hamish Bain.

That was in the 24th minute and the rest of the half was fairly even with both sides working hard to add to their respective totals.

Both defences stood firm until a slick Hawick backs move saw them get their first try of the day in the 36th minute.

It came from full-back Neil Renwick, slicing through the defence to dot down after taking a pass from centre Wiaan Griebenow.

Armstrong missed the conversion, but they were back in it at 10-8 down at the interval.

The second half started a bit cagily with both sides putting in a number of poor kicks from hand.

Things burst into life in the 52nd minute when Currie full-back Harvey Elms had a good run into the Hawick ‘22’.

A few minutes of Currie pressure ensued and eventually Hawick back-row Bruce McNeil was yellow carded for a high tackle on Currie scrum-half Charlie Shiel.

From the resultant penalty Hawick won a penalty five metres from their own line and managed to avert the danger.

Currie did use their man advantage to get a second try of the match a few minutes later though, Brooke powering over with Semple converting.

Back up to 15 men Hawick gave themselves a lifeline with a converted try. It came from McNeil with Armstrong converting with 10 minutes remaining.

In the final stages Hawick threw everything at Currie, but the hosts came through 17-15.

For Currie, Brooke was very impressive as was captain Ross Weston while Hawick were best served by promising hooker Ross Graham.

Elsewhere in the BT Premiership, Heriot's defeated Gala 20-19 at Netherdale, Boroughmuir toppled Selkirk 34-12 at Philiphaugh and Ayr won 10-6 on the road to Stirling County. 

Currie: Harvey Elms; Ben Robbins, Fidias Efthymiou, Robbie Nelson, Rory Hughes; James Semple, Charlie Shiel; Ryan Grant, Matt Goodwin, Mike Cusack, Mike Vernel, Stephen Ainslie, Luke Crosbie, Ross Weston (C), Travis Brooke. Subs: Graeme Carson, Alistair Hamilton, Hamish Bain, Matt O’Neill, Matt McPhillips.

Hawick: Neil Renwick; Darcy Graham, Wiaan Griebenow, Grant Huggan, Craig Russell, Sean Goodfellow; Shawn Muir, Ross Graham, Garry Douglas, Scott MacLeod, Craig Charters, Bruce McNeil (C), Keith Davies, Stuart Graham. Subs: Fraser Renwick, Finlay Simpson, Ross Gibson, Ali Weir, Greg Cottrell.

Scorers: Currie: Tries: Vernel, Brooke. Penalty: Semple. Conversions: Semple 2. Hawick: Tries: N Renwick, McNeil. Penalty: Armstrong. Con: Armstrong.

Referee: Neil Paterson.