Glasgow Hawks secure BT Premiership status

Glasgow Hawks secured their BT Premiership status for next season with a comprehensive 46-0 win over Jed-Forest in the end of season play-off.

A combination of a physical, determined Hawks side and an ill-disciplined performance from the Borders team contributed to an uneven contest.

The team from the West scored six tries in total and dominated possession in the first half through direct ball carrying into a strong headwind and forcing Jed-Forest to concede multiple penalties.

The BT National 1 side’s frustration boiled over on several occasions with four yellow cards being shown in the match, two to number 8 Darren Gillespie who was sent off on half-time for a second incident of foul play.

Prop Connor Hogg and Captain Gregor Young also spent ten minutes each in the sin-bin as Jed struggled to stem wave after wave of Hawks hard-running rugby.

Jed-Forest earned their play-off place having finished second behind Edinburgh Accies in the BT National League 1 on points difference.

The Borders club had enjoyed a fine season recording onlytwo defeats, one to their title rivals Edinburgh Accies back in September and the second to eventual BT Premiership Champions Melrose in the BT Cup in November.

But the opening 40 minutes saw them out-muscled by Hawks and struggling to get a platform either in open play or in a badly functioning set-piece.

Hawks won penalty after penalty at the scrum and in difficult throwing conditions disrupted Jed’s lineout.

Frustration boiled over to ill-discipline for the Borders sideand Gillespie first saw yellow on 15mins for a late charge on Hawks scrum-half Paddy Boyer, then red on 38mins after returning from the bin for an altercation with opposition flanker Callum Kerr.

Hawks direct approach in possession led Jed-Forest to concede double figures on the penalty count and with it any ability to generate phases or repel Hawks’ attacks.

Glasgow Hawks’ own season had not gone smoothly recording only five wins, with the last victory coming over Boroughmuir at Meggetland back in October.

An early end to their domestic fixtures also meant the Glasgow side hadn’t played a competitive fixture since a reverse loss, at home, to Boroughmuir in mid-March.

Hawks though could call a number of their young Scotland U20s players into the starting XV for this crucial fixture, with stand-off Ross Thompson, backs Kyle Rowe and Mark New alongside hooker Grant Stewart, who had been with Glasgow Warriors, all selected and making significant contributions on the day.

Hawks made their intentions clear in the opening minutes and were quickly into a 10-0 lead through a Ross Thompson penalty and converted try.

Despite playing with 14 men from the quarter-hour Jed enjoyed a better spell in the middle of the first half, but struggled to retain possession at key times.

Another Thompson penalty took the score to 13-0 on 30 minutes but with Connor Hogg on the sidelines at the end of the half Hawks turned the screw with hooker Grant Stewart scoring and Gillespie picking up his second yellow on 39mins the signs were ominous for Jed for the second half.

Half time: Glasgow Hawks 18-0 Jed-Forest

Jed-Forest faced an uphill struggle and strong headwind in the second 40 minutes but initially the tactic to keep the ball in hand and tap penalties gave them some decent momentum.

Sean Goodfellow at scrum half for Jed worked hard to up the pace and get behind a strong Hawks defence but his knock on from an attacking line-out in Hawks 22 early on was punished.

A clearing kick from Thompson went from his own 22 to the opposition’s 22 and from a resulting turnover at the line Paddy Boyer fed winger Sam Yawayawa who jinxed his way over. Thompson’s boot added the extras (25-0).

From the kick off Jed-Forest were back under the same pressure in the same location and Hawks began to turn the screw at the scrum, winning penalties, taking scrums, winning more penalties.

Jed skipper Gregor Young was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on as Hawks pressed and from the resulting penalty scrum the ball was kicked out by a Jed player and referee Keith Allen awarded a penalty try (32-0).

On the hour the scrums went uncontested as props Hogg and Oliver for Jed struggled with injuries and while this halted Hawks dominance there they kept pushing the scoreline against a dispirited Borders side.

Paddy Boyer rounded off his combative display with a try,which was followed immediately after with a well worked score by centre Bobbie Beattie. Both converted by Thompson.

Full-time: Glasgow Hawks 46-0 Jed-Forest

Glasgow Hawks Head Coach, Fin Gillies said: “They (Jed) competed really, really well and have excellent players, but today physically we were better, technically we were more astute and had a real collectiveness and our physicality caused them some problems in the first half.

“We had a tough season and the players have worked incredibly hard and done everything they can to be a Premiership club next season, so I can only thank them for their efforts.”

Jed-Forest coach Ross Goodfellow said: We are really disappointed by the way we performed, we have no-one to blame but ourselves and I can assure you that is not how we have been playing. 

“To go down to 14 men, then down to 13, you need 15 guys on the park and we spoke about discipline the whole week. They were better than us on the day and we just have to suck that up.

“Absolutely this team can come back next season, we spoke about how we win together and we lose together. It is just disappointing we had our best crowd of the season and put in our worst performance.”

Glasgow Hawks: 15 Scott Peffers, 14 Sam Yawayawa, 13 Bobbie Beattie 12 Mark New 11 Kyle Rowe 10 Ross Thompson 9 Paddy Boyer 1 Steven Findlay 2 Grant Stewart 3 Gary Strain 4 Andy Linton 5 Fraser Hastie 6 Callum Kerr 7 Stephen Leckey 8 Gary Adams. Substitutes: 16 Paul Cairnross 17 Lewis Skinner 18 Robert Houliston 19 Brendan McGroarty 20 Liam Brimms 21 Erlend Oag 22 Callum Harrison.

Jed-Forest: 15 Lewis Young 11 Rory Marshall 13 Robbie Yourston 12 Monty Mitchell 14 Gregor Young 10 Ewan Scott 9 Sean Goodfellow 1 Ryan Gibson 2 Cameron Mackay 3 Jamie Oliver 4 Clark Skeldon 5 Gregor Law 6 Blake Roff 7 Joe Northwood 8 Darren Gillespie. Substitutes: 16 Finlay Scott 17 N/A Connor Hogg (blank shirt) 18 Grant Paxton 19 Elliot Stewart 20 Daniel Wardrop 21 Callum Young 22 Jamie Hynd.